Cheltenham Day 3: What the Hec?…

More winners yesterday but more frustration too with a couple of narrow seconds meaning not enough betting warmth to combat the damp chill of a rainy day on course. Rain, and the impact of it will be a key factor today, so one to tread lightly in every respect.

NAP OF THE DAY: Hector Javilex, (1410 Cheltenham), 2pts win, 1pt place, (6 places), 16/1:

Favourite Thanksforthehelp could have a ton in hand and may win with ease, but I really like Hector Javilex who looked on the serious upgrade when winning at this track in the mud and in impressive fashion in Jan. Ignore a quick run afterwards which was to qualify for this which he did by scraping into 4th under unsuitable conditions at Huntingdon. This looks ideal for him.

RACE OF THE DAY: Paisley Park, (1530 Cheltenham), 1pt EW, 18/1 (4 places):

Money for mudlarks Teahupoo and Klassical Dream is easy to understand. This though could be the massive comeback story for 2019 winner of this race Paisley Park. He is very old now at 11, but ran well in this as a 10yo last season. Has looked near his best this year and can be excused his defeat here last time when the pace want strong enough. Will finish as well as any and can cause a big surprise.


Banbridge, (1330 Cheltenham), 1pt win, 7/1:.

Has been badly on the drift as the rain has fallen and it is easy to see why Mighty Potter is such a short price to win. That said this will be run on fresh ground and I still give Banbridge a squeak at what is now an attractive price.

Shishkin, (1450 Cheltenham), 1pt win, Evens,

On the formbook alone one of the most likely winners of the meeting. Is clearly a class apart from his rivals here after storming back to peak form at Ascot last time. Bombed out here last year and therein lies the concern of weather that will repeat agin on rain softened ground. The most likely is that it won’t and he will add a third career festival win.

So Scottish, (1610 Cheltenham), 2pts win, 4/1:

Trainer Emmet Mullins is rapidly building a huge reputation for shrewd handicap placement. He won this race with the rapidly improving The Shunter a few years ago and this horse has also been snapped up by owner JP McManus having looked very promising over an inadequate 2m at Ascot. Is unproven on really soft ground, which fractionally tempers enthusiasm but still has a big chance.

Magical Zoe, (1650 Cheltenham)1pt win, 10/1:

Cheltenham has a way, and with this race named after the teenage son he lost to a riding accident last Summer, the racing gods may look down kindly on Henry De Bromhead here. Magical Zoe did so well to win last time after meeting plenty of trouble and has since been kept fresh for this. Luccia is the obvious one to beat whilst Poetic Music can go well at a price.

Stumptown, (1730 Cheltenham) 1pt win , 9/2:

Has long been the fancy for this race with it looking the clear target for his shrewd trainer. Has shown massive improvement of late, and whilst those runs came on a better surface they also came as they would have been planned to in the run up to the festival and may not have been surface driven. Jumps beautifully and remains a decent fancy for this rain or shine.


Hector Javilex – Paisley Park – So Scottish – Magical Zoe


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