Sam Spinner has been the most progressive horse over hurdles this season, and the Jedd O’Keeffe-trained raider will aim to cap a sensational season on Thursday by storming to victory in the Sun Bets Stayers’ Hurdle, which is the feature race on another spectacular day of racing at the Cheltenham Festival, as the bookmakers look to fight back after a dreadful first two days at Prestbury Park.
The most competitive Championship race of the week, the 3m Grade 1 will see a whole host of stamina-laden horses go for glory and Yanworth will be a leading adversary, as he bids for his first festival success, while Supasundae will spearhead the Irish challenge with last year’s Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle winner Penhill and Unowhatimeanharry just another brace of lively contenders.
Day three will kick off with the JLT Novices’ Chase and Invitation Only will look to hand Willie Mullins his sixth winner of the week, but Terrefort, Benatar and Finian’s Oscar will be a British-trained triumvirate aiming to kick off the day with a Grade 1 success at 1:30pm on Thursday afternoon.
Punters will then have the conundrum that is the Pertemps Final to work out at 2:10pm as 24 runners line up for the 3m contest, and that is sure to be a hotly-contested race, while at 2:50pm we will arguably see the best horse of the day line up as Un De Sceaux will aim to retain his Ryanair Chase crown.
Last year’s emphatic winner will be a warm order to retain his title, but while only six runners will take their chance, it is certainly quality over quantity, and Cue Card will attempt to win a race he won in 2013, while Balko Des Flos and Cloudy Dream will be another notable brace of runners aiming to grab success in the coveted Grade 1 contest.
Tully East was a festival winner 12 months ago, and Alan Fleming’s charge will be a primary challenger for the Brown Advisory & Merriebelle Plate at 4:10pm, where he will face David Pipe’s King’s Socks and the Paul Nicholls-trained Movewiththetimes, while at 4:50pm Laurina will aim to hand the Mullins team more success in the Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle, and she will be an odds-on favourite for the penultimate race of the day.
The action concludes at 5:30pm with the Kim Muir Handicap Chase, which can often see future Grand National contenders take their chance, and Mall Dini will aim to hand Pat Kelly his second winner of the week, after Presenting Percy won the RSA Chase on Wednesday, but that Irish raider will face Squouateur, who is aiming to hand Gordon Elliott another winner, after the master handler saddled a treble on day two.