As we move to Thursday, the third day of the festival and one of the highlights today is the Stayers Hurdle. Paisley Park is short odds on to repeat last year’s victory but Willie Mullins sends Penhill to try to regain the crown he won in 2018 and he may well cause an upset. Do you fancy an each way bet at a massive price? Try Donna’s Diamond who has been aimed at this by trainer Chris Grant all season, he had a prep race last month and is rumoured to be in rude health.
As to the Lucky 15 I will start with the 1.30 the Marsh Novices Chase and it will be exciting to see the great Faugheen lining up. He has won three races so far this year but I wonder as a 12-year-old whether we have seen his best round Prestbury Park, so as much as I would like to see him win I must pass him over for a younger contender. I liked the look of Reserve Tank earlier in the season but he has not been seen since last November so I will side with one of my Ten To Follow from last season who has proved something of a star this time around. That is Mister Fisher who is 2-3 over fences and has been aimed at this since he won at Doncaster in January.
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At 2.10 it’s the Pertemps Network Final Handicap Hurdle and Sire Du Berlais from Gordon Elliott’s yard is at the top of the handicap and well fancied but the weight may be a problem. Relegate is a course winner and his trainer has recently come back to training after leaving in 2016, this would be some return. But Nicky Henderson may have the answer here with Welsh Saint who won a qualifier for this at Haydock last month and he will go well on soft ground.
The Ryanair Chase is at 2.50 and there is a disappointing turnout for this prestigious contest. Frodon would be cheered to the rafters if he can repeat last year’s victory for jockey Bryony Frost but although he won at Doncaster last time he was not on peak form and has been suffering with stomach ulcers so I pass him over. Riders Onthe Storm is unbeaten this year for trainer Nigel Twiston-Davies and his latest victory in the Ascot Chase was a worthy one even though two of his main rivals fell.
At 4.10 we have the Brown Advisory & Merribelle Stable Plate and Simply The Betts is unsurprisingly well fancied for this after the fine season he has had for trainer Harry Whittington. But I am looking further down the handicap to Dan Skelton’s Oldgrangewood, a course and distance winner who got home by a nose in a fighting finish on New Years Day, connections feel this could be his season.
Thursday Lucky 15
1.30 Mister Fisher
2.10 Welsh Saint
2.50 Riders Onthe Storm