Cheltenham Festival tips: Johnny Ward's best bets for day 3 including Stayers' Hurdle shock

Home By The Lee can run a big race in Thursday’s main event (Getty Images)
Home By The Lee can run a big race in Thursday’s main event (Getty Images)

It has been a gruelling, rain-soaked Cheltenham so far, and there will be no hiding place for the runners in Thursday’s feature Paddy Power Stayers’ Hurdle (3.30).

If there is a future star in this division, it is likely Teahupoo — and his stellar performance so far was when winning the Galmoy at Gowran as a prep for this last year, when the ground was testing. He was, arguably, unlucky here 12 months ago and his chance is obvious.

Flooring Porter is bidding to win this event for the third time, but is regressing. One cannot be confident that Home By The Lee is at his best, but, at the prices, he gets the nod. He came here a better horse 12 months ago, but can cause a mild surprise.

The Turners Novices’ Chase (1.30) has more depth this year, with 11 taking part and the hosts having a pretty formidable hand. Facile Vega has come in for lots of market support, but he is surely vulnerable after two tame efforts and Iroko is a cracking wager.

Iroko looked hopeless coming to the last obstacle in the Martin Pipe here 12 months ago but powered up the hill, while, for all he lacks experience, he jumps soundly.

The regular favourite in the Ryanair Chase (2.50) in recent years, Allaho, skips this year’s running with an injury, and it is a tricky little race, with Banbridge having ground-related concerns.

Envoi Allen can deliver for punters on Thursday (Getty Images)
Envoi Allen can deliver for punters on Thursday (Getty Images)

Envoi Allen’s Cheltenham record is 11F31, and the fall was an early one as a novice chaser. He’s been kept fresh for the Ryanair, in which he beat Shishkin pretty readily 12 months ago. He did all-bar win at Down Royal and one must consider oneself quite fortunate to be able to avail of an each-way price.

The Pertemps (2.10) is a minefield. Eric McNamara has two sneaking in near the bottom of the weights. The County Limerick trainer’s Alpesh Amin is preferred to Noble Birth based on the ground.

Irish trainers have won five of the last eight runnings of the Magners Plate Handicap Chase (4.10). Glengouly might be a little overpriced here, especially with the conditions emphasising his stamina. He ran a blinder when he was not guaranteed to stay the trip at Gowran and has a straightforward style.

The Ryanair Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle (4.50) is a cracker. Brighter Days Ahead is a potential star for Gordon Elliott and is opposed only with reluctance, while Jade De Grugy represents Willie Mullins, who won the first five renewals but is now odds-on to endure four successive blanks in this Grade Two.

Mullins was on fire on day one, but the advice is to side with Dysart Enos. Fergal O’Brien’s six-year-old screams class.

The Kim Muir (5.30) is the sort of get-out stakes that bookmakers love. Inothewayurthinkin seems liable to go off favourite, but over to you, Chavez. He had run a blinder when falling at Leopardstown and is not without a chance.

Johnny Ward’s Day 3 tips:

1:30pm: Iroko (Nap)

2:10pm: Alpesh Amin

2:50pm: Envoi Allen

3.30pm: Home By The Lee

4.10pm: Glengouly

4.50pm: Dysart Enos

5.30pm: Chavez