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Cheltenham Festival Day Three Preview - Stayers' Hurdle And Ryanair Chase Take Centre Stage

Paisley Park is the one to beat in the Stayers' Hurdle on Thursday
Paisley Park is the one to beat in the Stayers' Hurdle on Thursday

A hugely competitive day's racing will light up Prestbury Park on Thursday afternoon as day three of the Cheltenham Festival kicks off with the JLT Novices' Chase at 1:30pm, but the feature race of the day will be the Stayers' Hurdle at 3:30pm, which will see Paisley Park aim to cement his place as the premier staying hurdler.

Emma Lavelle's charge was a runaway winner of the Cleeve Hurdle on Trials Day at Cheltenham in January, and he will look to build on that fine victory in what is an intriguing renewal of the Grade 1 showpiece.  Former Champion Hurdle hero Faugheen will be one of the leading contenders to the hot favourite, as he looks to recapture some old form, while Supasundae and Bacardys will be another brace of Irish-trained runners bidding for glory.

A wide open renewal of the JLT Novices' Chase will attract some stellar contenders at 1:30pm and Defi Du Seuil and Lostintranslation will clash for the third time this season, but Real Steel and Vinndication have some smart form in the book and could play a notable role in the Grade 1 curtain-raiser.

A bumper field will line up for the Pertemps Final at 2:10pm and it will give the heavily-backed Sire Du Berlais the chance to try and show why he has been so popular in the ante-post markets in the lead up to the Cheltenham Festival.

Before the Stayers' Hurdle takes centre stage at 3:30pm, punters will be treated to a cracking renewal of the Ryanair Chase, which will see a plethora of Irish-trained runners bid for glory in yet another Grade 1 contest.  Monalee, Footpad and former winner Un De Sceaux are all prominent figures in the 2:50pm event, which is awash with quality throughout the field.

Janika has been installed as the market leader for the Brown Advisory & Merriebelle Stable Plate Handicap Chase at 4:10pm, but he will have the burden of top weight in that competitive event as he looks to hand Nicky Henderson more festival success after the master of Seven Barrows watched Altior win in style on Wednesday.

Henderson will then have a huge chance in the Mares' Novices' Hurdle at 4:50pm as Epatante aims to kick on from a fine Exeter win, while the day's action concludes at 5:30pm with the Kim Muir Challenge Cup Handicap Chase offering another devilishly difficult betting conundrum for punters.

Enjoy the action!

Cheltenham Festival Day Three Race Schedule

1:30pm - JLT Novices' Chase

2:10pm - Pertemps Final

2:50pm - Ryanair Chase

3:30pm - STAYERS' HURDLE

4:10pm - Brown Advisory & Merriebelle Stable Plate Handicap Chase

4:50pm - Mares' Novices' Hurdle

5:30pm - Kim Muir Challenge Cup Handicap Chase

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