Cheltenham Tips

Bryony Frost: Shishkin and Mighty Potter will be very hard to beat

Cheltenham Festival Day 3
Bryony Frost talks through Thursday's action

Bryony Frost provides her thoughts exclusively with Betfair on the Cheltenham Festival, who discusses Paul Nicholls' chances as well as the Stayers Hurdle. She expects Shishkin and Mighty Potter to perform to high standards...

  • Looking forward to seeing Shishkin in the Ryanair

  • Mighty Potter looks a cut above in the Turners

  • Stage Star has a powerful turn of foot

All eyes on Shishkin

14:50 Ryanair Chase

We are all looking forward to seeing Shishkin again in the Ryanair Chase, and if he's in the same form here as when he won the Betfair Ascot Chase last time then he's going to be very hard to beat.

That was his first time over a longer trip and his first run since a breathing operation, and he looked every bit as good as we all thought he was going to Cheltenham a year ago, but he's only had 26 days to get over it.

The Henderson team are making all the right noises and don't seem in the least bothered by that, so it sounds as if he's fresh and ready to rock and roll again, but if he doesn't run his race again for any reason it's quite an open race and I can see our horse Hitman running well.

In a minute Hitman is going to show what we all think he's capable of, and perhaps it will be here, back in distance after his Betfair Denman Chase second and wearing first- time cheekpieces.

The only time I've ever ridden Hitman was as a novice at Newbury, when he was the shortest-priced horse I've ever ridden and he won as he liked, but everything about him - his stride, his rhythm and his jumping - told me he was top-class.

Hitman 1280 x 763.png

His problem is that he can be a little 'head in the clouds'. He's like that kid in school who has all the talent in the world but is taking the mickey and causing trouble. I can see him running himself into a place, but it's hard to get away from Shishkin.

Klassical Dream can win Stayers Hurdle

15:30: The Stayers Hurdle

The Stayers Hurdle looks wide open and there are at least six you could make a case for, including previous winners Flooring Porter and Paisley Park, plus Blazing Khal, Teahupoo, Home By The Lee and Klassical Dream. And that's not to mention the two French runners!

By the sounds of things Blazing Khal hasn't had the ideal prep, and Flooring Porter hasn't looked quite so good this season, so I'd take a chance with Klassical Dream, who won the Supreme so easily a few years ago and is still a very high-class hurdler on his day.

He wasn't beaten far in the race last year, and there's next to nothing between him and Teahupoo on Fairyhouse form, so at the prices I'd just lean towards him. He can pull hard, but if he settles and everything drops right for him I'm sure he's still capable enough.

A Mighty upset if Potter doesn't win

13:30 Turners Novices Chase

Mighty Potter is going to be very hard to beat in the Turners Novices Chase, the afternoon's other Grade 1, as his form in Ireland looks a cut above the rest and he's already won twice at that level.

Mighty Potter 1240 x 890.png

Paul has Stage Star, whose Cheltenham win last time was over the same trip and on soft ground. That was in a novice handicap, but it was a good one, and what stood out there was his jumping, which was so quick and clean.

That's his biggest asset, but he also has a powerful turn of foot. I've ridden him a lot at home and I'd love to see him win.

One to note in the Magners

16:10 - Magners Plate

In the handicaps I'd just like to mention Il Ridoto of Paul's in the Magners Plate. He went up 8lb for his win at Cheltenham in an open handicap the same day as Stage Star won, but he was entitled to.

He came alive in first-time cheekpieces that day and he's got them on again.

His jumping is extremely efficient and he's in very good form at home. It's a massive field, but he definitely has a squeak.


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