Cheltenham Festival: Thursday race order, start times and Ruby Walsh’s tips

There's plenty to look forward to on the third day of the Cheltenham Festival

Envoi Allen Min Cheltenham St Patrick's Day

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Thursday at the Cheltenham Festival will see the Irish look to continue their domination of Prestbury Park after a superb start to the 2021 meeting for their runners, riders and trainers.

The Paddy Power Stayers’ Hurdle is the main event of the day, although Thyme Hill’s absence has denied us a mouthwatering clash with Paisley Park, while the Ryanair Chase is a wide-open contest where Min is hunting a second consecutive victory.

As if that’s not enough, Envoi Allen will be running in the Marsh Novices’ Chase to kick-off the day’s contests while there is also the Pertemps Network Final, the Paddy Power Plate, the Daylesford Mares’ Novice Hurdle and the Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Challenge Cup.

You can check out all the day’s runners and riders by taking a look at our snazzy racecards and don’t forget, you can watch all 28 races at this year’s Festival live on paddypower.com and through the Paddy Power app.

Thursday March 18

13.20 – Marsh Novices’ Chase (Grade 1) 2m 3f 168y

Ruby Walsh: “ENVOI ALLEN is unbeaten so far in his bumper, hurdles and chasing career, so what’s going to beat him now? He looks very hard to oppose and is nearly ‘value’ at the price in the non-runner money back market.”

13.55 – Pertemps Network Final (Handicap Hurdle) (Grade 3) 2m 7f 213y

Ruby Walsh: “Everyone looks at the qualifiers and looks for horses that were fourth, fifth and sixth. THE BOSSES OSCAR was second at Leopardstown and has been duly penalised for that. He runs off 151 when he could end up with a mark in the 160s.”

14.30 – Ryanair Chase (Grade 1) 2m 4f 127y

Ruby Walsh: “My preference for this one is MIN. I can never get away from his performance at Aintree over two-and-a-half miles, that was spectacular to watch.”

15.05 – Paddy Power Stayers’ Hurdle (Grade 1) 2m 7f 213y

Ruby Walsh:  “Last year’s winner LISNAGAR OSCAR has been overlooked. I think he’s coming back into form at just the right time and can hit the places at least.”

15.40 – Paddy Power Plate (Handicap Chase) (Grade 3) 2m 4f 166y

Ruby Walsh:FILS D’OUDAIRIES won at Navan in December, placed second to Envoi Allen at Punchestown but he didn’t stay behind Monkfish in Grade 1 company last month. He runs off 145, with a weight of 10st 9lb and is a strong traveller. The trip and pace of the race will suit him.”

16.15 – Daylesford Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle (Grade 2) 2m 179y

Ruby Walsh: Roseys Hollow beat ROYAL KAHALA and Gauloise but I don’t think there’s that much between those three. I think the 9lb swing will be huge for Royal Kahala and I wouldn’t be shocked if she turned it around.”

16.50 – Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Challenge Cup 3m 2f

Ruby Walsh: STORM CONTROL won twice at this track last winter and could still be improving. Ignore his last run on bad ground.”

*Paddy will be all over your telly box throughout the Cheltenham Festival sponsoring ITV’s live coverage from Prestbury Park – and you can get free and exclusive tipping columns EVERY DAY from Ruby Walsh, Matt Chapman and Mick Fitzgerald here on PP News.

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