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Cheltenham Festival: Stage Star Wins Turners Novice Chase – Live Updates

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Ryanair Chase (2.50pm) betting Shishkin Evens fav

Blue Lord 6/1

Janidil 13/2

Envoi Allen 10/1

Fury Road 11/1

Hitman 25/1

French Dynamite 25/1

Ga Law 33/1

Chacun Pour Soi 40/1

Full betting via Oddschecker

The Pertemps Network Final at Cheltenham. Photograph: Paul Childs/ReutersRyanair Chase (2.50pm) preview

Greg Wood

They love a Comeback King at the Festival, and the fortunes that were lost when Shishkinbombed out in the Queen Mother Champion Chase last year will soon be forgotten – and in many cases, retrieved – if Nicky Henderson’s chaser can notch a third win at the meeting in the second Grade One of the afternoon. He was a 5-6 shot 12 months ago and will be much the same price for what is usually the weakest of the three non-novice Grade One chases at the meeting, and has nearly a stone in hand of Blue Lord, the likely second-favourite, on Timeform ratings. Willie Mullins’s apparent first-string (of three) is an interesting contender, though, as he remains unexposed at this trip and posted a useful effort to beat Captain Guinness – who went well for a long way in Wednesday’s Champion Chase – at Leopardston in December.

His stablemate Janadil, meanwhile, has much more experience at this intermediate trip but also seems ideally suited to it, while Henry de Bromhead’s Envoi Allen may also attract some support. He too has been a blow-out at this meeting in the past, falling at the fourth on his first start for the yard – he left Gordon Elliott’s stable in the fallout from *that* photo – in the Turners Novice Chase in 2021, and took a while to adjust to the change of surroundings. He notched another Grade One – his sixth in all – at Down Royal in November, however, and is not out of it in his attempt to act as super-sub for the injured Allaho, and give his owners, Cheveley Park Stud, a third successive win in this race.


Horses lining up in the Pertemps Network Final. Photograph: Peter Cziborra/ReutersPertemps Final Handicap Hurdle (2.10pm) result1 Good Time Jonny 9/1

2 Salvador Ziggy 10/1

3 Mill Green 22/1

4 Green Book 40/1

Pertemps Final Handicap Hurdle (2.10pm)And they’re off … hold on it’s a false start … and they’re off this time … Green Book and Bear Ghylls are up there … Moka De Vassy falls at the second flight … Takarengo is not happy and already being pushed along … Burrows Park has a clear lead … Bear Ghylls has chased him close as have the others as they pass the stands with a circuit to go … The Bosses Oscar is close up as is The Changing Man … Salvador Ziggy has made good ground … Leven Neverending has made good ground as well … Green Book goes on but it’s wide open … Mill Green makes a challenge … Good Time Jonny comes late and wide to spring a big surprise the way the race went after being left at the start and ending a barren spell for shrewd Irish trainer Tony Martin.

Liam McKenna rides Good Time Jonny to victory in The Pertemps Network Final Handicap Hurdle. Photograph: Steven Cargill/ movers for the Pertemps Network Final

Thanksforthehelp 4/1 into 10/3

Salvador Ziggy 11/1 into 6/1

Details via Oddspedia

Pertemps Final Handicap Hurdle (2.10pm) betting Thanksforthehelp 7/2

Maxxum 11/2

Salvador Ziggy 15/2

Walkingonair 9/1

Good Time Jonny 10/1

An Tailliur 12/1

Moka De Vassy 16/1

Hector Javilex 18/1

The Changing Man 20/1

20/1 BAR – 21 runners

Full betting via Oddschecker

She’s wasting that drink! Photograph: Paul Childs/ReutersPertemps Final Handicap Hurdle (2.10pm) preview

Greg Wood

The first of three fiendishly difficult handicaps on today’s card, for all that the format – with 20 qualifiers spread throughout the season in Britain, Ireland and France and a first-four finish required to make this Final – is designed to ensure that there is plenty of collateral form to consider. David Pipe’s Thanksforthehelp, who won the Chepstow qualifier last month with plenty in hand, is a solid favourite at around 7-2, while Maxxum, a 16-length winner at Leopardstown’s Christmas meeting, is hunting him up in the market at around 5-1.

The third-favourite, Walking On Air, also won his qualifier, this time at Exeter in February, but the most recent winner to have also won their qualifier was Fingal Bay in 2014 so it may pay to look instead for a horse that ran well without winning. The Changing Man, who finished second in a well-run Haydock qualifier in February, fits the bill for me at around 20-1 but most readers will no doubt have their own opinions.

SELECTION: The Changing Man

A racegoer drinking champagne on day three of the Cheltenham Festival. Photograph: Mike Egerton/PATurners Novice Chase (1.30pm) result1 Stage Star 15/2

2 Notlongtillmay 40/1

Turners Novice Chase (1.30pm)And they’re off … Stage Star, as expected, is off fast and James Du Berlais makes a mistake at the first fence … Mighty Potter is pulling a little hard … Balco Coastal is in second in the early stages … all travelling OK with a circuit to go … Notlongtillmay now second … Appreciate It makes a minor mistake … Stage Star leads with three to go … Notlongtillmay challenges … Stage Star clears the last and kicks clear for a great win.

Harry Cobden on Stage Star on the way to winning the Turners Novices’ Chase. Photograph: Tim Goode/PATurners Novice Chase (1.30pm) market movers

Mighty Potter 10/11 into 8/13

Appreciate It 7/2 into 11/4

Full details at Oddspedia

Turners Novice Chase (1.30pm) betting Mighty Potter 8/11

Appreciate It 3/1

Stage Star 8/1

Balco Coastal 16/1

James Du Berlais 28/1

Notlongtillmay 33/1

Unexpected Party 125/1

Full betting here via Oddschecker

Racegoers join in the fun at the Cheltenham Festival. Photograph: Peter Cziborra/ReutersTurners Novice Chase (1.30pm) preview

Greg Wood

The punters have got a lot more right than they have wrong so far this week, with five more winners at single-figure odds on Wednesday to add to six on Tuesday, and there will be plenty of cash rolling over onto Mighty Potter in this opening event on day three. His stablemate Gerri Colombe was touched off in the three-mile novice on Wednesday, but Gordon Elliott’s fans have not been deterred and his runner here was supported from odds-against to odds-on on Wednesday.

Punters looking to oppose him at that price will probably alight on Appreciate It, lightly-raced since his devastating 24-length success in the 2021 Supreme Novice Hurdle and likely to be suited by the step up to this trip, while the form of Banbridge’s 10-length second behind El Fabiolo in February was boosted when the winner followed up in Tuesday’s Arkle. Balco Coastal could prove to be the best of the Brits, having finished close behind Gerri Colombe at Sandown in February, but this looks to be Mighty Potter’s to lose.

SELECTION: Mighty Potter

The Celtic Feet Irish Dance Company perform ahead of racing on day three of the Cheltenham Festival. Photograph: Seb Daly/Sportsfile/Getty ImagesIf you read Barry Glendenning’s feature on Comeback Kid Davy Russell in this morning’s edition or on your tablet you’ll know Michael O’Leary had his say on the jockey’s return to the saddle – spoiler alert: he didn’t like it. Russell had his say on ITV Racing’s The Opening Show this morning … “I have about as much respect for Michael O’Leary’s opinion as he has for my opinion!” It’s worth a watch and intriguingly Russell rides Fury Road for O’Leary in the Ryanair Chase at Cheltenham today.

Monopolies Commission alert!

Willie Mullins will end the week with 76 runners at this Cheltenham Festival, unless he has non-runners

Up from 63 last year

— chris cook (@claimsfive) March 16, 2023 Here’s your updated list of non-runners …

In a horse racing first, the Jockey Club teamed up with electronic music producer DJ Cuddles to release a brand new dance track for the Cheltenham Festival. Cuddles himself was spinning the discs in the Best Mate Pavilion yesterday afternoon but it sounds as if the crowd was not into rave!

DJing at Cheltenham Festival and everyone keeps requesting Sweet Caroline

— DJ Cuddles (@mrmitchmusic) March 15, 2023Your Thursday market movers … from Oddschecker

Gold Tweet [Stayers’ Hurdle] 11/1 – 4/1

Marvel De Cerisy [Plate Handicap Chase] 25/1 – 10/1

Magical Zoe [Mares’ Novice Hurdle] 9/1 – 13/2

Lot Of Joy [Mares Novices Hurdle] 6/1 – 4/1

Appreciate It [Turners Novice Chase] 10/3 – 5/2

Racegoer Dave Winfield, with his ‘Lucky Pants’ ahead of racing on day three of the Cheltenham Festival. Photograph: Seb Daly/Sportsfile/Getty ImagesMeet Mr Jack Andrews. He was a journeyman jockey until this morning and now he’s famous thanks to starring on the front page of the ooo-ahh Daily Star. Jack, who is riding Anightinlambourn in the 5.30 today, is the tallest jockey in the world. So obviously the Star sent their most vertically challenged reporter to interview him. Our friends at BestofBests report the punters have latched onto the news and his mount has been backed into 16’s from 25-1. Things might be looking up for Jack … ouch!

Daily Star front page featuring the world’s tallest jockey, Mr Jack Andrews. Photograph: Daily StarScratch these off your list of possible wagers – they won’t be running


1.30pm Turners Novice Chase

3 Banbridge (Going)

4 Christopher Wood (Self Certificate, Going)

2.10pm Pertemps Handicap Hurdle

16 Jet of Magic (Self Certificate, Abscess)

5.30pm Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Handicap Chase

13 Chambard (Vet’s Certificate, Abscess)

Racegoer Andrew Gattase wearing a shamrock blazer before racing on day three of the Cheltenham Festival. Photograph: Harry Murphy/Sportsfile/Getty ImagesThis big question today is how squidgy it’s going to be. The official going suggests it’s going to be less testing than yesterday as the verdict is … Soft, Good to Soft in places … There has been four millimetres of rain in the last 24 hours and Thursday is forecast to be mainly dry, with drizzle/light showers possible (1-2 mm). For the latest TurfTrax going report click here.

One of the key points is that the action moves to the New Course today so the horses will be running on fresh ground.


Greg Wood

It took a while for the Thursday of Cheltenham week to grow into its new role as the third day of four, but in recent years it has been second only to Gold Cup day itself in terms of attendance, and the glorious afternoon in 2019 when Paisley Park and Frodon took the feature events is fondly remembered by many as one of the best days at the Festival in recent decades.

So it will be interesting to see whether today’s train strikes will have an impact on the third day’s popularity, and put a dent in the Festival’s balance sheet in the process. Some regulars who travel by train may, of course, simply drive instead, but the prospect of enduring Carmaggedon both in and out of the course could also persuade others to sit it out on the sofa.

If the crowd does take a hit, the “Dammit, I wasn’t there” moments for stay-at-home fans could potentially include a repeat of Paisley Park’s success four years ago, as the evergreen stayer is back for a fifth crack at the feature event and not entirely out of it according to the bookies, who put him in at around 20-1.

Racegoer Viv Jenner poses for a portrait ahead of racing on day three of the Cheltenham Festival. Photograph: Seb Daly/Sportsfile/Getty ImagesIt is a strong field up against him, however, and a more international one than usual too, with Gold Tweet, from Gabriel Leenders yard in France, attempting to follow up his Cleeve Hurdle success here in January. Flooring Porter is back to attempt to complete a hat-trick, while Teahupoo, who was the first horse to beat former Champion Hurdle winner Honeysuckle earlier in the year, could be the best of the younger generation.

Elsewhere on the card, Shishkin will bring a tear to Nicky Henderson’s eye if he can put last year’s failure in the Queen Mother Champion Chase behind him and score a third Festival success in all in the Ryanair Chase. Mighty Potter, meanwhile, will attempt to get the punters straight onto the front foot for the third day running when he sets off at odds-on in the opening Turner’s Novice Chase.

As ever, you can follow all the action throughout the day here on the live blog, so whether you are strikebound at home or soldiering on regardless, let’s hope it’s another Festival Thursday to remember.

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