Mick Fitzgerald: Top Cheltenham tips on Thursday at the Festival

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Mick Fitzgerald


1.30pm Marsh Chase  – Itchy Feet @ 7/2

The Marsh Chase that opens the card is wide-open and the big story here is that the mighty Faugheen runs. If he were to win it would raise the roof off the grandstand. Itchy Feet is a Grade 1 winner and a worthy selection in this contest. He was placed at the Festival last year and is a live contender. I would be keen on Mr Fisher had he not disappointed at the Festival last year.


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2.10pm Pertemps Hurdle – Welsh Saint @ 10/1

I like Welsh Saint for Nicky Henderson over this marathon trip. He won at Haydock on soft ground so will handle ground conditions. He looks a real player at an each-way price.

2.50pm Ryanair Chase – A Plus Tard @ 2/1

I am unwavering in my support for A Plus Tard. There are lots of reasons to fancy Min and Frodon, but I am not looking past Henry de Bromhead’s runner who was such a convincing winner at the Festival last season in the Close Brothers Novice Chase.


3.30pm PP Stayers’ Hurdle – Paisley Park @ 4/6

It’s hard to get away from the reigning champ Paisley Park who has looked every bit as good this year. His run style off hitting a flat spot and getting a bit behind gives the others hope, but he just keeps on winning.

I can see last year’s Ballymore Novice Hurdle winner, City Island, getting into the places at a decent price after connections aborted a chasing career to return hurdling.


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4.10pm Brown Advisory – La Bague Au Roi @ 12/1

I love a graded horse in a handicap and  I am going for Le Bague Au Roi. She beat Santini and Topofthegame at Kempton last year in a Grade One and that looks the stand-out form in this contest. She looks a massive price if she can bring that sort of form to the table on Thursday.

4.50pm Mares Novice Hurdle – Minella Melody @ 9/4

There’s lots in this race with chances and Henry de Bromhead’s Minella Melody is the favourite and should go well for Rachael Blackmore. Floressa could be the one to chase her home at the prices.


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5.30pm Kim Muir – Champagne Platinum @ 7/1

Plan of Attack has been targeted at this for a while and top Irish amateur Barry O’Neill has been booked to ride. However, the booking of Derek O’Connor on Champagne Platinum catches the eye. Third on his last start to Itchy Feet who runs earlier on the card so we’ll have an idea of whether the form has been backed up in the opening race on the card.

He is better than his bare form suggests and looks an each-way play.

*Prices correct at time of publication bu are subject to change. 

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What do you think?