The third day of the Cheltenham Festival is traditionally a bookmakers benefit and the 2023 version wasn't any different with the seven winners returning SP's of 15/2, 9/1, 13/2, 33/1, 20/1, 16/1 and 10/1. I purposely didn't involved in the majority of the races on the Thursday in the Update, which is probably just as well because the ones I did make selections in were poor. Mighty Potter was disappointing in the Turner's Novice Chase - he looked to be full of running coming down the hill but found little off the bridle. Perhaps he doesn't like travelling and will always be at his best at home, Beef Or Salmon style. Thanksforthehelp made his move turning for home but was beaten by the time he jumped the last, while Luccia didn't look battle hardened enough in the mares' novice hurdle. Nicky Henderson's filly held every chance between the final two flights but only kept on at the one pace in fourth. I was kicking myself for not selecting the winner You Wear It Well having stated in the Update that Jamie Snowden's mare had the best piece of form in the race.
Well done to Declan Phelan for nominating Envoi Allen in the Ryanair Chase. His assessment was spot on with the nine year old returning to his best and securing his third Cheltenham Festival success. Indeed, it has been an excellent meeting for Henry De Bromhead. His form had been in and out coming into the meeting and his statistics in the UK this winter have been well below par (0 from 11). So far, the dual Gold Cup winning trainer has had 3 winners from 18 runners and that record could have been even better had Adrian Heskin made his move sooner on Magical Zoe in the mares' novice hurdle.
De Bromhead's compatriot Willie Mullins, who has sent out 4 winners from 53 runners over the first three days, had a lean afternoon on Thursday with his runners finishing 4678995003. The head of Closutton is due to have 23 runners on Friday, including seven in the Triumph Hurdle, so expect him to roar back on the final afternoon.
With one day left, I am hoping for a change of fortune. The ground on the New course looked particularly testing and even though there isn't a lot of rain forecast in the next 24 hours, it is going to be hard work on Friday.
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