Day Three

St. Patrick's Thursday

St Patrick's Thursday

The third day of the Cheltenham Festival is renowned for its vibrant celebration of St Patrick's Day, infusing the racing with an unrivalled atmosphere. Day three has seven top-class races, kicking off with the Novices’ Chase and rounding off with the Challenge Cup Handicap Chase.

The main draw on day three is feature race the Ryanair Chase/The Festival Trophy, an exhilarating contest that draws top-tier competitors to complete the two-mile, four-and-a-half furlong course. This is quickly followed by the Stayers' Hurdle, run over three miles to provide the ultimate test of stamina and determination for hurdlers.

The significance of day three extends beyond thrilling competition; it embodies the fusion of sporting excellence with cultural celebration. As racegoers come together to revel in the spirit of St Patrick's Day, the atmosphere reaches unparalleled heights, creating unforgettable moments against the backdrop of world-class racing action.

Here is the full schedule for Day 3 of the Cheltenham Festival:

  • 13:30 – Novices’ Chase (Grade 1)
  • 14:10 – Handicap Hurdle (Premier Handicap)
  • 14:50 – Ryanair Chase/Festival Trophy (Grade 1)
  • 15:30 – Stayers’ Hurdle (Grade 1)
  • 16:10 – The Festival Plate Handicap Chase (Premier Handicap)
  • 16:50 – Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle (Grade 2)
  • 17:30 – Challenge Cup Handicap Chase

Cheltenham Blog & Expert Betting Tips

History of St Patrick's Thursday

St Patrick's Thursday at the Cheltenham Festival is a tradition that blends world-class racing with lively celebrations, drawing racing enthusiasts and revellers alike from far and wide to create a real buzz around the racecourse.

The origins of St Patrick's Thursday can be traced back to the rich tapestry of Irish culture and its deep-rooted affinity for both the sport of horse racing and festivity. Over the years, day three of the Cheltenham Festival has evolved into a showcase of Irish heritage, including themed events, music and, of course, top-quality racing action.

Since its inception, Cheltenham St Patrick's Thursday has grown in popularity, becoming a highlight of the week. It offers a unique opportunity for attendees to immerse themselves in the atmosphere while witnessing thrilling contests on the course.

The day's races, including the prestigious Ryanair Chase and the Stayers' Hurdle, only add to the excitement and provide a platform for both seasoned champions and emerging talents to shine on a huge stage that showcases the lasting bond between Ireland and the world of horse racing.

What is the big race of the day?

The standout race of the day is the Grade 1 Ryanair Chase, taking place at 14:50. The race is the championship event for chasers whose forte lies in between the Champion Chase and the formidable Gold Cup.

Created in 2005 as a result of extending the Cheltenham Festival across four days, it was first won by Ruby Walsh and Thisthatandtother. Trainer Willie Mullins has dominated the race in recent years although the Henry de Bromhead-trained Envoi Allen, with Rachael Blackmore on board, ended his run of three consecutive wins in 2023.

Also taking place on day three is the Grade 1 Stayers’ Hurdle, providing more feature race action for the racegoers. For this and more St Patrick’s Thursday betting odds, see our markets at BetMGM.

Race winners over the years

St Patrick’s Day Thursday has provided some memorable action over the years, and the Ryanair Chase in particular has helped make some legendary names.

Jockey Ruby Walsh leads the way with victories in this one having been triumphant four times, most recently on favourite Un De Sceaux in 2017. Walsh also won twice aboard Albertas Run – a horse that shares, with Allaho, the honour of being the only runner to win it more than once.

The leading trainer is the legendary Willie Mullins, who has five victories with all of them coming in the last seven years. The 2024 festival promises to be another exciting year for this well-respected race as the top jockeys and trainers once again battle for glory.

Here are the last 10 Ryanair Chase winners and their jockeys:

  • 2023 – Envoi Allen (Rachael Blackmore)
  • 2022 – Allaho (Paul Townend)
  • 2021 – Allaho (Rachael Blackmore)
  • 2020 – Min (Paul Townend)
  • 2019 – Frodon (Bryony Frost)
  • 2018 – Balko Des Flos (Davy Russell)
  • 2017 – Un de Sceaux (Ruby Walsh)
  • 2016 – Vautour (Ruby Walsh)
  • 2015 – Uxizandre (AP McCoy)
  • 2014 – Dynaste (Tom Scudamore)

St Patrick’s Thursday Betting Tips

Check out our St Patrick’s Thursday betting tips for more information on the races taking place, the runners, the favourites and who we are backing to win the biggest races on day three of the 2024 Cheltenham Festival.

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