Your top tips for St Patrick's Day at Cheltenham courtesy of Hayley O'Connor of Ladbrokes
By Hayley O'Connor.
After a brilliant day yesterday, I'm glad I got my head in front because today's card will be hugely hard to navigate.
The opener, the JLT Novices Chase, sees two very good English horses at the head of the market. The favourite, Garde La Victoire has done a lot right, is 3/3 over fences and has the crucial course form, but his jumping is niggling at me.
Bristol De Mai could well give the Twiston-Davies team a third winner this week, but will he be as good on better ground?
Zabana was well beaten by Outlander last time, but will relish today's conditions and was only just beaten at here last year in the Coral Cup. Davy Russell rides who was successful aboard Diamond King yesterday, and I think at a bigger price, represents the value in the race.
The Pertemps is a minefield for punters, but thankfully Ladbrokes are paying five places, which makes it a bit easier. It's headed by the shrewd Charles Byrne's Leave At Dawn. In a race like this I rather go for something in the double digits, so I will have sensible money on Taglietelle, because he has an excellent pilot on board and Gordon's yard are flying.
The Ryanair Chase has a much different look that was expected, but I think Vautour will take all the beating.I am worried about reports he's only 90% well but I can't oppose him.
The World Hurdle on paper looks like Thistlecrack should win this doing handstands, but I am worried that on better ground, he won't be able to dictate the pace as he has all season. As we saw with Un De Sceaux, sometimes horses unchallenged can falter when they eventually have the gun put to their head, so at a big price I'm backing Aux Ptits Soins to place and might do a tiny reverse forecast on him and the favourite.
Course winner Kings Palace is my pick for the Brown Advisory Plate, even though he will need to bounce back after recent form.
Even though Rich Ricci said Limini was his best chance of a festival winner this week, I have concerns about her jumping, so I am opting to go for Bloody Mary each way in the Trull House Stud Mares' Novices' Hurdle.
She's a little pocket rocket, and I am hoping her big engine will see her fly home.