Festival Fans
March 16, 2023

The Irish’s dominance of the novice hurdles at the Festival intensified yesterday, with the first four home in the Ballymore all being trained in the Emerald Isle. 

However, the picture has been much less bleak for the home team in the novice chases, with The Real Whacker taking yesterday’s Brown Advisory, after Jonbon finished runner up in the Arkle on day one.


In today’s Turners Novices' Chase we are hoping that STAGE STAR can continue that trend and provide Paul Nicholls with a long overdue Festival success. He impressed everyone with the way he won here on Trials Day and he looks to be improving fast.

Mighty Potter is many people’s banker of the meeting and is clearly the one to beat on form, but you don’t get rich backing odds on favourites in novice chases and there is decent depth to this race.

With Banbridge now a non-runner the other one to back is APPRECIATE IT. He sluiced up in the Supreme here in 2021 and this longer trip might eek out some improvement. He is still lightly raced for a nine year old.


A monster field heads to post for the Pertemps Final at 2.10 and as with every handicap the trick is to try to find a horse that is ahead of the handicapper.

A couple that potentially fall into that bucket are COLTOR and MOKA DE VASSY.

COLTOR has only had one run over hurdles so far for his new yard and it was an eye-catching effort at Musselburgh last month. He has shown himself to be a strong stayer on the flat, so the three miles trip here should suit him, as long as the ground doesn’t get too soft.

MOKA DE VASSY is still a maiden, but he wasn’t far behind the strongly fancied Walk On Air at Exeter last time out. He was closing on the winner in at the end of that contest and has a chance of reversing the form over this slightly longer trip and with a slight swing in the weights. 

Walk On Air is one of three fancied runners from the Nicky Henderson yard. Henderson has a good record in the race and at least one of his trio will surely hit the frame.

Slight preference is for MILL GREEN, who has twice run well at this meeting in the past and who looks to have had his season geared around this race.

Itchy Feet, An Tailliur (if the rain stays away) and Thanksforthehelp are others to consider.


The first Grade 1 of the day is the Ryanair Chase and there seems no reason for us to desert our 8/1 ante post tip – SHISHKIN – although his price has now gone. 

If you haven’t had an interest already, the best option at the prices now looks to be FURY ROAD, who represents the sponsors. 

He travelled impressively well in a Grade 1 at Leopardstown last time out when he looked likely to give Galopin Des Champs a run for his money, before seemingly running out of steam after the last. This drop in trip could, therefore, be just what he needs.

Janadil is another consider.


Next up is the Stayers' Hurdle with Flooring Porter looking to make it a hattrick of wins in the race. 

He’s not been as his best so far this season, but he seems to come alive here and so must be respected.

For us, the horse near the head of the market with the best chance could prove to be HOME BY THE LEE. He was sixth in this race last year, but seems to have taken his form to a new level this campaign.

This is another race where the Irish runners dominate the market, but it might be the French challengers that they have the most to fear from here, rather than the British.

There are two raiders from France, and both have to be taken seriously after Gold Tweet turned up here in January and ran away with the Cleeve Hurdle. 

He travelled really well that day and it looked anything but a fluke. He has reportedly improved again at home since and looks a decent each way option.

We wouldn’t put anyone off backing the other French horse, Henri Le Farceur, who looks overpriced based on what Gold Tweet did here on Trials Day.


There are plenty of top class handicaps run here over this sort of trip during the season and so the best starting place for finding the winner of the Plate has to be those races. 

DATSALRIGHTGINO was an excellent second here on Trials Day in January and can go one better today. He has since run well at Kempton too and the first time cheekpieces might eek out the final bit of improvement needed for him to win one of these big races.

Il Ridoto and Fugtif fought out the finish here six weeks ago and must be major players again. They were well clear of the rest that day and any rain would help Fugitif’s chances of reversing that form.

Midnight River is another who has the requisite course form. He was third in the Paddy Power before winning on New Year’s Day, but at a bigger price take a chance on WAR LORD. He was pulled up in that January contest, but has since bounced back to form and was a staying on fourth in last year’s Arkle.

Of the Irish, HAUT EN COULEUERS looks the pick. He has earned his top weight and could prove to be a class above these.


Our Mares Novices' Hurdle tips are FOXY GIRL and YOU WEAR IT WELL.


Our three fancies for the Kim Muir Chase are DR KANANGA, DIDERO VALLIS and DEFI BLEU.

Betting should always be considered a form of entertainment, never as a way to make long-term profit. Only bet with money that you can afford, and are willing, to lose. Any Festival tips posted on this website are our opinions only - please always gamble responsibly.