Think you can #BeatBrian by picking more winners than the champion jockey today? Take a look at his tips for Day 3 of the Cheltenham Festival.
13:20 – The Marsh Novices’ Chase (Grade 1) 2m4f
Another good race and a very short price favourite in Envoi Allen who’s unbeaten with 11 wins from 11 runs, including the Champion Bumper and last year’s Ballymore Hurdle. He’s looked flawless in his three starts over fences this season. Again, he changed stables two weeks ago which is the only little hiccup which could potentially bother him but he looks a fairly unflustered type.
It’s not a big field but I’d consider Shan Blue, who won the Kauto Star Novices’ Chase at Kempton at Christmas before subsequently getting beaten by Sporting John in the Scilly Isles. He’s had a couple of hard races which is the only negative for him. Chantry House could be another one to look at – he ran well behind Shiskin in the Supreme last year and has stepped up to 2m4f.
A bit like Monkfish and Shiskin, there’s going to be some sort of bad luck for Envoi Allen not to win as I think he’s head and shoulders above everything.
14:30 – The Ryanair Steeple Chase (Grade1) (feature race) 2m5f
I think it’s interesting that Paul Townend rides Min and Bryan Cooper rides Melon whilst Allaho is the favourite. Of the Irish I like Melon best but I also like Kim Bailey’s horse, Imperial Aura – I was very impressed by him in his two completed starts this season and think what happened at Kempton was a bit unfortunate – I think the horse misjudged the sunlight and shadow resulting in David Bass having a nasty fall.
It looks an open race and you could make a case for six or seven of these – they all have Cheltenham form but I like Imperial Aura and Melon best. I think Melon has run some good races in the past and deserves his day in the sun.
15:05 – The Paddy Power Stayers’ Hurdle (Grade 1) 3m
I’m a big fan of Paisley Park and think it’s disappointing Thyme Hill has a problem and therefore isn’t running as it would have made it a great race. There are however plenty of runners in this but again, Paisley Park stands out – they found he had an irregular heartbeat last year but he has run brilliantly since. He’s 5-7lbs better than the majority of field so I think he will regain his crown.
If The Cap Fits would be my pick as an each-way shot – chasing hasn’t really gone his way but if you look at his last starts over hurdles he won the Ascot Hurdle and the Stayers Hurdle race at Aintree prior to that. Paisley Park is the one for me.
Brian’s Thursday picks in full:
|16:50||Storm Control (E/W)|