Nicky Henderson | Cheltenham Festival Day 3 Preview

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It's been a tremendous Festival so far and I couldn't be any happier with the way things have gone. MIGHT BITE was simply extraordinary in the RSA and it was certainly heart in your mouth stuff, he clearly had an aversion to the last fence and then he's got to make his way to the winning post without taking any detours! He was mightily impressive though and I see Stan James now make him clear 3/1 favourite for  the King George which will be one of the first long term aims. He is very exciting.

There was a tinge of sadness to the day however as we lost the lovely Consul De Thaix who took a crashing fall in the Neptune which proved fatal. It doesn't get any easier when you lose horses and my condolences are very much with JP and all the staff at home, who work so hard in looking after our equine friends. He will be sorely missed as he was lovely to have around the yard and we had only just scratched the surface with him.

Turning attentions to day three and it's another busy one so thoughts on the @sevenbarrows runners are below.

Cheltenham Festival Betting

(1:30) JLT CHASE

KILCREA VALE - Jerry McGrath

We've always thought quite a lot of this horse and his win at Fontwell last time should have put him spot on for this and he comes here in great shape. He's done nothing wrong and I think there might still be a bit of improvement in him.

TOP NOTCH - Daryl Jacob

Top Notch

He has been an absolute revelation as we only really thought we'd have some fun over fences early season and then switch back hurdling, but he has won his last four chases including the G1 Scilly Isles at Sandown last time and while he's not very big at all - he's absolutely tiny to be honest - he is really growing in stature and his confidence couldn't be any higher.

Obviously this is a tough race with the likes of Yorkhill to beat, but our horse is Mr Dependability and in great form, although he wouldn't want the ground too quick. He doesn't look like a steeple chaser but he is certainly behaving like one and definitely deserves to be there.

(2:50) RYANAIR CHASE

JOSSES HILL - Nico de Boinville

He clearly didn't stay 3m in the King George last time so we're coming back to his optimum distance and he'll absolutely love the ground too. I've put cheek pieces on him just to sharpen him a up a bit and on his very best form he is sure to be bang there.

VANITEUX - Noel Fehily

I really like his chances here. He's been quite frustrating in the fact that every time he runs the jockey comes back and says step him up in trip and then when we do, he doesn't stay but this distance does seem to be his best and he won nicely at Kempton last time which has given him plenty of confidence. He'll love the ground and I just think this race will suit him really well as there's only eight runners. He should get plenty of daylight and I really can see him being bang there. Don't forget, he would have finished second in last year's Arkle had he not fallen two out.

(4:10) FESTIVAL PLATE

COCKTAILS AT DAWN - Nico de Boinville

cocktails at dawn

The Grand National is the aim with him but it would be nice to pick up a decent prize on the way! He had quite a nasty fall at Kempton last time which is never ideal coming into a race like this, but he's in great form at home and has no ill affects from the fall. To be fair, 2m4f on good ground are the perfect conditions for him so there are no excuses on that front, but life is getting difficult for him and he needs to get his head in front before long.

(4:50) MARES' NOVICE

VERDANA BLUE- Jerry McGrath

I really like this filly and think she has a massive each way squeak, as I said in my Periscope session last week. It's a tough race with the likes of Let's Dance in the line up but my filly will love the ground and the stiff 2m1f here should be right up her street. She's a good filly and I think she has outstanding each way claims.

(5:30) KIM MUIR

HADRIAN'S APPROACH - Will Biddick

Hadrian's will absolutely love the ground and he arrives here a fresh horse having not run since a great effort when fourth in the Hennessy and he's come down to a nice mark too. He's in great shape and this is a very good option for him and he'd be the pick of my quartet.

PREMIER BOND - Sam Waley Cohen

There is nothing quick about Premier, but that doesn't stop him winning staying races like this and he arrives here in great shape having won at Doncaster last time. He's slow but he's a good slow horse and he's got the right jockey on board which all bodes well for a good run.

SUGAR BARON - Stephen Clements

It's the same with this horse as it is for Premier Bond in the fact that he doesn't do anything quickly but just keeps galloping and while he's not as experienced as some over fences he jumps well and should give his rider a good spin around. Good ground is what he wants.

LESSONS IN MILAN - Hugo Hunt

He's very lightly raced for a horse of his age, in fact he's only had one run for every year of his life but he ran a cracker at Newbury last time and is slowly coming back to himself and I think he has a very good chance as long as the ground is not too lively, which would count against him. He's had lots of problems but is in great shape and there may still be some improvement in him.

I'll be back tomorrow with more thoughts on our runners as we head into the final day of this year's Cheltenham Festival.

Nicky

Cheltenham Festival Betting

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