The New One Can Surprise in Stayers’ Hurdle
Thursday, day three of the 2018 Cheltenham Festival, offers seven more fantastic races and outstanding betting opportunities with this year’s renewal of the Grade 1 Sun Bets Stayers’ Hurdle (1530) looking one of the most open for a very long time.
Jessica Harrington trains the superbly versatile Irish contender Supersundae. The eight-year-old Galileo gelding won the Coral Cup Handicap Hurdle at last year’s Cheltenham Festival under Robbie Power, running on powerfully at the end of that two-mile-five-furlong contest, then three weeks later failed by just a length to beat Yanworth in the Grade 1 Liverpool Hurdle at Aintree over three miles.
Supersundae stunned many observers last time out by dropping back to two miles and beating former champion hurdler Faugheen fair and square in the Grade 1 Irish Champion Hurdle at Leopardstown. He’s a proper horse and will surely run another big race on Thursday. At 11/2 (with 10Bet) he looks sure to go close.
The Alan King-trained Yanworth (11/2 with Unibet) renews rivalry with Supersundae having spent this season competing in novice chases with mixed results. He’s a very smart horse on his day and connections are confident he will run well, but there’s always a niggling doubt that the switch to fences might have taken the edge off him.
With the exception of Howard Johnson’s outstanding stayer Inglis Drever who won this race three times last decade, no northern trained horse has won this title since John Brockbank’s 50/1 shock scorer A Kinsman in 1983. Jedd O’Keefe’s Sam Spinner (4/1 with BetStars)) will be bidding to buck the trend, and after beating L’Ami Serge at Ascot last time out in the Grade 1 Long Walk Hurdle he has a genuine chance. Never out of the first two in his life, the six-year-old stays well and handles easy ground so has plenty going for him and is officially rated the equal of Supersundae with a BHA rating of 164.
Twelve months ago Harry Fry’s Unowhatimeanharry (10/1 with SkyBet) was odds-on to win the Stayers’ Hurdle having won his previous eight races. He finished a slightly disappointing third to Nichols Canyon, a defeat he went on to avenge at Punchestown six weeks later, beating Willie Mullins ill-fated star by a head in the Grade 1 Ladbrokes Champion Stayers Hurdle. Despite being beaten 11 lengths by Sam Spinner at Ascot last time, connections believe their horse is coming back to his best and he won’t be far away.
The New One (12/1 with Bet365) has been a fabulous horse, winning 20 of his 36 races and at 10-years-old still retains all his enthusiasm. He stayed two-mile-five-furlongs well in his younger days – don’t forget, he beat subsequent Grand National hero Rule The World in the 2013 Grade 1 Neptune Investment Management Novices Hurdle at this fixture – and I believe trainer Nigel Twiston-Davies is right to let him have a go at this longer race.
The New One still has a turn of foot, and if he’s anywhere near the lead going to the last he will give supporters something to really shout about and rates a sporting each-way investment.
ADVICE: EACH WAY – The New One (12/1 with Bet365)
Sceaux Looks So Good in Ryanair Chase
Leading Cheltenham Festival trainer Willie Mullins appears to hold most of the aces in the Grade 1 Ryanair Chase (1450) , a race he has won for the last two years with Vautour (2016) and Un De Sceaux (2017).
Un De Sceaux (11/8 with Bet365) is back to defend his title. He hacked up at Ascot last time in the Grade 1 Clarence House Chase and is going to be a tough nut to crack. Testing ground is no problem to him and he ticks all the boxes have been specifically trained for this race throughout the season.
The remarkable veteran Cue Card (11/2 with BetBright) winner of the race in 2013 and so many other top events before and since, silenced the doubters with a herculean effort in defeat at Ascot last month. He found only the rising star Waiting Patiently too good for him in the Grade 1 Betfair Ascot Chase having jumped and travelled with tremendous enthusiasm throughout. The 12-year-old can still mix it with the best of them and won’t be far away.
Henry de Bromhead’s Balko Des Flos (7/1 with BoyleSports), rested since finishing second to Road To Respect in the Grade 1 Leopardstown Christmas Chase is another to add spice to the mix. He’s attracted good money in recent days suggesting a bold show is anticipated.
ADVICE: WIN – Un De Sceaux (11/8 with Betfred)
Modus Can Strike for Home Team in JLT
The opening Grade 1 JLT Novices’ Chase (1330) was inaugurated in 2011, since when Willie Mullins has won four of the seven renewals (including the last three). Indeed, the only British-trained winner so far was Jonjo O’Neill’s Taquin De Seuill, ridden to victory by Tony McCoy in 2014.
Mullins had a battalion of horses entered at the five-day stage and Ruby Walsh, who has also made this race his own in recent years has chosen to ride Invitation Only (3/1 with Ladbrokes), a close third in a Grade 1 at Leopardstown last month, while the yard’s Kemboy (20/1 with Bet365), a winner at Fairyhouse last time and a good fifth at this fixture last year in the Grade 1 ‘Neptune’ Novices’ Hurdle, may appeal to each-way punters as a value alternative.
Nicky Henderson’s Terrefort (9/2 with Bet365) showed a fine attitude when landing the Grade 1 Scilly Isles Novices’ Chase at Sandown and has to be respected, but Paul Nicholls’ Modus (7/1 with William Hill) was impressive when scoring at Kempton last time and there is reportedly plenty of confidence in him from the team at Ditcheat. A156-rated hurdler, he is also the highest rated runner in this race on official figuress, so looks value at current odds.
Other Cheltenham Festival Day Three Betting Advice
They bet 8/1 the field for the Pertemps Network Handicap Hurdle Final (1440) and there could be some good value on offer. Warren Greatrex puts a first-time visor on Lovenormoney, a good winner last time at Exeter, and a horse who appears on the upgrade. At 50/1 (each-way with SportingBet) he may surprise, while Nick Gifford’s Theo’s Charm (33/1 each-way with Bet365), eleventh in this race last year but better suited this time by the forecast ground this time, is also of interest.
After giving the race plenty of consideration, I’m of the opinion that David Pipe’s completely unexposed King’s Socks (9/1 each-way with SportingBet) could be on a very good mark for the 24-runner Brown Advisory & Merriebelle Stable Plate Handicap Chase (1610). Also worth an interest at bigger odds is Kilcrea Vale (20/1 each-way with Bet365) , a good runner-up in a hot race at Ascot in January.
Willie Mullins’ Laurina (8/11 with SkyBet) will be hard to beat in the Trull House Stud Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle (1640) and it might not be worthwhile opposing here, while in the final race of the day, the Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Challenge Cup Amateur Riders’ Handicap Chase (1730), Patrick Kelly’s Mall Dini (6/1 each-way with Paddy Power) has reportedly been laid out for this race and has plenty going for him, but an interest in Dr Richard Newland’s progressive Band of Blood (16/1 each-way with BetStars) may also prove worthwhile.
Written by Paul Alster
Paul Alster has been part of the British and international racing media for more than three decades working as a race commentator, TV/radio presenter, journalist, betting correspondent, SP returner, and form analyst. He’s always sought out overpriced runners in handicap races, a quest that excites him as much now as it did at the start of his career.