Cheltenham Festival 2022: Day 3 Spot Plays

March 16th, 2022

Day three of the Cheltenham Festival is one for some of the unsung heroes of jumps racing. The highlights are the Stayers’ Hurdle, run over three miles, and the Ryanair Chase, an event first staged in 2005 for steeplechasers at the intermediate distance of 2 9/16 miles which has quickly become a popular event.

The program also includes a third Grade 1 (the Turners Novices Chase), a Grade 2, two Grade 3 contests, and the Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Challenge Cup for amateur riders.

TwinSpires has a Bet-Back offers at Cheltenham this week. If you opt in, you are eligible for your bet back with second and third finishers for all races, all week. We hope to help persuade you to be part of the fun. With that in mind, let’s have a look at the card!

Thursday, March 16

Race 1: Turner Novices’ Chase (G1), 2 1/2 miles, novice chasers

Just four runners have nominated for this, all from Ireland, but it could be one of the best races at Cheltenham this year, as both #1 Bob Olinger and #3 Galopin Des Champs look to be outstanding steeplechasers. Both won hurdle races at Cheltenham last year, and both are unbeaten over fences this season. There is a chance it could turn into a staying contest up the Cheltenham Hill, and if that happens Galopin Des Champs might be the better suited.

  • $30 win: #3 Galopin Des Champs

Race 2: Pertemps Network Final Handicap Hurdle (G3), 3 miles, hurdlers

In stark contrast to the first, a field of 24 has been declared for this popular handicap, and as usual it’s a difficult race to work out. #1 Sire Du Berlais, last year’s Stayers Hurdle runner-up, has interestingly declared for this race instead this year and should be respected. But it might be his stablemate #6 Sassy Yet Classy, who has the services of Davy Russell, that has the credentials to take this one out.

  • $10 win/$30 show: #6 Sassy Yet Classy

Race 3: Ryanair Chase (G1), 2 9/16 miles, open steeplechasers

It’s a good field, but it’s difficult to imagine last year’s winner #1 Allaho being beaten unless he falls. He’s one of the best jumpers around and has one of the most devastating turns of foot in the steeplechasing game. Exotics are probably the best way to go here; expect good runs from Irish Gold Cup winner #2 Conflated, the hardy #5 Janidil, and the promising #9 Shan Blue, a faller at his only race this season when well in command.

  • $30 win:#1 Allaho
  • $1 trifecta: 1 with 2, 3, 5, 9 with all

Race 4: Stayers’ Hurdle (G1), 3 miles, open hurdlers

The day’s second feature by contrast looks very open, with six of the 10 runners at single figure odds in local markets; three from Britain, three from Ireland. It reflects a division where no horse has established itself at the top of the division. Perhaps the best form this year has come from #4 Klassical Dream, who beat last year’s winner, #2 Flooring Porter, in the Christmas Hurdle at Leopardstown. The subsequent fourth-place finish to #10 Royal Kahala wasn’t a great look, but he was conceding weight and could possibly bounce back with a more aggressive ride. English veterans #1 Champ and #7 Paisley Park, and the improving #9 Thyme Hill, are others to add to the mix.

  • $10 win/$30 show: #4 Klassical Dream
  • $1 trifecta: 1, 4 with 1, 4, 9, 10 with 1, 2, 4, 7, 9, 10

Race 5: Craft Irish Whisky Co. Plate Handicap Chase, 2 9/16 miles, open steeplechasers

Previously known as the Mildmay of Flete Handicap Chase, this looks to be its usual competitive race. There are plenty of chances, but the one I’m keenest on is #13 The Glancing Queen. In three steeplechase starts, she has won twice and then finished second to rising novice star L’Homme Presse in Grade 2 company. It’s also worth looking at #2 Simply The Betts, the winner of this two years ago, as a place prospect at reasonable odds.

  • $10 win/$30 show: #13 The Glancing Queen
  • $20 show: #2 Simply The Betts

Race 6: Ryanair Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle (G2), 2 1/8 miles, novice hurdling mares

A full field of 22 is paid up for this Grade 2 novice hurdle, of which no fewer than seven come from the Willie Mullins stable. #11 Dinoblue was an early favorite but the form of stable companion #10 Brandy Love is arguably better; she won decisively on debut and it took a good mare in Allegorie De Vassy to beat her last start, though she will want to improve her racing manners after jumping badly to her left last time out.

  • $10 win/$30 show: #10 Brandy Love

Race 7: Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Challenge Cup Chase, 3 1/4 miles, steeplechasers, amateur riders

Day two ends with this 24-runner handicap for amateur riders. Two that have taken this writer’s eye are #6 School Boy Hours, winner of the rich Paddy Power Chase at Leopardstown in December, and the highly-progressive English chaser #15 Omar Maretti, who looks to have a decent future. Given that both are likely to be at reasonable odds and with a payout back to fourth place, I’m going to have a little on both.

  • $10 win/$10 show: #15 Omar Maretti (use for Bet Back)
  • $10 win/$20 show: #6 School Boy Hours