Cheltenham Festival 2017: Race-by-race preview and suggested bets for Friday, March 17

Credit: -/Andrew Boyers

Cheltenham Festival race-by-race preview and suggested bets for Friday, March 17:

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Betting tips

Low-risk accumulator

1.30 Charli Parcs

3.30 Djakadam

4.10 On The Fringe

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Mid-risk accumulator

2.10 Dominada

2.50 Wholestone

4.50 Coo Star Sivola

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1.30 Charli Parcs

2.10 Dominada

2.50 Wholestone

3.30 Djakadam

4.10 On The Fringe

4.50 Coo Star Sivola

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Improving Wholestone (Nap) loves Cheltenham and looks a fair price to overhaul ante-post favourite Death Duty who is set to tackle good ground for the first time in his career. It’s still early days for this six-year-old and he can take the step up to Grade 1 company in his stride.

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Race-by-race preview

Cheltenham 1.30

This looks like a fine renewal with Defi Du Seuil and Charli Parcs setting a clear standard. The former bids to defend his unbeaten record but with the yard a little quiet in recent weeks, it may be worth taking him on with Charli Parcs. The gelding looked like the winner last time out before he fell to hand the race to Master Blueyes and with his trainer and jockey in good form, he is taken to pick up 100 Fantasy Racing points.

1.Charli Parcs 2. Master Blueyes 3. Defi Du Seuil

Cheltenham 2.10

Dominada has been in fine form and looks sure to get the faster ground he relishes. The five-year-old has been ridden by a conditional jockey in three victories this season and the booking of experienced pilot Brian Hughes looks ominous. His trainer Brian Ellison’s Festival record isn’t the strongest but the gelding could easily outrun his big odds. Ivanovic Gorbatov hasn’t been at his best this season but a return to Cheltenham could bring out the best in him whilst North Hill Harvey was impressive when beating Modus here in November and looks the main danger.

1.Dominada 2.North Hill Harvey 3.Ivanovic Gorbatov

Cheltenham 2.50

The improving Wholestone loves Cheltenham having three wins and a second from four runs at the track. One of those victories was over today’s trip on similar ground to what is expected and he should take this step up in class in his stride. Death Duty is the obvious danger for a stable in flying form but he’ll need to prove he’s as good on quicker ground whilst Constantine Bay hails from another yard who have enjoyed a great Festival and he has has done little wrong in three career starts.

1.Wholestone 2.Death Duty 3. Constantine Bay

Cheltenham 3.30

A new champion will be crowned in what is an open-looking Gold Cup where none of the contenders have a rock-solid profile. The popular Cue Card seemed likely to win last year before falling three out and he could prevail today if it all comes right, but he is running out of chances. Improving stablemate Native River may be a safer bet to get some place points for Fantasy Racing players as he will be difficult to pass. More of That has a leading chance on his hurdling form at the track but without an outstanding opponent, runner up for the last two years Djakadam is taken to go one better.

1.Djakadam 2. Native River 3. More Of That

Cheltenham 4.10

Past Festival form is an invaluable guide and On The Fringe bids for a hat-trick of wins in this race, albeit with a change of jockey. He does have a top amateur deputising in the saddle and holds leading claims again despite his veteran years. The three-year younger Wonderful Charm has been in good form for Paul Nicholls and looks the main danger, whilst Black Thunder, pulled up in the Grand National last year before moving to his current yard; he’s another to benefit from a leading amateur in the saddle and could be a lively outsider to pick up a big Fantasy Racing points haul.

1.On The Fringe 2. Wonderful Charm 3. Black Thunder

Cheltenham 4.50

Coo Star Sivola looks like he’s on the sort of handicap mark that could see him earn Fantasy Racing points plus he already has a course and distance win to his name on decent ground. His jockey, Lizzie Kelly, is more experienced than plenty of her rivals and that counts a lot in a race limited to conditional jockeys. Ballyhill gets the services of the talented Jamie Bargary and he’s an interesting player on a return to fast ground and the same can be said for Tony Martin’s I Shot The Sheriff who won on fast ground as a juvenile.

1.Coo Star Sivola 2.Ballyhill 3.I Shot The Sheriff

Cheltenham 5.30

A last chance for Fantasy Racing players to make inroads on the leader board and there is a strong chance of some big prices making the frame. Solar Impulse won at 28-1 last year for Paul Nicholls and runs again for his new stable. Nicholls meanwhile has a leading chance with Dodging Bullets and in particular Le Prezien who has never finished worse than third in 11 runs. Bold Henry has run here six times (winning once over course and distance) and could outrun his price for champion jockey Richard Johnson.

1.Le Prezien 2. Dodging Bullets 3. Bold Henry