Through The Card: Cheltenham, Thursday March 17

Last year's Pertemps Final was won by Call The Cops
Last year's Pertemps Final was won by Call The Cops
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Timeform take you through the card on day three of the Cheltenham Festival.

"Thistlecrack looks a banker in this year's World Hurdle."

13:30 - Many of these have done their winning this season on much different ground, including Outlander, but in the hope that these conditions don't disadvantage him, he looks to hold an excellent chance here on the back of his taking performance in the Grade 1 Flogas at Leopardstown in February, where he won with something to spare in a race in which the re-opposing Zabana (second in last year's Coral Cup) was badly let down by his jumping. Black Hercules would have made it three-from-three over fences but for a final-flight fall at Navan last time, but - although he is a strong traveller - he could find things happening a shade fast here under these conditions, and Garde La Victoire, who was probably at his best over hurdles on less testing ground, looks the ideal second Placepot pick.

14:10 - Barry Geraghty has picked Leave At Dawn over Cup Final, but the latter looks the more progressive of the pair, after landing a warm qualifier for this race at Musselburgh on his reappearance in February, and with more improvement to come, he looks a solid option. Taglietelle - who was third to Cup Final last time at Musselburgh - could also run well with Jack Kennedy taking off a useful 5 lb. Our Kaempfer was in the process of running well before being brought down in the Fixed Brush at Haydock when last seen, and with this strongly run race looking set to suit, he is also worth including.

14:50 - There isn't a great deal of depth here and Vautour should be far too good for this field after being rerouted from Friday's Gold Cup, the only real concern being the fact that the vibes from his yard are not all that positive (apparently not in the same sort of form as when bolting up in the JLT last season). Should Vautour underperform for whatever reason, it could also be worth including Al Ferof, who ran right up to his best in the Peterborough Chase on his first start for Dan Skelton, and has a brilliant record fresh.

15:30 - Thistlecrack has been the outstanding performer in this division this season, and it is hard to see him out of the places here given that he has beaten the majority of this field already, albeit under different conditions than he will encounter today. With the potential for more to come given his progressive profile, Thistlecrack looks a banker in this year's World Hurdle.

16:10 - It's certainly conceivable that Johns Spirit has had this race as his target all season, and, having slipped to 2 lb below his last winning mark, he looks to have an excellent chance of extending his good record at Cheltenham, which includes a win in the Paddy Power Gold Cup in 2013, and a fourth in this race in 2014. Fingal Bay won the Pertemps Final on this card in 2014 from a 7 lb higher mark, and, after holding his form well this season and running well in both the Hennessy and the Silver Cup at Ascot, he looks set to run well here under conditions that should suit. Salubrious won the Martin Pipe in 2013 from 1 lb lower than he operates from today, and after just five previous starts over fences, he is also worth including and at around 20/1, also looks worth backing.

16:50 - Limini is a very short price for the first running of this new Festival race, but that matters little for Placepot purposes and if she builds on her visually impressive victory on her second start at Fairyhouse then she should go close. It wouldn't be the biggest surprise if she were turned over, however (lacks size/scope) and it is also worth including Chocca Wocca, who is open to plenty of improvement after her win at Market Rasen on hurdling debut in February and has some useful listed bumper form on this sort of ground to call upon in this deeper race.

17:30 - Very competitive stuff but there is no getting away from Doctor Harper, who won a hot 3m Aintree handicap from 3 lb lower than this in 2014, and has been given a considerate introduction to chasing this season so far. It was hard not to be impressed by his win last time at Leicester, and though he faces a much stiffer task here, he could well be leniently treated from this sort of mark as he steps up in trip for his chasing handicap debut.

Recommended bets:

Back Salubrious in the 16:10 at Cheltenham
Back Doctor Harper in the 17:30 at Cheltenham

Placepot permutation:
13:30 - 4,8
14:10 - 1,11,12
14:50 - 1,13
15:30 - 11
16:10 - 8,16,18
16:50 - 1,8
= 72 lines

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