By News Team
Last Updated: 12th March 2020
At the half way stage of Cheltenham Festival it’s been a mixed bag for punters.
Some gambles have landed but plenty of others have gone astray.
The Thursday card has the potential to be another rollercoaster, with Paisley Park ‘banker’ material for most in the Stayers’ Hurdle (3.30pm) while the other Grade 1s on the card appear much harder to solve.
It could come down to a couple of successful bets in the handicaps if punters are to head into the fourth and final with the upper hand.
The Storyteller has Pertemps chapter in sight
Davy Russell has ridden four of the last five winners of the Pertemps Final, with two of those being provided by trainer Gordon Elliott.
The combination team up with The Storyteller in the race on Thursday and he could be the one.
He’s a Grade 1-winning chaser taking advantage of a substantially lower hurdles handicap mark and his preparation for this race has been spot on.
A win at Clonmel teed things up for a run in the Pertemps Qualifier at Leopardstown, where Russell crept him into the race to finish six – enough to book him a spot in the Final at the Festival.
He’s not a massive price at 9/2 considering it’s a 26-runner handicap, but everything is pointing towards a massive run.
The other interesting runner could be Welsh Saint for the all-conquering Nicky Henderson yard.
He showed a good attitude at Haydock the last day and a four pound rise might underestimate his abilities.
Further improvement is required, but Henderson is a master at doing just that and he should go well at 11/2.
Deyrann well in the Plate
The other big punting race of the day is the Brown Advisory & Merribelle Stable Plate (4.10pm), where Simply The Betts heads the betting after something of a price collapse after the opening day.
After Imperial Aura stormed home in the Novices’ Chase, the horse that beat him last time out has been unsurprisingly well backed and is now just 3/1 to win what is typically an ultra-competitive race.
He looks sure to go well as trainer Harry Whittington searches for a first Festival winner, but at such a short price there must be value elsewhere.
At three times the price is an equally progressive novice in the shape of Deyrann de Carjac.
He was last seen finishing third in the Dipper Novices’ Chase on New Year’s Day – the race in which RSA winner Champ came down at the last in.
The form has been franked with eventual winner Midnight Shadow finishing second in a Grade 1 at Sandown, so Alan King’s return could be very well-handicapped.
He could serve it up to the favourite at 10/1.