There's only the one novice race on the 3rd day of the Festival, that's the "Turners" Novice Chase over 2m4f which opens the meeting. Before that, this Saturday I will be at Cheltenham for what's going to be a "bumper" card of 9 races for Trials day.
The handicaps on Saturday have the look of being real cracking races: there's still 24 horses in the Timeform Novices h'cap Chase over an extended 2m4f; and 28 horses in the Class 1 h'cap chase over the same trip later in the day. I'm really looking forward to seeing the rescheduled Clarence House Chase with Edwardstone meeting Energumene - and I think Alan King's chaser has a chance. The Cotswold Chase brings together some of the better staying chase handicappers in the UK, and hopefully the ground won't be heavy. I've already placed a large wager on Protektorat at 9/1 for the Gold Cup in March, so I'm expecting him to win on Saturday, but he won't have it all his own way. I will go into more detail on Protektorat and his chances in the Gold Cup next week after he's won on Saturday. As for the Cleeve Hurdle, it looks like being an interesting contest, especially as the race fav Paisley Park (currently in the form of his life at 11yo) is conceding 6lb to Dashel Drasher.
Onto the Turners, and the race has a new fav - Appreciate It. Yes, he won well over 2-mile at Naas on 08Jan, but it was a facile win; and you also have to take into account that the only time he's raced beyond 2-miles is when he won a bumper. He holds two entries at the Dublin Festival, in the Grade 1 Irish Arkle over 2-mile, and in the Grade 1 Ladbrokes Steeplechase over 2m5f but the latter race is usually contested (and won) by horses that go on to contest the "Broadway" over 3-miles at Cheltenham. Mighty Potter is also entered for the Ladbrokes Steeplechase, which suggests connections have given up on a tilt at the Arkle at Cheltenham, which (for me) is disappointing. However, I reckon Mighty Potter is the one they have to beat in this race! Sir Gerhard has his chase debut tomorrow at Gowran Park, and if he wins well then he will come into consideration for this race and the Arkle. The interesting James Du Berlais is probably more suited to 3-miles than 2m4f, but he needs to run again to give us some inkling as to his true ability. Banbridge just does not look good enough to be a Grade 1 chaser, and will probably be seen in a novice handicap in March. El Fabiolo is almost certainly going for the Arkle, as is Dysart Dynamo. This could be a race which may pay having a punt at a long odds horse as of all the horses at odds under 20/1, the only one that I think is near guaranteed to run in this race is Mighty Potter. One to consider is Gentlemansgame at 33/1 who won his chase debut easily over 2m5f, and may attempt this than the Broadway or NH Chase over 3m6f.
For me, the only wager to recommend in the Turners Novice Chase over 2m4f is MIGHTY POTTER at 7/2 (available with Paddy Power). As the small speculative wager on Mighty Potter is almost certainly lost, I'm having double the stake, £10 on in the "Turners".
Total Staked to Date: £60
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