Sir Alex Ferguson eyes Cheltenham Festival glory this week with the former Manchester United manager holding three contenders.

Hermes Allen is among the best tips for Ladies’ Day on Day 2 at the festival.

An avid racing fan since retiring, one of his former players described how racing was not always his main passion.

“Well, we’re very excited about it [Hermes Allen], it’s a very good horse, we’ve got the Irish to beat, but we look forward to it,” Sir Alex told ITV. “It’s unbelievable, Honeysuckle, I don’t think anybody was left without a tear, the emotion of the thing, the jockey and trainer. [Arsenal or City in the title race?] I’m not interested.”

Here are Sir Alex’s three horses to watch out for this week.

Hermes Allen – Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle: 11/4

The Paul Nicholls-trained Hermes Allen has a big chance of winning Wednesday’s opener on day two. Hermes Allen has won his past three races over jumps, but this will be his biggest test yet. “He’s now won on quick ground and that ground,” said Nicholls. “He’s not slow. He had been slow at home, but he’s waking up mentally and physically. He’s got it all really, he’s got everything you want in a good horse.”

Sir Alex Ferguson talks to Frankie Dettori at York

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Hitman – Ryanair Chase: 25/1

Hitman is unlikely to beat Shishkin to glory here on his Cheltenham debut but could have a chance of placing among the first few finishers on Thursday’s race. He is another from Nicholls’ stable. “Hitman is progressing all the time physically and mentally… He is maturing,” Nicholls said recently.

Sir Alex Ferguson with his horse Forgotten Hero at Lingfield in 2012

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Protektorat – Cheltenham Gold Cup: 12/1

Protektorat finished third in last year’s Gold Cup and there is hope he can go a couple of places better this time around. Ridden by Harry Skelton, his trainer Dan Skelton said: “I hope to be able to train Gold Cup, Champion Chase, Champion Hurdle, Grand National contenders for many years to come and hopefully one or two of them are lucky enough to land them, but there is no entitlement to it all.

“I think we’re good enough. Harry (Skelton) is a good enough rider without a doubt. But the biggest thing about it is you have got to have the right horse.”

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