Matt Chapman: I’ve a hot tip for Cheltenham on St Patrick’s Day so Garde it with your life

It may be Paddy's Day in Ireland but it can be our day at the Festival

The fight continues at Cheltenham on Day three to take even more cash off Paddy whose pants are well and truly down. What a horrible thought. You hear me Paddy?

Let’s start with the JLT and it’s a competitive renewal, but I can’t wait to see GARDE LA VICTOIRE stepped up in distance and think he’ll run a huge race for Philip Hobbs and Richard Johnson.

The Pertemps Final is a nightmare contest even if Paddy are paying the first five home. I’m taking a chance with CUP FINAL, who stepped up in distance at Musselburgh last time and won well. He’s been ditched by Barry Geraghty, but the better ground will really suit him so take a chance each-way that he proves the top jock wrong.

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It’s got to be VAUTOUR to win the the Ryanair Chase after his late diversion from the Cheltenham Gold Cup. One of the positives is that it makes Road To Riches  a perfectly decent each-way bet now. He’s a former Gold Cup third and will appreciate the drying ground.

THISTLECRACK looks a good thing in the World Hurdle, and is hard to oppose. The feature Grade 1 race has a biggish field, but Thistlecrack is the real improver this season and can prove a star for Colin Tizzard.

The Brown Advisory & Merriebelle Stable Plate is going to put jumping to the test and I’m praying KINGS PALACE returns to form. He’s been desperate for the Pipe stable in recent times, and was shocking over hurdles last time at Chepstow.

You have to feel Kings Palace has a medical issue, but the stable is just the kind to get one back for the Festival. Fingers crossed.


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The Trull House Stud Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle named in honour of the great Dawn Run is meant to be at the mercy of Willie Mullins’ Limini, but I want to take her on.

I’ll have a few quid on the ultra-tough SMART TALK, who stays strong and won well at Doncaster last time out.

The Indian Sign

Finally it’s the Kim Muir Handicap Chase. I’ve been impressed with SILVERGROVE on his last two starts for Ben Pauling and he seems to jump and stay well for his up-and-coming stable. He should get a good early position and run well. I’ll have a few quid each-way.

However, I’m also looking at one at bigger odds in the shape of the Ian Williams-trained INDIAN CASTLE. He’s got plenty of Festival form and could pop up.

Fingers crossed we get a few results. It may be Paddy’s Day but let’s hop it’s our day too. Yeeehaaa!