Thursday at Cheltenham: Our guide to the top tips

The Thursday at the festival is traditionally the most low-key of the four days and one where the bookies tend to turn the tide in the battle with punters.

Thursday, 18th March 2021, 8:00 am

That said they won’t have been too disheartened with results yesterday and they will fancy their chances of going further in front today.

The first race, the Marsh Novices Chase (13:20) sees red hot favourite ENVOI ALLEN attempt to remain unbeaten at odds of around 4/9.

It is a very short price though understandably so and will be tough to beat.

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Sir Gerhard ridden by Rachael Blackmore winning the Weatherbys Champion Bumper (Standard Open NH Flat Race) on day two of the Cheltenham Festival

There are currently eight runners declared though so a good market to have an each way play, where Nicky Henderson’s CHANTRY HOUSE at 11/1 looks a solid option.

Third in the Supreme Novices last season, he showed signs of maturing when winning at Wetherby last month and could follow the favourite home in second which would return a profit.

The Pertemps Network Hurdle (13:55) is another big field designed for the boookmakers and there are several all with a good chance.

I like the look of Tom George’s COME ON TEDDY who won over course and distance in December before the heavy ground possibly going against him at Warwick in January. He looks a great each way bet at 10/1.

The Ryanair Chase (14:30) looks like potentially one of the races of the week to me with half the field all with a decent chance.

It’s hard to pick one though Kim Bailey’s IMPERUAL AURA just about gets my vote at odds of around 7/1. I wouldn’t recommend getting too involved in this one though, with the race being more one to sit back and enjoy.

The Stayers Hurdle (15:05) suffered a blow last week when the well fancied Thyme Hill was pulled out.

It doesn’t look a bad race still though with favourite Paisley Park definitely being beatable at around 2/1.

I like the look of Gavin Cromwell’s FLOORING PORTER who won the Christmas Hurdle at Leopardstown and looks like one on the up, who can be backed at 10/1.

The Paddy Power Plate (15:40) comprises a huge field of 23 runners and looks an interesting race.

Emmet Mullins has a well fancied favourite in The Shunter at around 7/2 but it looks a bit short in the betting to me, with Anthony Honeyball’s SULLY D’OC AA looking like a decent each way bet at around 12/1.

The Mares Novice Hurdle (16:15) is a tricky race for punters to take a strong opinion on with younger mares and potential improvers muddying the waters.

I circled GLENS OF ANTRIM as an interesting runner in this after she was just outstayed by a nice horse in Startled at Leopardstown in December.

The drop back to 2miles 1 furlong will be in her favour and she is potentially being overlooked in this, being a good price at 10/1.

The Kim Muir Chase (16:50) is another very tricky race and one where it’s hard to get too involved.

At the prices, Warren Greatrex’s BOB MAHLER is interesting at 20/1. He was third in this last year and could be weighted to go better this year after an inactive season.