Patrick Weaver previews the third day of the Cheltenham Festival and recommends a win lay of Paisley Park in the Stayers' Hurdle...
"The Irish squad includes the first two in last year's Pertemps Network Final, Sire Du Berlais and The Storyteller. Add in Flooring Porter and Fury Road and there's a good chance Paisley Park won't win."
The Paddy Power Stayers' Hurdle at 15:05 has been a relatively good race for favourites over the last decade.
Four have won, but you would not have made a profit backing all 10 as the odds of the winners were 10/11, 5/6, Evens and 11/8.
Park may not hit the mark after last year's flop
Paisley Park won it when the jolly in 2019 but he could only finish in midfield last March, having lost two shoes in the course of the race. Emma Lavelle's runner is favourite for the third year running but I am happy to take him on.
Maybe I should forgive him last year's loss, given there was a valid excuse, but the first and third, Lisnagar Oscar and Bacardys line up again. The former is very much in form, having run a close second to Third Wind at Haydock, with Main Fact 13 lengths back in fourth.
The Irish squad includes the first two home in last year's Pertemps Network Final, Sire Du Berlais and The Storyteller. That race was run in three seconds faster time than the Stayers, so it was no ordinary handicap. I would expect both to be involved in the finish.
Add in Flooring Porter and Fury Road and there is a good chance that Paisley Park won't win The Paddy Power Stayers' Hurdle a second time.
King's Queen will do well to be placed
Seven of the 15 that contest the Parnell Properties Mares' Novices' Hurdle at 16:15 were in single figures with Betfair at the start of the Festival. It is a seriously open race for a non-handicap.
The two with the highest official ratings are Royal Kahala and Roseys Hollow. The pair drew clear of Gauloise and Mighty Blue after the last in a Grade 3 at Fairyhouse last month and Royal Kahala is likely to start favourite as she is 9lb better off with the winner, who is penalised for that success.
Gauloise had comfortably beaten Mighty Blue the time before, so unsurprisingly is third in the betting.
Willie Mullins runs Hook Up, Glens Of Antrim and Pont Aval in addition to Gauloise, leaving Alan King's The Glancing King facing a stiff task to prevent an Irish one-two-three.
It seems unlikely that she can stop an Irish whitewash as she was beaten all ends up at Exeter last time by Wilde About Oscar, who was not thought good enough for Cheltenham and runs at Uttoxeter on Saturday instead.
Prior to her recent defeat, The Glancing Queen had made a winning start over hurdles at Warwick, was the last to finish in a Grade 1 at Newbury and then won at Bangor.
A winner of bumpers at Cheltenham and Aintree, she is the sort of mare you would love to own but she needs improve to repel the Irish raiders.
Lay Deise Aba in the getting-out stakes
Deise Aba is an interesting one in the last, the Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Challenge Cup Handicap Chase at 16:50. With Philip Hobbs since the summer of 2018, he has won four of his 11 starts but has not been placed in the other seven.
A former point-to-pointer, Deise Aba won the same race at Sandown last year as he won last month, and is following the same path. He went off 8/1 when fifth 12 months ago; this time he is forecast to go off a couple of points less.
Hobbs also trains JP McManus' only runner in the race, Musical Slave. Tom O'Brien's mount looks as if he has been trained with this race as his season's objective. He could well start single figures, having been 20/1 in places ante-post.
Three of the four that finished in front of Deise Aba last March go again - the winner, Milan Native, having run on Tuesday.
Kilfilum Cross, Bob Mahler and Plan Of Attack, which filled the minor placings, all run off lower marks than Deise Aba, who runs off the same rating.
From a punting point of view, it is hard to justify Deise Aba starting shorter than last year. At 2-1 for a place, he looks worth taking on.
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