Cheltenham day 3 tips: Paul O'Brien's best bets including Stayers' Hurdle and Ryanair Chase

The Cheltenham Festival continues today with another bumper afternoon of action.

There are seven races in total on the schedule for St Patrick’s Thursday at Prestbury Park, including two feature events in the Ryanair Chase and the Stayers’ Hurdle.


Here, horse racing expert Paul O’Brien offers his best tips and bets for day 3 at Cheltenham.

13:30 Turners Novices' Chase - Grey Dawning

This race has a fantastic lineup with four horses that stand out from the rest. Willie Mullins’ Facile Vega is favourite and could make it 101 wins at Cheltenham for the Irish trainer.

Ginny's Destiny has had three back-to-back wins over this course and distance, and Iroko's last run saw him win comfortably at Warwick over this distance, while his form last season was exemplary.

But Grey Dawning may well surprise them all. He had a storming win over 3m at Warwick on his last race on January 13.

14:10 Pertemps Network Final Handicap Hurdle - Cuthbert Dibble

It's a really strong field for the race but this six-year-old gelding has scored back-to-back wins in handicaps and had no problems when upped to 3m at Haydock on February 17.

Also in with a shout is Gaoth Chuil, who came a close second over soft ground at Leopardstown on February 3.

14:50 Ryanair Chase - Banbridge

Another tough choice with a glut of quality horses, such as favourite Envoi Allen, Stage Star and Protektorat, who are all very capable.

However, an interesting choice is Banbridge, who has hit some form again immediately after a nine-month break. The eight-year-old gelding secured a win at Kempton on January 13 even with some slight mistakes, which can be forgiven after such a long time away.

Second place that day, Pic D'Orhy, was also a comfortable winner in his following race. If Banbridge can iron out the slight lack of fluency, then he could pull this off.

Banbridge could pull off a surprise win in the Ryanair Chase on day 3 at Cheltenham (Tim Goode/PA Wire)
Banbridge could pull off a surprise win in the Ryanair Chase on day 3 at Cheltenham (Tim Goode/PA Wire)

15:30 Paddy Power Stayers' Hurdle: Noble Yeats E/W

Grand National 2022 winner Noble Yeats has been returned to hurdles this season after a seven-month break. Winner last time out at Cheltenham on January 27 over this distance, he narrowly defeated repeat opponent Paisley Park, who was under a 6lb penalty.

However, those conditions were good to soft whereas today's will be heavier and this should work in his favour with his impressive stamina. Online bookies should be offering four or five places and he should easily be in that zone.

16:10 Festival Plate Handicap: James Du Berlais E/W

It would be some turn up for the books for Willie Mullins’ eight-year-old gelding James Du Berlais to bring in yet another win for the Irish trainer, but given his outstanding run so far this Festival, it's not out of the question.

He's a solid, reliable horse that has placed in his last two races at Leopardstown over this distance. With soft conditions and on these odds and with bookies offering five places, it's well worth an each-way punt.

16:50 Ryanair Mares' Novices' Hurdle: Brighterdaysahead

Brighterdaysahead was highly impressive in bumpers last season, taking home €59,000 for his win at Fairyhouse on April 9.

The five-year-old mare has continued her outstanding form into this season, remaining undefeated after three hurdle outings - the last at Navan on February 11.

She relishes heavy conditions so the heavier the better for the selection. She has tidied up her lack of fluency in her hurdles debut and will look to sit just in behind the leaders and come by in the home straight. The only downside is she's likely to be very short odds.

17:30 Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Challenge Cup: Where It All Began E/W

The eight-year-old Gordon Elliott-trained gelding Where It All Began won a valuable listed race at Punchestown on February 18.

The conditions were testing that day but he showed great stamina and ability to deal with the heavy going, so even if some more rain falls today it will be to his advantage.

He has been upped 12lbs in the handicap as a result of the last win but this tenacious horse can defy that to remain in the fray for at least a place.