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2021 Cheltenham Festival Day Three Tips – Top tips for every race on Thursday

  • We provide our tips for every race on day three of the Cheltenham Festival
  • Three Grade One races will take place at Cheltenham on Thursday 18th March
  • Envoi Allen, Sire Du Berlais, Saint Calvados and Melon are our best bets in the big races
  • We’ve picked out two bets in each of the three handicaps on the card
  • Glens Of Antrim has been well-backed since we tipped her at 25/1
sire du berlais
Sire Du Berlais (right) gets up to beat The Storyteller in last year's Pertemps Final. (Getty)

Three Grade One races headline the action on day three of the Cheltenham Festival. There’s plenty for punters to get excited about too, including three wide-open handicaps and an intriguing renewal of the Ryanair Chase.

We’ve taken a look through the card in full and picked out our best bets in each race.

2021 Cheltenham Festival Day Three Schedule

1:20pmMarsh Novices' ChaseGrade One2m 4f
1:55pmPertemps Final Handicap HurdleListed Handicap3m
2:30pmRyanair ChaseGrade One2m 4f
3:05pmStayers' HurdleGrade One3m
3:40pmBrown Advisory Plate Handicap ChaseGrade Three Handicap2m 4f
4:10pmMares' Novices' HurdleGrade Two2m 1f
4:50pmKim Muir Handicap ChaseClass Two Handicap3m 2f

2021 Cheltenham Festival Day Three Tips – Thursday 18th March

Race 1 – Marsh Novices’ Chase Tips

Envoi Allen1:20pm Marsh Novices’ Chase (Grade One) 2m4fGET 4/6 HERE
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For me, ENVOI ALLEN is unopposable in this year's Marsh Novices' Chase. He’s unbeaten during his career and has won twice at the Cheltenham Festival. Some may crab the form of his three wins this season, but Envoi Allen has jumped beautifully on all three of his chase starts, winning with plenty left up his sleeve. I can’t see the late move to Henry De Bromhead’s yard being an issue. 4/6 is a brilliant price.

Marsh Novices’ Chase Best Bet – ENVOI ALLEN

Race 2 – Pertemps Final Tips

Come On Teddy E/W1:55pm Pertemps Final Handicap Hurdle (Grade 3) 3mGET 10/1 HERE
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The British handicapper has been especially hard on The Bosses Oscar, forcing him to run off a mark some eight-pounds higher than his Irish rating. However, Jordan Gainford will take seven of those away, and he’s a very good value for that claimer. That booking must give The Bosses Oscar a big chance in the Pertemps Final, but there’s two I fancy at more appealing prices.

COME ON TEDDY boasts some impressive course form, having beaten On The Blind Side in a handicap earlier this season. Tom George’s charge wasn’t far behind Imperial Alcazar in the qualifier at Warwick, and the winner certainly had the smoothest passage that day. He remains very well treated, and could run a big race under Jonny Burke.

I also fancy SPIRITOFTHEGAMES, who ran a lovely race to place second in one of the final British qualifiers at Chepstow. Dan Skelton’s charge is yet to win at Cheltenham, but he’s twice finished second in big Graded handicaps over fences, and has placed in both the County Hurdle and the Paddy Power Plate. He’s running off a hurdles mark which is four-pounds short of his rating over fences, so has to be in with an each-way shout.

Pertemps Final Bet 1 – COME ON TEDDY (each-way)
Pertemps Final Bet 2 – SPIRITOFTHEGAMES (each-way)

Ryanair Chase
Saint Calvados (right) finishing second to Min in the 2020 Ryanair Chase. (Getty)

Race 3 – Ryanair Chase Tips

Melon E/W2:30pm Ryanair Chase (Grade 1) 2m4fGET 15/2 HERE
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This really is a very high-quality renewal of the Ryanair Chase. Any of the top contenders could win on their day. The fact that two-time Cheltenham Festival winner Samco is a 14/1 shot, and recent Ascot Chase winner Dashel Drasher can be found at 20s perfectly illustrates that point. With three paid places available, I’m going to fire a couple of arrows at this prize.

Some may find MELON hard to back, due to his poor strike rate and that last-place finish at the Dublin Raving Festival. Mullins’ team got the tactics all wrong that day, though, and Bryan Cooper is sure to ride him more positively. Melon has finished second on all four of his previous visits to the Cheltenham Festival, and he’s got the ability to hit the frame again.

Saint Calvados E/W2:30pm Ryanair Chase (Grade 1) 2m4fGET 11/1 HERE
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I’ve also backed SAINT CALVADOS, who ran a cracker in this race 12 months ago, and may even have got past Min had he jumped the last a little cleaner. Harry Whittington’s charge faded to finish fourth in the King George on his reappearance, despite jumping the second-last just behind Frodon. Gavin Sheehan’s mount fell when just creeping into the Cotswold Chase last time out, but it was a soft fall and he didn’t have a hard race. A reproduction of last year’s run would see Saint Calvados challenging again.

Ryanair Chase Bet 1 - MELON
Ryanair Chase Bet 2 – SAINT CALVADOS

Race 4 – Stayers’ Hurdle Tips

Sire Du Berlais3:05pm Stayers’ Hurdle (Grade 1) 3mGET 5/1 HERE
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I backed SIRE DU BERLAIS to win the Stayers’ Hurdle at the beginning of the season, and nothing I’ve seen since then has changed my mind. Last year’s Pertemps Final was run in a time three seconds quicker than the Stayers' Hurdle. What's more, Sire Du Berlais was six seconds faster from the second-last to the line than Lisnagar Oscar, despite carrying an extra two pounds on his back. 

Denise Foster’s runner won the Lismullen Hurdle on his reappearance. Sire Du Berlais was then well-below par at Leopardstown over Christmas, but it’s not the first time he’s thrown in a stinker around that track. Mark Walsh’s mount is proven over the course-and-distance, he comes alive during the spring, and this doesn’t look the strongest Stayers’ Hurdle now Thyme Hill isn’t running. I think he has a massive chance.

Stayers’ Hurdle Best Bet – SIRE DU BERLAIS 

Race 5 – Paddy Power Plate Tips

A Wave Of The Sea E/W3:40pm Paddy Power Plate (Grade 3) 2m4fGET 8/1 HERE
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Considering his best runs this season have come in two-mile hurdles races, I’m surprise to see The Shunter entered here. I’m also a little shocked to see that Farclas has drifted away from the head of the betting. Both will likely be popular on the day, I just fancy two others a little more.

I backed A WAVE OF THE SEA at 14/1 for this when my initial Paddy Power Plate preview went live, so I’m delighted to see the market support has come for Joseph O’Brien’s runner. He may only be five, but A Wave Of The Sea is very experienced, having run 20 times in two years. He won a Grade One as a juvenile and was staying on up the hill in last year’s Triumph. Mark Walsh’s mount comes into this on the back of a win, and this step up in distance is definitely going to suit.

Oldgrangewood E/W3:40pm Paddy Power Plate (Grade 3) 2m4fGET 25/1 HERE
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I’ve also backed OLDGRANGEWOOD, who finished a strong third off a one-pound higher mark in this race last year. Dan Skelton’s charge was going well in the Old Roan until a couple of late mistakes put an end to his challenge. At Newbury next time out, Oldgrangewood crossed the line just three-lengths behind Clondaw Castle, who’s boosted that form considerably since. Skelton’s ten-year-old loves Cheltenham, and he can run well beyond his current price. 

Paddy Power Plate Bet 1 – A WAVE OF THE SEAS (each-way)
Paddy Power Plate Bet 2 – OLDGRANGEWOOD (each-way)

storm control
Storm Control will try to land a hat-trick of Cheltenham wins this season in the Kim Muir. (Getty)

Race 6 – Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle Tips

Willie Mullins has won all five renewals of this race. Two years ago, Willie watched 50/1 outsider Eglantine Du Seuil beat stablemate Concertista, who went off at 66/1. Concertista went off at a much shorter price of 9/2 when she scored last year, when Mullins saddled four of the first five horses past the post.

You simply have to side with a Willie Mullins runner here, and the one I like is GLENS OF ANTRIM, who was a 25/1 shot when I published by Mares' Novices' Hurdle preview. Glens Of Antrim was fourth behind Blue Lord on her first racecourse appearance, before running Albert Bartlett favourite, Stattler close at Leopardstown. The odds-on favourite then looked on-course to claim her first win at Naas, but was outmuscled in the closing stages by Mr Incredible, who looked twice the size of Mullins’ mare.

She’s a speedy, athletic mare, who will be well suited by better ground and racing within her own sex. Mullins’ six-year-old hasn’t jumped well so far, but she’s only had three lifetime starts, and with only two hurdles in the final mile of the race, you don’t need to be a great jumper to win this race.

Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle Best Bet – GLENS OF ANTRIM (each-way)

Race 7 – Kim Muir Tips

Hold The Note E/W4:50pm Kim Muir Challenge Cup Handicap Chase (Class 2) 3m2fGET 13/2 HERE
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HOLD THE NOTE was my each-way selection in the Northern Trust Handicap last season, and ran well to finish third, considering he was giving weight to two classy sorts in Imperial Aura and Galvin. Mick Channon’s charge struggled during the early stages of the season, but ran really well last time to push a classy sort in Enrilo all the way to the line. He sits six pounds lower than his career-high mark over fences, and offers plenty of each-way appeal.~

As does STORM CONTROL, who won a conditional jockeys handicap over course-and-distance earlier in the season, before following up in the Grade Three at Cheltenham’s International Meeting. Things didn’t go to plan in the Classic Chase last time out, but soft ground around that track didn’t suit, and neither did that extended trip. Horses towards the top of the weights do well in the Kim Muir, and his course form must give Kerry Lee’s charge an excellent chance.

Kim Muir Bet 1 – HOLD THE NOTE (each-way)
Kim Muir Bet 2 – STORM CONTROL (each-way)

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