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Cheltenham Tips: Betting Picks & Predictions for Day 3

Cheltenham Tips: Betting Picks & Predictions for Day 3

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Today’s Horse Racing Tips

For Thursday’s horse racing tips, our analyst James Boyle looks at the 2023 Cheltenham Festival, with four selections now online.

As always, you’ll find the most up-to-date odds at the best horse racing betting sites, but don’t sleep on our tipster’s predictions as those odds could soon be gobbled up by the betting public. Odds stated are correct at the time of publishing.

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14:10 Cheltenham – Hector Javilex – 1pt e/w @ 16/1

With 6 places up for grabs, I’ll be disappointed if Hector Javilex can’t run into one of them. He’d be a shorter price if arriving on the back of his C&D run on New Year’s Day, as he cruised into contention and went clear on the run to the line, scoring by 7-lengths from a number of in-form opponents. That has got him an 8lb higher mark but was only his second handicap and his first over a longer trip.

A slower run race at a speedier track on better ground caught him out at Huntingdon next time, when 5-lengths behind Itchy Feet, but it was a good effort in the circumstances. Of course, this is going to put no shortage of demands on him to progress again but I think it’s possible at this venue and not many of the opposition appeal as being hugely ahead of their marks, for all that plenty are interesting.

Thanksforthehelp is the one who could be anything having cantered to success in qualifying for this, but he’s 11lbs higher and although it’s impressive how he travels, the price is too short. Maxxum is a full 25lbs higher than his easy Leopardstown win and is on a comeback mission after things didn’t go his way last time. They can be got at, hopefully by Hector Javilex if he gets into a rhythm again.

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15:30 Cheltenham – Klassical Dream – 1pt e/w @ 9/1

This year’s Stayers‘ Hurdle looks wide open and Klassical Dream, who went off favourite for it last season, makes appeal at 9/1 with a few firms offering a fourth place. He’s not a simple ride and has only made it to the track once this term, but his record when fresh is outstanding and I wouldn’t be overly bothered about the lack of a run since December, for all that it’s not the most optimal approach with most.

That one run was a cracker in the Hatton’s Grace, where he was just a neck behind Teahupoo and more than two-lengths clear of Honeysuckle. He reportedly had a setback afterwards and was doubtful to make it to Cheltenham. Thankfully he has and although it’s a super competitive renewal, there’s nothing between him and the other main contenders if he brings his best level to the table, so I’m happy to play.

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16:10 Cheltenham – Fugitif – 1pt e/w @ 10/1

I’m hunting at least each-way money once again, this time Fugitif being the one that appeals. He was promising in the early part of his novice season but has kicked on to an entirely new level this time, running well here over two-miles here on the old course before bolting up at Chepstow off 133, then got within a length of Il Ridoto over C&D off 10lbs higher when they faced off seven weeks ago.

I thought that was an outstanding effort from both horses, with the pair scooting miles clear in the straight, but the selection is 2lbs better off now and might be more suited by the rain that has been coming down. It was soft officially when they went to battle but the times would suggest it was no worse than good-to-soft and that may have been the difference between Fugitif winning or losing it.

He jumps well in the main and the most important trait he has is his cruising speed, which will be needed in a big field like this where position will be everything when it gets serious. Sean Bowen is a booking I like (first ever ride for the yard) and he should suit the horse well. If the bit of luck that’s needed comes his way, he’ll be a major player. If he stays upright, he must get into the places at worst!

17:30 Cheltenham – Beauport – 2pts e/w @ 10/1

Beauport is one of my big fancies of the week in the Kim Muir and hopefully he will be able to make his class tell on his handicap debut over fences. He was a talented hurdler, reaching a rating of 148, and given his breeding and size, it was always possible that he’d make up into a better chaser. It hasn’t happened as of yet but he’s only a 7-year-old and hasn’t tackled a suitable test… until now!

He was getting weight off some smart horses when making his chasing debut at Carlisle in October but still had to perform to a high level over a trip shy of his optimum. He then bumped into a smart one at Haydock when conceding 8lbs and had no chance in a Grade 2 on decent ground when fourth to The Real Whacker (to whom he conceded 2lbs), the subsequent Brown Advisory Chase winner.

Those experiences won’t be lost on him and have yielded a split mark, with his chase rating down to 143. I think that’s extremely workable, to put it as lightly as possible, especially now that he’s back on softer ground and upped markedly in trip to one he should relish. He goes well fresh also, so the ten week break should be nothing but a help, and Zac Baker has a fine record for the Twiston-Davies team.

It is a viciously competitive contest but there aren’t many screaming out to me as being that well-treated and this fellow is because his experience has been gained over much shorter trips, the last twice on ground quicker than he’d care for. If his jumping holds up, which is a worry with most horses in these giant fields, I cannot see how he’ll be kept out of the frame. 10/1 with 6 places? Thank you! 

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