The countdown for the 2022 Cheltenham Festival has officially begun, with punters already scouring the markets for value.
The third day of the Festival gets underway on Thursday 16th March, with the likes of the Ryanair Chase and the Stayers’ Hurdle featuring on St Patrick’s Thursday.
The Cheltenham.co.uk team has marked up their formbooks, in hope of clawing in some decent profit from the third lot of races at Prestbury Park.
Here are the Antepost Antics selections for day three of the Cheltenham Festival.
RYANAIR CHASE – Fakir D’oudairies (12/1 – William Hill)
While it may seem unprecedented to take on Allaho in this contest, his odds of 5/6 do not scream value and therefore it might well be worth digging through the card for some value.
This is where Fakir D’oudairies comes into the equation.
Joseph O’Brien’s gelding has been beaten by Allaho on three occasions in the last twelve months, but he always has been in close contact with Willie Mullins’ star.
The son of Kapgarde has finished in the places at the Cheltenham Festival for three consecutive seasons, so he could well be picking up some place money here once again.
STAYERS’ HURDLE – Royal Kahala (10/1 – bet365)
It’s a big call here as it is still unclear whether Royal Kahala will head to either the Mares’ Hurdle or the Stayers’ Hurdle, but hear us out.
It looks as if Peter Fahey would be sending her to the Mares’ Hurdle looking through her seasonal campaign, but her last start has really kicked up some questions.
The seven-year-old galloped on decisively in the final stages of the Galmoy Hurdle at Gowran Park back in January, pushing in front of Klassical Dream and keeping on well to claim her first win over three miles.
That makes her an interesting candidate for the Stayers’ Hurdle should her connections opt to go there, with his 7lbs mares allowance making it a potentially worthwhile investment.
MARES’ NOVICE HURDLE – Statuaire (20/1 NRNB – bet365)
It is slightly remarkable that a Grade 1 winning mare holds a price as large as this for the Mares’ Novice Hurdle.
Yet that seems to be the case, especially with one bookmaker, as you can claim Statuaire at a current eye-watering price of 20/1 No Runner No Bet and even 33/1 in normal antepost terms if you are willing to take the risk.
Willie Mullins’ recruit has shown promise on her first four starts under the Closutton trainer, striking in two events over the summer before delivering a Grade 1 success in the Royal Bond Novice Hurdle at Fairyhouse in November.
She did struggle when taking on the likes of Sir Gerhard at the Dublin Racing Festival, but she should be in her element at Cheltenham and she could be among the places in the Grade 2 contest.