Without doubt the highlight of Day Three is the World Hurdle which will see the great Big Bucks from the Paul Nicholls stable looks to become the first horse to win three consecutive World Hurdles on Day Three of the Festival. The feature race takes place at 3.20 and follows the Ryanair Chase. Please check out Day Three race previews below:
Jewson Novices Chase – 1.30
Wishful Thinking from the Phillip Hobbs stable is almost certain to go off as the favourite in this Grade Two Novice Chase. The stable has already saddled the Arkle Trophy winner, Captain Chris at the Festival this year and are very bullish about the chances of this eight year old. Respect must be shown to the Paul Nicholls entry, Robinson Collonges, as well as the dual Festival winning combination of Henry de Bromhead and Andrew Lynch who are represented by Loosen My Load.
Pertemps Final – 2.05
This extremely competitive race will be headed in the betting by the Willie Mullins trained Sivota and the David Pipe entry, Chartreux, but that does not necessarily mean that either will win this handicap. Over the years this has become a notoriously bad race for favourites which has seen two 50/1 winners in the last few years, punters therefore are best advised to follow their instincts.
This race of course decides which is the best mid-distance chaser and has had several top name winners since its inception at the Festival in 2005, including Gold Cup Champion of 2010 Imperial Commander. It was won last year by the Jonjo O’Neill trained, Albertas Run, who will be looking to make it back to back wins this year. Likely favourite however will be the Paul Nicholls trained, Poquelin, who has been in great form so far this year. Jy Vole would seem to be the one to carry the Irish flag, but Kalahari King from the in form Ferdy Murphy stable should not be ruled out
The feature trace of the day will see Big Bucks look to make it a hat trick of wins having won it in both 2010 and 2009. Should he do so he will become the first horse to achieve the feat. Against him comes the David Pipe hot shot, Grands Crus who many believe is ready to topple the great champion after hugely impressing so far this season. However, Big Bucks has won his last ten races, most of which were Grade One and has looked quite unbeatable over three miles.
The Irish challenge will come from the Willie Mullins stable who runs both Mourad and Fiveforthree, both of which are proven Grade One level stayers and should be in the shake up at the finish.
Byrne Group Plate – 4.00
This very competitive Handicap Chase over two miles five furlongs, should produce a winner for champion jockey, Tony McCoy who will ride the favourite, Aigle D’Or for Jonjo O’Neill and boss, JP McManus. That said there are several in with chances including Quartz De Thaix from the Venetia Williams stable who won this race in 2009 and 2007 as well as Beautiful Sound from the Gordon Elliott yard that have had two winners at the Festival already.
Fulke Walwyn/Kim Muir Challenge Cup – 4.40
This Amateur rider’s race always attracts plenty of betting and has had its fair share of big price winners over the years. It will attract a big field and unlike some handicaps has been won regularly by the top weighted horse in the race. Ballabriggs was a case in point last year when he won the race for the Donald McCain stable, with odds of 9/1.