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Sunday, 16 December, 2018

All you need to know for day three of the Cheltenham Festival

Un De Sceaux: looks for a second win in the Ryanair Chase
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Need to keep up to speed with third day at the festival? Here's your essential guide to all the action on St Patrick's Day at Prestbury Park

When are the big races?

The Grade 1 Ryanair Chase (2.50) and Sun Bets Stayers' Hurdle (3.30) are the highlight races on the seven-race card and both promise to be hugely competitive. 

The Willie Mullins-trained Un De Sceaux has already entered the history books this season when adding a third Clarence House Chase to his CV and bids to follow up with a second Ryanair Chase.

The Stayers' Hurdle has an unusually open look to it this year and a number of runners have crept into contention during the course of the season. Sam Spinner would be a hugely popular winner and looks to maintain his unbeaten run this season.

Who are the protagonists?

Un De Sceaux will face six rivals in his bid for a third festival win including the evergreen Cue Card, the consistent Cloudy Dream and the gallant Paul Nicholls runner Frodon. 

A field of 17 line up for the Stayers' Hurdle and Sam Spinner looks to have the ground that's seen him win emphatically at Haydock and Ascot. Representing Jedd O'Keeffe, who came back from the brink of bankruptcy and cancer, he will face the likes of Irish Champion Hurdle winner Supasundae and Yanworth.

How do I follow the action?

The first race gets under way at 1.30pm and ITV, where coverage starts at 1pm – will be showing the first five races of the day. The final two races (4.50 and 5.30) will be shown on RUK.

You can also keep up to date with the latest reports and new stories on the Racing Post website and social media sites. 

What will the ground be like?

After a dry night on Tuesday the ground has changed from soft, heavy in places to generally soft.

Forecast rain of up to 9-10mm on Wednesday evening could change conditions drastically but clerk of the course Simon Claisse is confident it will have cleared before racing gets under way.

Anything else to note from the other races?

In recent times the third day of the meeting has been dominated by the Irish contingent and the away side could get off to an excellent start in the JLT Novices' Chase (1.30). It's a race Willie Mullins has won for the past three years with Vautour, Black Hercules and Yorkhill and Invitation Only could follow in their illustrious footsteps. 

The Pertemps Final (2.10) is always an exciting affair and can often show up a star for the future, while the two other competitive handicaps – the Plate (4.10) and the Kim Muir (5.30) – ask significant questions for punters. 

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He's already entered the history books this season when adding a third Clarence House to his CV and bids to follow up with a second Ryanair Chase
E.W. Terms
Sky bet