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The42′s Winning Post: Everything you need to enjoy day three of Cheltenham

And hopefully help you pick a winner.

Horse Racing - 2012 Cheltenham Festival - Day One - Cheltenham Racecourse Zarkandar is favourite for the World Hurdle. Source: Tony Marshall/EMPICS Sport

Three big talking points…

1. Who’ll rule the World? When Big Bucks was winning every renewal (okay, four) of the World Hurdle it was, let’s face it, probably the most boring of Cheltenham’s feature races.

However, the 2015 edition is being billed as the most open in two decades and it’s not hard to see why when you look at how closely matched the horses at the top of the market are on form.

The odds though, are vastly different with Zarkandar (5/1), Saphir Du Rheu (5/1), Un Temps Pour Tout (10/1) and Reve De Sivola (18/1) all confusing bookies and punters alike.

The danger looks to be Lieutenant Colonel (9/1) but it’s not a race anyone can feel confident calling.

2. Vautour de Force: The Irish have a great record in the JLT Novices’ Chase and look to have every chance of continuing it on Thursday. After the withdrawal of Champagne Fever in the Queen Mother Champion Chase on Wednesday, Ruby Walsh and Willie Mullins will look to get back to winning ways on Vautour who is likely to go off the 2/1 favourite.

Apache Stronghold (9/2) and Valseur Lido (5/1) are not without their chances in this grade one contest with Ptit Zig (3/1) hoping to provide the home challenge as the race for the Prestbury Cup intensifies.

Ted Walsh and Adrian Heskin celebrate winning with Foxrock Ted Walsh celebrates with Adrian Heskin after Foxrock won the Boylesports Steeplechase at Leopardstown in January. Source: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

3. Double Don: After the success of Don Poli in the RSA Chase, Don Cossack (4/1) will hope to double don for Michael O’Leary and Gigginstown House in the race sponsored by the airline he runs at 2.40pm.

Fans of Shark Hanlon will be hopeful Hidden Cyclone (9/1) can go one better than last year’s second spot in this race while Ted Walsh’s Foxrock (6/1) will attract a lot of each-way money having five wins, four seconds and three third place finishes in 15 races.

NAP of the day…

Ruby and Willie will be back in the winner’s enclosure when Vautour comes home first in the Novices’ at 1.30pm.

An each-way fancy…

The Pertemps Network Hurdle Final (2.05pm) is usually a race won by outsiders and Dawalan (14/1) is a horse whose form is moving in the right direction with wins at Aintree and Musselburgh though Join The Clan (16/1) in the same race might also be worth a look.

Accumulator…

We don’t really expect this one to come in but Barry Geraghty is due a big day and you can get double on Whisper (9/1) in the World Hurdle and Ma Filleule (5/1) in the Ryanair that should net you €60 or, more likely, cost you €1.

Originally published Wednesday 20.50

Dodging Bullets wins the Queen Mother Champion Chase

Unlucky photographer gets VERY close to the action at Cheltenham

About the author:

Steve O'Rourke

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