Thurs­day’s Ir­ish raiders

Irish Examiner - Racing - - CHELTENHAM PREVIEW 2017 -

JLT Novices’ Chase

Yorkhill ap­pears to have bun­dles of abil­ity, and he stands out as the most likely win­ner on the open­ing con­test of day three.

Both his runs over fences have yielded vic­to­ries, and though his jump­ing this sea­son has come un­der scru­tiny, he looks to be the best horse in the race. If he sparks at all, then he should come up trumps here.

Disko adds depth to the Ir­ish chal­lenge. There was a lot to like about his vic­tory in the Flo­gas Chase at Leop­ard­stown, when he dropped back in trip, and he de­serves con­sid­er­a­tion here.

Best of the Ir­ish: Yorkhill Al­ter­na­tive: Disko

Pertemps Network Fi­nal

Pre­sent­ing Percy was a good win­ner at Fairy­house on his most re­cent out­ing but has been hit with a mas­sive hike in the rat­ings for his lat­est suc­cess. That could prove too much to over­come this time around.

Isle­ofhopen­dreams has been thriv­ing over three miles this sea­son and the man­ner of his vic­tory at Punchestown sug­gests that he could have much more to of­fer. He looks our lead­ing hope in what is tra­di­tion­ally a very tricky con­test.

Sut­ton Manor was run­ner-up at Punchestown and fol­lowed that up with vic­tory at Thurles. He should fea­ture here.

Best of the Ir­ish: Isle­ofhopen­dreams

Al­ter­na­tive: Sut­ton Manor

Ryanair Chase

Ire­land landed a first, and well over­due, vic­tory in this last year and hopes of re­tain­ing the prize will be high. Un De Sceaux has looked a much more set­tled horse this sea­son and he comes here on the back of a very like­able win at the track in the Clarence House Chase.

While he did win a hur­dles race over two miles and five, stam­ina re­mains a con­cern.

He also needs give un­der­foot to per­form to his best.

Em­pire Of Dirt won over course and dis­tance here last sea­son. He ran a very good race in the Ir­ish Gold Cup be­hind Siz­ing John back in Fe­bru­ary, where he shaped with much credit on his first out­ing in Grade One com­pany.

Sub Lieu­tenant was a bit un­for­tu­nate on his lat­est out­ing in Thurles, where the last fence was omit­ted, but his form this sea­son looks strong. He would seem to be at his best over this kind of trip and he could well go close.

Za­bana has run well at the Fes­ti­val be­fore and could put in a bold show­ing.

Best of the Ir­ish: Em­pire Of Dirt Al­ter­na­tive : Sub Lieu­tenant

Sun Bets Stay­ers’ Hur­dle

The Noel Meade-trained Snow Fal­con could be the dark horse at this year’s Fes­ti­val and he should run a big race in this re­named con­test. He ran well as a novice at Cheltenham in 2015 and has been in fine form this sea­son.

Run­ner-up at Gowran Park last time out be­hind Shaneshill, in a race that wasn’t run to suit, he should be seen to much bet­ter ef­fect on a sounder sur­face over a strongly run three miles.

For­mer Cham­pion Hur­dle win­ner Jezki won over this trip at Punchestown in 2015. He would also ap­pre­ci­ate bet­ter ground and should have a say for Jessica Har­ring­ton. Shaneshill seems to save his best form for Cheltenham, hav­ing fin­ished sec­ond at the last three Fes­ti­vals. He could sneak a place.

Best of the Ir­ish: Snow Fal­con Al­ter­na­tive: Jezki (right)

Brown Ad­vi­sory & Mer­riebelle Sta­ble Plate

This went the way of the Ir­ish last year and Di­a­mond King spear­heads this year’s chal­lenge. He won the Coral Cup in 2016 and, back here off a sim­i­lar rat­ing over fences, he makes plenty of ap­peal.

Blazer placed over hur­dles at the Fes­ti­val last year and could po­ten­tially be well treated. A big run should be well within his reach. Best of the Ir­ish: Di­a­mond King Al­ter­na­tive: Blazer

Trull House Stud Mares Novices’ Hur­dle

Let’s Dance is a filly on top form this term. She brings plenty of ex­pe­ri­ence to the ta­ble, has im­proved mas­sively this sea­son and she could be banker ma­te­rial to go and win this. The big­gest dan­ger could come in the shape of her sta­ble com­pan­ion, Royal Bond win­ner Air­lie Beach, who re­mains un­beaten after 6 runs over tim­ber. Best of the Ir­ish:

Let’s Dance Al­ter­na­tive: Air­lie


Fulke Wal­wyn Kim Muir Chal­lenge Cup Hand­i­cap Chase

The Crafty Butcher ran a blinder when sec­ond be­hind No­ble En­deav­our in the Paddy Power Chase at Christ­mas, and if he can re­pro­duce that ef­fort he should be there­abouts again. He looks to be in off a very at­trac­tive mark.

Mall Dini goes in search of a sec­ond con­sec­u­tive win at the Cotswolds. He has failed to get off the mark over fences so far this sea­son, but he could be a real player on his first hand­i­cap out­ing over the larger ob­sta­cles. The re­turn to a longer trip should help him.

Squoua­teur holds an en­try ear­lier in the week, but if he lines up here he would def­i­nitely be of in­ter­est, given con­nec­tions won the race with Cause of Causes in 2016.

Best of the Ir­ish: The Crafty Butcher

Al­ter­na­tive: Mall Dini

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