Thu, Mar 16, 1:51pm by Senior Writer
The first two days of the legendary Cheltenham festival have been kind to us, with two $21 tips managing to fill a place for nice each-way collects. We are confident of making it three in a row with the Ryanair Chase taking centre stage on Day 3.
Empire of Dirt is also a Festival winner before winning a lower grade chase here last year at a big price, but we feel it’s battle between the two horses who were separated by five lengths when they met on Trials Day back in January.
Un De Sceaux won easily for Willie Mullins and Ruby Walsh on that day, but that was Uxizandre‘s first run in nearly two years. You’d expect Uxizandre to improve here and at $4.50 is superior odds. He’s our bet of the day.
Elsewhere on the card, Unowhatimeanharry is a firming $2.37 favourite to the Grade 1 Stayers Hurdle and little wonder when you consider he has won eight straight, including four at this track.
He is a class above his rivals here and should get the money for trainer Harry Fry and jockey Noel Fehily.
Trainer Nicky Henderson has had a massive week already with three winners and should make it four in the opener, the JLT Novices Chase, with Top Notch. Top Notch has won four straight and has relished the step to the bigger obstacles this season, including an impressive win at Sandown last time out. The drying ground is a slight query, but at the price of $5 is worth the punt.
The $2.20 favourite in the race is Yorkhill who will look to become Ruby Walsh’s first winner of the carnival after ten unsuccessful rides over the first two days. It’s been a drought too for Willie Mullins who has saddled up 25 runners without success so far.
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