Cheltenham Festival 2012 Day Three Thursday betting preview and odds

The bookmakers filled their satchels on Day Two of the Cheltenham Festival, although something similar happened in 2011 and Big Buck’s came to the punters’ rescue

Cheltenham Festival 2012 Day Three Thursday betting preview and odds

The bookmakers filled their satchels on Day Two of the Cheltenham Festival, although something similar happened in 2011 and Big Buck’s came to the punters’ rescue.

The three-time World Hurdle champion is back at Prestbury Park looking to continue an amazing win rate on Thursday, with Paul Nicholls and Ruby Walsh lagging behind Nicky Henderson and Barry Geraghty in the Top Trainer and Top Jockey market respectively.

However, the action gets under way a few hours earlier when a very competitive Jewson Novices’ Chase takes place.

Jewson Novices’ Chase – 1.30pm

One of the biggest Cheltenham news items in the lead-up to the Festival was the decision by Donald McCain to remove Peddlers Cross from the Arkle and instead run last year’s Champion Hurdle runner-up in the Jewson.

Perhaps McCain is slightly vindicated by this decision on the basis of how impressively Sprinter Sacre performed on Tuesday, although there are rumours that the horse is not schooling pretty well at it remains to be seen whether it will justify odds of 7/2 (William Hill free bets).

This race is highly competitive and a case can be made for several of the runners, including Sir Des Champs which has been described by Mark Winstanley as an aeroplane. The French horse won the Martin Pipe Handicap Hurdle a year ago and has six consecutive wins under his belt.

Meanwhile, the talented Cristal Bonus is an attractive 11/2 (Boylesports) to win Thursday’s opener while For Non Stop at 13/2 (Paddy Power £100 free bets) will be seen as an attractive bet by many.

Ryanair Chase – 2.40pm

Fourteen horses are entered for the Ryanair and virtually all of them have the potential to run into a place for what should be a thrilling renewal of a race that is growing in popularity. The Ryanair was a recent introduction at the Cheltenham Festival, although a high calibre of horse enters this 2 mile 5 furlong contest.

That includes Riverside Theatre, with the eight-year-old arriving in great form after winning the Betfair Chase at Ascot last month, some 12 months after its previous outing. There is a worry that there could be a bounce factor on Thursday although the Nicky Henderson horse will be a popular selection at 5/1 (Bet Victor).

Somersby might have ended up winning the Champion Chase, although the connections obviously think that the Victor Chandler Chase winner will be better served by the extra distance and the best odds about the Henrietta Knight runner is 6/1 (Stan James £150 free bets).

Rubi Light has been another buzz horse this season, although the ground is getting quicker with the passing of every day and that is more likely to suit Noble Prince and Medermit, while nobody should rule out Alberta’s Run, especially after winning this race last year. He isn’t getting any younger at 11 although odds of 10/1 (Boylesports free bets) should attract plenty of each-way money.

Captain Chris has become something of a forgotten horse after being pulled up in the Argento Chase two months ago, although we should remember that the eight-year-old ran third behind Kauto Star and Long Run in the King George the previous month. We also know that the Hobbs horse can act on Cheltenham after winning last year’s Arkle and odds of 14/1 (bet365) look plenty big enough.

Ladbrokes World Hurdle – 3.20pm

The first thing to note is that Paddy Power are back with a massive money back offer, something which is likely to see them paying out again!

Undeterred by the way in which Sprinter Sacre’s victory forced them to refund a mass of losing bets on the Arkle, the Irish bookmaker will refund any losing bets if your horse finishes second to Big Buck’s in this race.

Paddy certainly can’t be accused of doing things by halves and we are sure to see a big gamble on Oscar Whisky ahead of the race, especially when you consider that the Nicky Henderson – Barry Geraghty double act have served the punters particularly well.

You can actually get a best price 9/2 with Paddy Power about this horse although there is a question mark whether the second favourite will get the trip of three miles considering that it has never raced over this distance.

You also have to consider that Big Buck’s has won 15 races on the bounce and that includes three World Hurdles which really is a staggering achievement about a horse that will go down in Cheltenham folklore irrespective of whether he wins on Thursday.

The nine-year-old could come to the rescue of many a punter that has struggled at the Cheltenham Festival over the first two days and odds of 4/6 (Stan James) are available about the Paul Nicholls horse.

Some would have you believe that this is a two-horse race, although Thousand Stars is a classy animal that is clearly thought to be better over three miles than two miles and there are few question marks over whether the Willie Mullins charge will get the trip.

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