Harry Out To Show Bookies Exactly What He Means
Punters are certainly licking their wounds at the halfway stage of this year's Cheltenham Festival as bookmakers again had the better of things on the second day, Ladies Day, of the 2017 Festival.
A number of big-priced winners, coupled with the shock defeat of 2/9 Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase favourite Douvan , gave the bookies the upper hand on a day where RSA Novices' Chase winner Might Bite (7/2) was the only favourite to oblige.
However, punters are unperturbed and have supported a number of horses for the third day of The Festival, St Patrick's Day.
In the feature race, the Sun Bets Stayers' Hurdle (3.30pm), the Harry Fry-trained Unowhatimeanharry is a warm order for the three-mile hurdling showpiece and is available at odds of 6/4 with the race sponsors. The firm have also reported each way support for the 2014 Stan James Champion Hurdle winner Jezki , who is 7/1 from 8/1.
The Irish will hope lady luck is on their side in the first race, the Grade One JLT Novices' Chase (1.30pm), as Willie Mullins remarkably attempts to gain his first winner of the week at Prestbury Park with Andrea & Graham Wylie's Yorkhill. Winner of the Neptune Investment Management Novices' Hurdle at last year's Festival, the seven-year-old son of Presenting is unbeaten in two starts over fences and is the 6/4 favourite with Sun Bets. The same firm have also reported money for Nigel Twiston-Davies' Flying Angel who is now 12/1 from 16/1.
In the ultra-competitive Pertemps Network Final Handicap Hurdle (2.10pm), Tom George's Rocklander is attracting each way support and is into 16/1 from 20/1 with Sun Bets.
Despite concerns over the ground, last year's Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase second Un De Sceaux , trained by Mullins, is a popular favourite in the Grade One Ryanair Chase (2.50pm). The nine-year-old son of Denham Red has constricted in price with Sun Bets into 9/4 from 11/4.
Robin Dickin's Thomas Crapper was a facile winner at Newbury last time and is the one for money in the Brown Advisory & Merriebelle Stable Plate (4.10pm). The Tamure gelding is 8/1 from 9/1 with Sun Bets.
Neil Mulholland is also targeting a first victory of the week at Prestbury Park. He saddles Southfield Royale in the concluding race of the day, the Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Challenge Cup Amateur Riders' Handicap (5.30pm). Sun Bets have made the imposing seven-year-old son of Presenting 8/1 from 9/1.
Reflecting on yesterday's action, in particular Douvan's shock defeat, Sun Bets representative Tim Reynolds said: "You don't want to see a fantastic animal like Douvan get beat but obviously he didn't run his race and it was good for the bookmakers to see him beaten. In the first race, Neon Wolf was heavily backed and was just run out of it by Willoughby Court so no doubt, they were two really good results."
Looking ahead to today's racing, Reynolds commented: "Unowhatimeanharry is a very strong favourite and to be fair, he has been strong in the market for this race all season. Harry Fry has done an incredible job with him and of course, he won the Albert Bartlett last year so there is no reason he can't win the Sun Bets Stayers' Hurdle this year as he sets the standard in this race.
"Yorkhill is also pretty solid in the market but with Willie Mullins yet to have a winner at The Festival at the halfway stage, there will be plenty of people who will want to take him on, especially as there has been question marks over his jumping."
1.30pm JLT Novices' Chase - 12/1 from 16/1 - Flying Angel (Sun Bets)
2.10pm Pertemps Network Final Handicap Hurdle - 16/1 from 20/1 - Rocklander (Sun Bets)
2.50pm Ryanair Chase - 9/4 from 11/4 - Un De Sceaux (Sun Bets)
3.30pm Sun Bets Stayers' Hurdle - 7/1 from 8/1 - Jezki (Sun Bets)
4.10pm Brown Advisory & Merriebelle Stable Plate - 8/1 from 9/1 - Thomas Crapper (Sun Bets)
5.30 Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Challenge Cup Amateur Riders' Handicap - 8/1 from 9/1 - Southfield Royale (Sun Bets).
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