Yesterday Crockford’s Whisper Tofino Bay (8/1) was beaten on the line by Back In Focus. On what is a competitive day three of the Cheltenham Festival 2013, will the Irish dominate again?

The third day of Cheltenham Festival 2013 kicks off with what is an excellent renewal of the Jewson Novice Chase. Dynaste will be the favourite but Crockford believes that the grey will not have everything all his own way with the highly regarded Captain Conan being the danger to him. The Irish challenger Benefficient has crept under many radars and looks an attractive each way price in the race too.

Sam Winner and his stablemate American Trilogy have been talked up by their stable for the Pertemps Final. Crockford however favours Pipe’s Close House in the race, which could turn out be the first half a big handicap double on the day with the second half being the impressive Ballynagour in the Byrne Group Plate. Ballynagour entered many notebooks with his facile win at Warwick where he had Festival 2013 winner Golden Chieftain a country mile behind him.

The feature races of the day, the Ryanair Chase and World Hurdle look both to be fascinating contests. Crockford could imagine a scenario where if the Ryanair Chase was run eight times their could be eight winners. With that in mind Crockford will punt for value in the shape of For Non Stop who has had a strategically timed break in readiness for the race. The defection of Big Bucks due to injury has turned the World Hurdle into a hot contest which poses limitless questions including the infamous; will Oscar Whisky stay? Surely, the answer is yes but will he be good enough to beat the dangerous Irish contender Solwhit who has little wrong in his preparations for the 3m race.

Flaxen Flare provided the Elliott camp with another Irish winner yesterday in the Fred Winter and he may be well placed to follow up with Nina Carberry on the lowly weighted Romanesco in the Kim Muir. Unlucky to be run out at the finish in the National Hunt Chase, Nina may fair better today with Romanesco and her ride in the rescheduled Cross Country on Arabella Boy. The Irish look certain to pick up the Glenfarcas Cross Country  with the each way value appearing to be the Mullins horse Shakervilz.

Anthony Knott
Hunt Ball connections are confident, but will he beat Ballynagour?

Crockford’s Dead Cert – Ballynagour (Byrne Group Plate 4.00)

This ex-French horse was a handicap good thing at Warwick having Tuesday’s Festival winner Golden Chieftain way behind him in third that day. His danger Hunt Ball carries too much weight to get near this Festival good thing that surely is a Dead Cert.

Crockford’s Whisper – Shakervilz e/w (Cross Country 5.15)

With Mullins taking races left, right and centre and at big prices too. The 20/1 on offer about this classy contender can not be overlooked. With Katie Walsh booked expect at least a placing from this horse in a race that the Irish are again set to dominate.

Crockford’s Cheltenham Festival 2013 day three gambles:

Jewson (1.30) – Captain Conan and Benefficient e/w

Pertemps Final (2.05) – Close House e/w and American Trilogy e/w

Ryanair (2.40) – For Non Stop e/w

World Hurdle (3.20) – Oscar Whisky and Solwhit e/w

Byrne Group Plate (4.00) – Ballynagour, Hunt Ball e/w and Vino Griego e/w

Kim Muir (4.40) – Romanesco e/w and Vesper Bell e/w

Cross Country (5.15) – Shakervilz e/w , Arabella Boy and Bostons Angel e/w


(Featured Photograph – Oscar Whisky at Cheltenham by Stuart Rice)

(Photograph – Hunt Ball connections at Cheltenham by Stuart Rice)



Oscar Whisky