Paul Callaghan racing

Paul Callaghan’s Cheltenham Tips – Day 3

Paul Callaghan give his tips and predictions for day 3 of the Cheltenham Festival.

1.20 Marsh Novices’ Chase (Grade 1) over 2m 4f.

I think another for the multi bets, once again, as it is almost impossible to oppose Envoi Allen, who is unbeaten in all 12 career starts.

He has already two festival victories to his name and I hope we see something special once again.

I think his only danger is his recent move to Henry De Bromhead’s yard and all the changes that goes with the move, but he has plenty of experience having travelled to the festival twice and he seems quite a laid back individual. So I don’t think that will be a problem.

Fusil Raffles could be the each-way play here. Especially with the switch to the new course and the ground drying out.

1.55 Pertemps Network Final Handicap Hurdle (Grade 3) over 3m.

I’m going to give a tentative nod to the Tom George trained Come On Teddy, who finished third, 5 lengths behind Imperial Alcazar when the pair clashed in a qualifier for this race at Warwick in January.

The handicapper has left his mark unchanged at 134, which I think should see him competitive. He is a hold up performer, with 24 runners taking their chance, Come On Teddy supporters will be hoping for plenty of pace on early and a lot of luck on the final circuit.

2.30 Ryanair Chase (Grade 1) over 2m 4f 127y.

Plenty of popular and familiar names lining up here, in what is an open betting heat. I’ve gone with Imperial Aura, trained by Kim Bailey and ridden by David Bass.

Horses coming to the festival on the back of an incompletion have a poor record, but Imperial Aura’s unseat at the second fence at Kempton last time out was pretty harmless. That being said, we must take on trust that he is none the worse from that experience and if he is, he will be tough to beat.

He won a Novices’ Handicap Chase at last year’s festival, where he had Galvin a little over 3 lengths behind in second.

Galvin has given that form a great boost. On his seasonal reappearance, Imperial Aura won an Intermediate Chase at Carlisle last November, a race won last season by Lostintranslation.

We can’t put a line through that Kempton blip, because it happened, we all seen it and it’s in the form book but as I’ve said, if we trust that Imperial Aura is none the worse from that last time out unseat at Kempton, which I do trust, he has to go close.

3.05 Stayers’ Hurdle (Grade 1) over 3m.

I’d love to see Flooring Porter collect for trainer Gavin Cromwell and jockey Johnny Moore, who rode his first Grade 1 victory aboard Soaring Glory at Leopardstown at the end of December. He will be tough to catch if being allowed dictate the fractions in the first half mile.

However, I think looming large in the wing mirrors as heads turn for home will be Paisley Park and jockey Aidan Coleman. He looks back to his best this season, having finished second behind Thyme Hill at Newbury on his seasonal reappearance and gaining revenge on Thyme Hill when taking the Long Walk Hurdle at Ascot back in December.

It’s unfortunate that we will not see a round 3 here, with Thyme Hill missing the festival due to a setback. Hopefully we will see him at Aintree.

Back to Thursday’s contest, reports are that Paisley Park is pleasing connections at home and I think he will regain his Stayers’ crown for owner Andrew Gemmell, trainer Emma Lavelle and partner/assistant trainer, former national hunt jockey Barry Fenton.

3.40 Handicap Chase (Grade 3) over 2m 4f 127y.

With 5 places up for grabs here at BoyleSports if you’re having an each way bet, a chance is taken on the Kerry Lee trained Happy Diva ridden by jockey Richard Patrick. She was second in this race last year off a handicap mark of 149, she has ran since, off a mark as high as 153, Happy Diva lines up in this year’s renewal off 145.

Arguably her best form is on a softer surface, so the drying ground is a slight concern, but she has been placed on good ground and has won on good to soft in the past. Happy Diva has a cracking attitude and on her best form is worth an each way wager currently priced at 25/1.

4.15 Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle (Grade 2) over 2m 1f.

Gauloise gets the verdict here for trainer Willie Mullins and jockey Paul Townend. She failed to see out the 2m 2f at Fairyhouse on her latest outing last month but was very impressive when scoring on both her previous runs.

The ground is an unknown as she has never ran on ground better than soft

…but some of her family were quite versatile as far as going was concerned.

Allavina could be an each way play here at bigger odds. She impressed on her last two outings when scoring at Fontwell and Taunton respectively. Allavina will need to improve but she could just outrun her odds and reward any each way supporters.

All odds correct at time of publication