Cheltenham Festival 2011 

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By Billy Blakeman ValueChecker

Third Intention to Compensate Connections in Triumph

The final day of the 2011 Cheltenham Festival and we begin what will be a challenging card with the JCB Triumph Hurdle.

© Racehorse Photos


With no less than four horses vying for current favouritism, the race looks very open and nothing really stands out from the card. My ante-post selection was Third Intention and I am hopeful he can provide the Tizzard’s with some compensation for the disappointment of seeing Cue Card get well beaten in the Supreme Novices. After an impressive winning debut at Newbury on decent ground, Third Intention has twice found one to good and in Local Hero and Houblon Des Obeaux, he finds his conquerors re-opposing. When he was second to the former here in December, he very much looked the winner and though he was beaten, the pace wasn’t that great and he looked to me to have plenty of potential left in the locker. Again next time, he looked the winner on heavy ground but got mugged late. This race will be run at a fast pace and there will be no excuses but the test should suit him and he should go well.

The Irish don’t have a great record in this but Edward O’Grady would be a popular winner if his Sailors Warn. I was really impressed with this one’s success over Christams in a Grade 2 hurdle at Leopardstown and although he has 3-lengths to find with the mare Unaccompanied, he is battle-hardened and he had plenty form on quicker ground when racing on the flat. Would probably still like to see a little of the forecast rain but a fair price at 33/1.

Nicky Henderson has a good record in the race and I would fancy his Grandouet to come out top of his three challengers. Not only is the French-bred nicely experienced, he has shown form as good as anything in this race and better than most. Shouldn’t be hugely inconvenienced whatever the ground and he could be the best of the market leaders.

Recommendation: Third Intention, Sailors Warn


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