Cheltenham Festival day 3 tips including Paisley Park and Envoi Allen


aisley Park can reclaim his Paddy Power Stayers’ Hurdle crown (3.05) on day three of what has already been a scintillating Cheltenham Festival so far, which would bring further positive news for racing when it needs it most.

The ground was quite testing at the start of the week, but the spring weather has given conditions more of a traditional Cheltenham feel.

Paisley Park suffered a heart problem when bidding for back-to-back victories in the Stayers’ Hurdle 12 months ago but has bounced back this season, overcoming Thyme Hill in one of the most memorable races of the season at Ascot in December, and is coming here fresh.

The defection of Thyme Hill has rendered this much easier for Paisley Park, whose owner Andrew Gemmell has been blind since birth.

Lisnagar Oscar returns to the site of his 50-1 win in the third-day feature last year. There was no real fluke about that and Rebecca Curtis gave this horse a wind operation after he flopped behind Thyme Hill at Newbury. He is likely coming to hand.

It is arguable that the superstar of day three is not running in the pivot race but in the opening Marsh Novices’ Chase (1.20). There have been perhaps too many odds-on favourites this week for the taste of the purists, who want ultra-competitive action, but Envoi Allen, yet to taste defeat, looks a world-beater.

Honeysuckle’s trainer Henry de Bromhead now trains Envoi Allen after Cheveley Park moved their horses from Gordon Elliott. However, Envoi Allen’s groom has joined him in County Waterford to render the switch as seamless as possible.

The 10-1 about Samcro, another horse unbeaten at Cheltenham and who used to be trained by Elliott, is appealing in the Ryanair Chase (2.30). This race is deeply competitive and excuses have to be made for Samcro’s defeats this season but the stable seemed out of form last time and he tends to come alive in the Cotswolds.

Another Cheveley Park steed, Allaho, has a tongue tie for the first time. Run out of it in the RSA Chase last year, he has a massive chance under jockey Blackmore, with Paul Townend staying loyal to Min.

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