Matchbook’s Daniel Hussey will be here each day of the 2023 Cheltenham Festival with his final tips and selections.
Four winners yesterday was more like it, with the NAP Langer Dan duly obliging.
It was great he finally got his Cheltenham moment after bumping into Galopin des Champs two years ago and being brought down in last year’s Martin Pipe.
However, the most emotional victory was the Champion Bumper as A Dream To Share gave 86-year-old John Kiely his first Cheltenham winner.
This is what racing is all about.
Onwards and upwards for Day 3 as we get into the swing of things…
Cheltenham Day 2:
13:30 Impaire Et Passe
14:10 Gerri Colombe
14:50 Langer Dan (NAP), HMS Seahorse
15:30 Editeur Du Gite
16:10 Delta Work
16:50 Andy Dufresne
17:30 A Dream To Share, Encanto Bruno
Good luck out there all!!
— Daniel Hussey (@DanielHussey2) March 15, 2023
I’ve come around to the idea of Mighty Potter being an absolute monster.
The only plot on his copybook was his below-par performance in the Supreme 12 months ago.
Since then, he bolted up in a novice hurdle at Punchestown before being unbeaten in three chase starts.
He is a potential future Gold Cup winner and is very hard to oppose.
Selection: Mighty Potter
This is one of my favourite handicaps. I’ve always loved the qualifying system, which I think adds something different to The Festival.
I don’t like the changes from top four to top six, with one horse from 6th in those qualifiers actually going on to win the Final in the Festival – an overreaction, perhaps?
Anyway, I’ll get to my Cheltenham politics article after this week, moving on to the picks.
Between 2016-2021, Gordon Elliott’s 10 runners finished 2121512354 in this race – thank you Matt Tombs!
That’s some record. And despite his horses’ disappointing last year, I’m following those trends with my two selections here.
Maxxum is a horse I’ve had my eye on for this race after bolting up at the Leopardstown Pertemps Qualifier in a fantastic time.
He ultimately ran poorly at the DRF, albeit with a couple of excuses, and I can see him primed for a big run here.
My second Gordon horse is Salvador Ziggy, who ran an eye-catching fourth in the Cheltenham Qualifier in October.
Long-time ante-post favourite for this race, Shoot First, won that qualifier, and I can see that proving to be very good form.
Selection: Maxxum, Salvador Ziggy
14:50 Ryanair Chase
Buzzing to see Shishkin back and I was looking at his Ryanair price after his Asoct Chase win.
However, the money has come, forcing me to look elsewhere, although his claims are obvious.
I backed Janadil for his comeback win – I would’ve pressed the Lay button had I seen the size of him in the parade ring – and was delighted with his run.
With expected improvement from him due to a long time off the track, back him in the w/o fav market and all-in, just in case…
15:30 Stayers Hurdle
It’s important as a punter to know somebody’s bias when they make a case for a horse.
And I’m not going to lie to the readers here; Flooring Porter is one of my favourite horses in training.
He was among my best bets in last year’s Festival and duly obliged for his second Stayers.
OK, things haven’t gone to plan this year. Still, it’s been painted that he was nowhere in the Christmas Hurdle at Leopardstown despite only finishing 3 ½ lengths down to Home By The Lee on ground softer than he would like and his jockey Danny Mullins subsequently being banned for not riding out the finish to get third.
He hit a setback post-race, but all seems to be in order now, and with a bit of Spring ground (albeit a tad softer than I’d like, I’m expecting a huge run.
He won’t give up his crown without a fight.
Selection: Flooring Porter (NAP)
Sometimes if it looks like a fish, smells like a fish, it probably…is a fish?
That’s the view I’m taking on long ante-post favourite So Scottish, who has been put away for this race a long way out.
Subsequently to his run last time out, he has been bought from Phil Byrne by JP (hasn’t he been busy!!), which goes to show the regard he’s already held in.
A Graded horse in a handicap, and I expect him to go very close here.
Selection: So Scottish
16:50 Mares Novice
I’ve liked Luccia for this race all year regarding the likeliest winner, although her price has always put me off.
And given the domination of the Irish novice hurdlers at this meeting, I’m inclined to take her on as the favourite.
The one I came down on is Lot Of Joy, who has been a talking horse for this race over the last couple of weeks.
Rated 96 on the Flat, she joined Willie Mullins’ yard last summer before running creditably in a Galway Flat handicap.
She took three goes to get off the mark over hurdles this season but was unlucky to bump into Deep Cave and Inothewayurthinkin, both talented geldings.
Back against her own sex LTO, she bolted up in a prep race for this, and with her settling and jumping better with every run, I think there’s potential for a big improvement.
Selection: Lot Of Joy
17:30 Kim Muir
With the ground softening up, expect the course and distance of the Kim Muir to to see Gordon Elliott’s Dunboyne at his best.
Only just touched off in the Thysettes LTO, Coko Beach has subsequently given that a form boost with his win in the Grand National trial.
Off a mark of 138, expect this relatively exposed type to put a big showing.
Sometimes you can spend ages trying to make the case for horses before somebody comes along to point you in the right direction.
Our own Micheál Deasy has given an honourable mention twice (Handicaps Preview & Day 3 Preview) to Rapper for Henry Daly, who’s having a brilliant season).
He won a 3m Handicap Chase at Cheltenham on New Year’s Day (with first-time cheekpieces), beating some good yardsticks easily.
He disappointed LTO at Sandown, although he did make a mistake at a crucial time of the race.
I’m willing to forgive, and with the first-time visor applied, expect him to outrun his odds.
Selections: Dunboyne, Rapper
Cheltenham Day 3 Final Selections:
- 13:30 Mighty Potter
- 14:10 Maxxum & Salvador Ziggy
- 14:50 Janadil
- 15:30 Flooring Porter (NAP)
- 16:10 So Scottish
- 16:50 Lot Of Joy
- 17:30 Dunboyne, Rapper
Matchbook Trixie: Mighty Potter, Flooring Porter & Lot Of Joy
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