Paul Callaghan’s Cheltenham Festival 2021 Preview – Day 3
Former jockey turned broadcaster Paul Callaghan previews the big races Day 3 of the 2021 Cheltenham Festival.
Marsh Novices’ Chase.
This is going to be short and sweet with the unbeaten Envoi Allen topping the market at 8/11. I hope we see another jaw-dropping performance from the Gordon Elliott trained 7-year-old. He’s a proper old fashioned chaser.
Ryanair Chase. NON-RUNNER CASH BACK.
I’m a big fan of the Kim Bailey trained Imperial Aura. He won at the festival last year, getting the better of Galvin who is fancied for the National Hunt Chase this year.
Imperial Aura made an uncharacteristic mistake and parted company with jockey David Bass at the second fence on his most recent outing, in the Silviniaco Conti Chase at Kempton on the 9th of January.
All going well I think he’ll be on the premises. Current price 13/2.
Stayers’ Hurdle. NON-RUNNER CASH BACK.
Flooring Porter is worth a mention at 12/1 for trainer Gavin Cromwell and jockey Jonathan Moore; he gave Jonathan his first Grade 1 success at Leopardstown in December, when taking the Christmas Hurdle.
McFabulous was my Stayers’ bet after he won the Persian War at Chepstow in October, over 2 miles 4 furlongs. He seemed to mature, having been quite keen last season and seemed to be a serious contender for the staying crown.
However, he didn’t appear to stay the 3 miles at Newbury in November, when finishing around 5 lengths behind Thyme Hill and Paisley Park.
McFabulous hit the front approaching the second last hurdle but the fuel light was flashing on the approach to the final hurdle.
He was impressive when taking the Relkeel Hurdle over the sharp 2 miles and 5 furlongs at Kempton on the 9th of January, a race in which jockey Harry Cobden got some criticism and said himself that it wasn’t his finest hour in the saddle when being caught out wide throughout.
He’s a horse I like a lot, but I just think 3 miles at Cheltenham is a furlong or two – too far. If you disagree, he’s currently priced at 12/1.
Thyme Hill beat Paisley Park at Newbury, only for Paisley Park to reverse that form when the pair clashed at Ascot in the Long Walk on the 19th of December. A loud shout of frustration could be heard ringing out around an empty Ascot from a frustrated Richard Johnson, strides after the winning post.
I thought there was little else he could have done and he simply got “Paisley Parked”!
I think Paisley Park can improve again and regain his Stayers’ crown having disappointed in last year’s renewal.
It would be a great story for trainer Emma Lavelle, her partner, assistant trainer and former national hunt jockey Barry Fenton, owner Andrew Gemmell and regular jockey Aidan Coleman.
Current prices: Paisley Park 3/1 and Thyme Hill 7/2.
*Prices correct at time of publication