The headline race on Thursday is the Stayers’ Hurdle, but most people’s attention will be firmly fixed on the opening race of the day. The Marsh Chase opens the Thursday programme and the all-conquering Envoi Allen will be looking to strut his stuff on the hallowed turf.
He’ll be partnered by Jack Kennedy, who has a very interesting book of rides on Thursday. All five of his mounts have huge chances, with the biggest price being just 14/1. If you’re not excited by the price of Envoi Allen, then perhaps this Lucky 15 will wet your appetite. Riding the wave of momentum from Envoi Allen, Kennedy could enjoy success with this whopping £14,783 Lucky 15!
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2.30 – Samcro
Winning last year’s Marsh by the narrowest of margins, Samcro bids for further success in 2021. He made a fairly promising reappearance at Down Royal before being stretched by three miles at Leopardstown subsequently.
Returning to Cheltenham may help perk up this classy individual, as he’s unbeaten at the Festival in two runs. Dropping back in distance is another big positive and with the ground shifting into his favour, he’s a strong each-way contender for Kennedy.
3.05 – Fury Road
Edged out in last year’s Albert Bartlett by Monkfish, Fury Road bids to make amends twelve months on in the biggest staying race for the hurdlers. His form this season has been a shade below his best, posting his peak RPR when beaten by Beacon Edge last time in agonizing fashion.
He does need to post a career-best to win this, but he’s still unexposed. There’s plenty of pace in this contest and he’ll be suited by that, even if the ground is perhaps better than he’d want. If they do go off too hard in the opening stages, he’s a horse who can pounce late on, with his stamina being his biggest asset.
3.40 – Farclas
Well-backed since the declarations were confirmed, Farclas bids to win again at the Cheltenham Festival. He landed the 2018 Triumph and it’s perhaps disappointing that he’s been unable to land further Grade 1 honours.
That being said, a switch to fences has rejuvenated him, winning three of his six starts. He had been off the track for 522 days prior to this campaign, where he’s reached the frame in three highly competitive handicaps. He was only edged out of things late last time at Leopardstown and that form has been has been boosted since. Off just two pounds higher back at Cheltenham, he looks set to run a huge race.
4.50 – Mount Ida
With just eight runs over obstacles, it’s still very early days for Mount Ida. She’s been keeping some very good company since switching to fences this term, winning a Grade 3 at Cork on just her second chasing outing. She’s been absent since January, where she bumped into the very useful Colreevy in a Grade 2 at Thurles.
She makes her handicap debut here off a very attractive rating, with a mark of 139 looking far from harsh. Although the vast majority of her form has come at around two miles, she stayed 2m 6f over hurdles and could benefit massively from this step up in distance. If she does just that, this mark certainly won’t be holding her back.
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