There was more glory for Rachael Blackmore on day three of the Festival.
'Back more Blackmore-ridden horses' should have been my mantra from the get-go. However, we stick with the process.
Al Boum Photo bids for a hat-trick of Cheltenham Gold Cups – if he were to pull off that achievement it would place him in some rare company.
1.20 JCB Triumph Hurdle
Tritonic was a talented sort on the Flat. Based on his two wins over hurdles, plenty of that ability has transferred to the National Hunt game. He jumps well in the main, and should enjoy the demands of this track. Zanahiyr is improving at a rate of knots. He's greatly feared.
Selection: Tritonic 10-3
1.55 McCoy Contractors County Hurdle
Thyme White travelled noticeably well for a long way in the Betfair Hurdle last time out. His finishing effort was a little disappointing but it does mean we get a big price here. Expect him to be delivered late. He should get a decent pace to run at. Any number of these could win. Milkwood is another big-priced runner with the tools required to go close.
Selection: Thyme White 25-1
2.30 Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle
Torygraph doesn't do anything in a hurry. His lack of tactical speed is a concern in this big field. My hunch is that he's the horse in the race open to most improvement. His bottomless stamina is a massive asset in a race that always asks a big question of the heart and lungs. Fakiera is a genuine, consistent sort. His greater experience could prove telling on the day.
Selection: Torygraph 6-1
3.05 WellChild Cheltenham Gold Cup
Al Boum Photo bids for a hat-trick in this race. He will surely give it a right good go. Perhaps he might be vulnerable to the improving Champ. This horse proved a revelation on his comeback over an inadequate trip at Newbury last time out. His jumping seems to have improved out of all recognition. That accurate fencing coupled with the stamina he showed when getting up late in last year's RSA chase would be a potent combination. Frodon can't be dismissed on a track he adores.
Selection: Champ 5-1
3.40 St James's Place Hunters Chase
A bit of a guess-up at my end. Billaway ran well in this race last year and seems to have a great attitude. He will surely give favourite backers a good run for their money. Red Indian is the talk of the UK point-to-point circuit.
Selection: Billaway 3-1
4.15 Mrs Paddy Power Mares' Chase
It won't be easy for Colreevy to concede weight all round here. She does appeal as the most talented mare in the race and strikes me as the best value in the race. Elimay is thought by most to be the most talented mare in the race. They could well be right.
Selection: Colreevy 4-1
4.50 Martin Pipe Handicap Hurdle
Fire Attack has some form that suggests he could be well treated here. He also has a first-time tongue tie, and a talented jockey in the plate. Galopin Des Champs may yet deliver on the promise he clearly shows at home.
Selection: Fire Attack 12-1