Timeform Shortlist: Cheltenham, Thursday March 17

It's World Hurdle day on Thursday at Cheltenham
It's World Hurdle day on Thursday at Cheltenham
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Timeform's free Shortlist for Thursday comes from World Hurdle day at the Cheltenham Festival.

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1.30 JLT Novices' Chase (Golden Miller) (Grade 1) (1) 2m3f198y

Timeform Top Rated:
170p 8. OUTLANDER W. P. Mullins B. J. Cooper
168p 2. BLACK HERCULES W. P. Mullins R. Walsh
165p 4. GARDE LA VICTOIRE Philip Hobbs Richard Johnson

Analyst's Verdict:
Outlander can boast an unblemished record over fences, and his sound jumping and professionalism should stand him in very good stead. In an open race for the field size, he just about sets the standard, so is taken to see off Garde La Victoire, who also defends an unbeaten chase record, while Three Musketeers appeals as the each-way play in the race.


2.10 Pertemps Network Final (Handicap Hurdle) (Listed) (1) 2m7f213y

Timeform Top Rated:
165p 12. CUP FINAL Nicky Henderson Mark Walsh
164p 11. OUR KAEMPFER Charlie Longsdon Noel Fehily
163+ 4. IF IN DOUBT Philip Hobbs Richard Johnson

Analyst's Verdict:
The betting vibes ahead of Cup Final's 3 handicap outings spread out over 15 months suggest strongly that he is held in some regard, and having displayed a very willing attitude to land the Musselburgh qualifier last month, he looks up to defying a 7 lb rise. Missed Approach has been kept back for this having turned a Newbury handicap into a procession in November, with Mall Dini also of interest.


2.50 Ryanair Chase (Festival) (Grade 1) (1) 2½m166y

Timeform Top Rated:
191p 13. VAUTOUR W. P. Mullins R. Walsh
181 1. AL FEROF Dan Skelton Harry Skelton
176 9. ROAD TO RICHES Noel Meade B. J. Cooper

Analyst's Verdict:
A dramatic switch in races from the Gold Cup for Vautour can be vindicated and he should land a third successive Cheltenham Festival victory. Al Ferof is another former Supreme winner who looks poised for a big run and can chase Vautour home again, while Road To Riches and Valseur Lido represent a strong challenge for the sponsors.


3.30 Ryanair World Hurdle (Grade 1) (1) 2m7f213y

Timeform Top Rated:
179p 11. THISTLECRACK Colin Tizzard Tom Scudamore
174 5. COLE HARDEN Warren Greatrex Gavin Sheehan
173 12. UN TEMPS POUR TOUT David Pipe Non Runner

Analyst's Verdict:
The Colin Tizzard-trained Thistlecrack has carried all before him in this division so far this season and is expected to do so again. Last year's 1-2 Cole Harden and Saphir du Rheu could be the pair to give him most to think about, with the latter having had a breathing operation since disappointing in the Long Walk at Ascot in December (Paul Nicholls stable also in better form now).


4.10 Brown Advisory & Merriebelle Stable Plate (Handicap Chase) (Grade 3) (1) 2½m166y

Timeform Top Rated:
173 8. JOHNS SPIRIT Jonjo O'Neill Richie McLernon
172 17. BUCKERS BRIDGE Henry de Bromhead J. J. Burke
171p 15. STILLETTO Paul Nicholls Sam Twiston-Davies

Analyst's Verdict:
Johns Spirit has a fantastic record round here and you get the feeling that this race has been the plan for some time, so from a very dangerous mark, and with his stable back in form, everything points to a big run. Stilletto remains with potential and should go well, while Paul Nicholls other runner Salubrious and Buckers Bridge make up the shortlist.


4.50 Trull House Stud Mares' Novices' Hurdle (Dawn Run) (Grade 2) (1) 2m179y

Timeform Top Rated:
156p 2. LIMINI W. P. Mullins R. Walsh
155 3. SMART TALK Brian Ellison Paddy Brennan
146p 1. BLOODY MARY Nicky Henderson Barry Geraghty

Analyst's Verdict:
Smart Talk is a tough and reliable mare, and having taken her form to a new level when gaining her fourth success at Doncaster in January, is more than a sporting selection to see off Limini, who is clearly very promising, but isn't an odds-on chance on what she has achieved on the track. Of the remainder, Chocca Wocca is bred to be smart, and appeals as the type to improve with experience.


5.30 Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Challenge Cup Handicap Chase (Amateur Riders) (2) 3¼m

Timeform Top Rated:
160 5. CAUSE OF CAUSES Gordon Elliott Mr J. J. Codd
159 13. A GOOD SKIN Tom George Mr M. Legg (3)
159 9. LOST LEGEND Jonjo O'Neill Mr Steven Clements

Analyst's Verdict:
Last year's National Hunt Chase victor Cause of Causes was runner-up in this contest in 2014 and has sound prospects of exploiting a very workable mark this time round. He gets the nod over the unexposed Doctor Harper and Silvergrove, who has looked an entirely different proposition for the switch to Ben Pauling. The Giant Bolster, The Job Is Right and Lost Legend make up the shortlist.


5.30 Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Challenge Cup Handicap Chase (Amateur Riders) (2) 3¼m

Timeform Top Rated:
160 5. CAUSE OF CAUSES Gordon Elliott Mr J. J. Codd
159 13. A GOOD SKIN Tom George Mr M. Legg (3)
159 9. LOST LEGEND Jonjo O'Neill Mr Steven Clements

Analyst's Verdict:
Last year's National Hunt Chase victor Cause of Causes was runner-up in this contest in 2014 and has sound prospects of exploiting a very workable mark this time round. He gets the nod over the unexposed Doctor Harper and Silvergrove, who has looked an entirely different proposition for the switch to Ben Pauling. The Giant Bolster, The Job Is Right and Lost Legend make up the shortlist.


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