Cheltenham Thursday tips: Top Notch to upset Yorkhill in the JLT
Expect Nicky Henderson to continue his top-trainer march, while Unowhatimeanharry targets nine in a row in the Stayers’ Hurdle...
Well, yesterday was… shocking.
Douvan’s flop in the Betway Champion Chase was just a number of surprises in what was a very difficult day to find any winners.
But today is a new day and we’re back with a win double, along with some each-way chances to try and claw some profit back.
As ever, you’re covered if you lose the first and last race with our headline offer.
Top Notch to add to Henderson’s Festival success in the JLT
We start with the 1.30pm JLT Novices’ Chase, where Willie Mullins’ Yorkhill is a short favourite.
He’s won eight from a possible nine, including the Neptune at the Festival last year.
While Ruby Walsh will be hoping this can be his first winner of the week, I think Top Notch is the one to beat here.
The six-year-old is currently in the form of his life, having won his last four in impressive fashion.
He ran in the Triumph Hurdle and was just pipped by stablemate Peace And Co two years ago, but was a bit out his depth in the Champion Hurdle last year.
Back for a third attempt, he looks far more suited to the JLT today.
Comfortable over this distance and with those two Festival rides under his belt, he will certainly have a great chance.
Nicky Henderson is having a fantastic Festival so far and this shot could add to his success.
Tobefair and Ballymalin the picks for the Pertemps
Up next is the 2.10pm Pertemps, where there is certainly some big money to be made.
Form will go a long way in this race and for that reason you cannot dismiss Debra Hamer’s Tobefair.
This seven-year-old has been an absolute sensation since switching to Hamer’s stable, having won on all seven trips.
Impressive wins at Warwick and Newbury last time out and a proven over this distance, he looks a solid bet at .
A good each-way shout here could be Nigel Twiston-Davies’ Ballymalin.
He is another seven-year-old who is on great form, having won four of his last six and only failed to finish outside the top three once.
With Sam Twiston Davies still searching for his first win of the Festival, he will be very motivated for this ride.
He looks a great each-way chance at .
Uxizandre set to claim back his Ryanair Chase crown
Next is the Ryanair Chase, which is another where Ruby Walsh and Willie Mullins will be hoping to start putting some wins on the board.
Un De Sceaux won the Arkle at Cheltenham two years ago but disappointed in the Betway Champion Chase last year.
He did win on this course in January, but it is the runner-up from that day, Uxizandre (), who looks good here.
Until that run, the classy nine-year-old had not ran since his victory in this race two years ago.
That triumph was a fantastic display in AP McCoy’s last ever Cheltenham winner, where he stormed into a huge lead and no-one could catch him.
Stable jockey Wayne Hutchinson will take the ride after Mark Walsh's injury yesterday but is more than capable here.
Alan King is without a win this week so far and, after Yanworth’s disappointment, he will be hoping to make up for it with this Grade 1.
Noel Fehily eyeing a third Championship triumph this week on Unowhatimeanharry
The Stayers’ Hurdle marks the third Championship race of the week, and it could be the third win for Noel Fehily.
He already has victories on Buveur D’air in the Champion Chase and Special Tiara in the Betway Champion Chase and he looks set to complete the hat-trick with Unowhatimeanharry.
The nine-year-old has been an absolute revelation under Harry Fry, having won all eight of his races, including four times on this course.
His win in the Albert Bartlett last year possibly remains his best to date but he just continues to impress.
A strong field featuring Jezki and Nichols Canyon should make this his toughest task yet, but at I can only see him romping home.
Village Vic’s Cheltenham record to go a long way in the Brown Plate
The 4.10 Brown Advisory Plate is next up and is another big handicap with decent each-way money to be made.
The likes of Bouvreuil and Thomas Crapper have previous experience at Cheltenham Festivals and traditionally travel well.
However, the course specialist Village Vic looks huge value at .
Six out of his last seven runs have come on this course – winning twice, a runner-up twice and also a third.
His only disappointment came in last year’s Ryanair Chase when he finished well behind Vautour.
Despite being top weight, he finished an agonising second in the Gold Cup in November’s Open meeting which was a very impressive display.
He followed that up by finishing second to Shantou Flyer on New Year's Day.
Champion jockey Richard Johnson said this was "one of his best chances of the week" and, with the 10 year-old knowing the course better than any, he looks a big each-way shout at .
Airlie Beach to gift Mullins an overdue Cheltenham winner
The Mares Novices Hurdle is up next and Willie Mullins must be confident he can get the win here.
He has the first two in the betting in Let’s Dance and Airlie Beach, but it is the latter at who looks good for the win.
She is unbeaten so far, having won all seven trips, and has rarely been challenged yet.
Paul Townsend has already ridden her to three victories – twice at Kilbeggen and the other at Galway last September.
He is the man to ride again today and, having already finished ahead of Ruby in the Mares’ Hurdle, he should be confident of doing so again here.
Mall Dini looking for back-to-back wins at the Festival
We finish off in the Kim Muir Handicap Chase, where again there is plenty of each-way value on offer.
The first one that appeals to me here is Mall Dini .
He won the Pertemps last year as a 16/1 shot in commanding style but is still looking for a win since that triumph.
Four third-placed finishes and a runner-up in his last five shows he is still progressing nicely, but just can’t find that winning touch.
With Katy Walsh on board, maybe she can find that elusive win for 12 months.
Another good each-way shout is Premier Bond.
His last three runs have been very encouraging and suggest he could be finding some consistency.
Winning his last two at Doncaster and Catterick and was also a credible second to yesterday’s RSA Chase winner Might Bite in December.
Sam Waley-Cohen is one of the most experienced out of the Amateur jockeys so he looks a good each-way chance at .
A £10 win double on Top Notch and Uxizandre returns £260*.
Each-Way Lucky 15
Tobefair 10/1 | Village Vic 16/1 | Airlie Beach 4/1 | Mall Dini 7/1 |
A 50p Each-Way Lucky 15 (£15 total stake) returns £5,980*