CHELTENHAM DAY THREE TIPS: Alan Thomson, former racing editor of the Daily Record, reckons Rivaliste, Big Bucks, Alfie Sherrin and Barbers Shop can recoup some losses for punters at Prestbury Bark and give the bookies something to worry about
THE Paul Nicholls/Ruby Walsh winner-machine clicked into gear at Cheltenham yesterday and RIVALISTE (1.30) can get punters off to a flyer in the Jewson Handicap Chase on day three of the festival.
With Big Bucks the meeting’s banker for most racegoers in the World Hurdle, bookmakers will be fearing a Ditcheat field day and there is plenty of confidence behind stablemate Rivaliste. There was a wholesale gamble yesterday on another of their French-bred inmates, Sanctuaire, in the Fred Winter Handicap Hurdle, with Ruby sitting as still as a mounted policeman coming down to the last flight before dashing clear up the hill.
Things are unlikely to be so straightforward in the Jewson, but Nicholls has preserved Rivaliste’s handicap mark since his Gallic recruit failed by the narrowest margin to concede almost a stone to Doctor Pat at Sandown in December.
This is a race JP McManus loves to target and Jered should be in the firing line. He runs best fresh and has enjoyed a nice break since finishing third behind smart novice Uimhiraceathair at Gowran Park.
The Nicholls/Walsh axis have another winning prospect in ALFIE SHERRIN (2.05) in the Pertemps Final. The seven-year-old hasn’t many miles on the clock and won with plenty in hand at Newbury in the famous Denman colours. Last year’s winner Kayf Aramis should again put up a bold show.
In the Ryanair Chase, Nicholls saddles another favourite in Poquelin and the dogs have been barking his name all winter. He must go close but narrow preference is for the Queen’s BARBERS SHOP (2.40) and another course specialist, Tranquil Sea. Barbers Shop chased home Imperial Commander, trying to concede the winner 3lb, in the 2008 Paddy Power Gold cup over course and distance and this is his ideal trip.