Cheltenham Tips Day 4 Friday Cheltenham Gold Cup 2013
The final day of the week looks set to be as competitive as ever, and with Three Grade One’s on the card including the feature of the week, the Cheltenham Gold Cup, it looks set to be the biggest crowd for a long time at Prestbury Park, as the 27 races of sheer brilliance comes to an end by Josh Bradley
1.30pm JCB Triumph Hurdle
The Triumph Hurdle kicks off the final day of the 2013 Cheltenham Festival and it looks set to be a three-way battle between Our Conor from Ireland, and Rolling Stone and Far West from England. Our Conor has put in some solid performances across the Irish see for D.T Hughes, including demolishing the field in the Spring Juvenile Hurdle at Leopoardstown, and looks a worthy favourite. However the value may be with Paul Nicholls’ Far West who hasn’t put a foot wrong all season, winning all four of his races, including the JCB Triumph Hurdle Trial at Cheltenham. He always travels beautifully and is a solid jumper, attacking his hurdles with speed.
He looks set for big things, and I did think he would be a lot shorter than the 5/1 on offer following his string of brilliant performances. This looks a great bet, and will start the day in the best possible way, but he will have to be on top of his game to defeat the well thought of Rolling Stone who has also landed a JCB Triumph Hurdle Trial. He wasn’t overly flashy but got the job done and showed he had massive scope to improve, yet there is a big difference in class at the moment, between Far West and Nicky Henderson’s mount, so it’s worth taking the risk he won’t improve enough to get past Far West.
Vincent O’Brien County Handicap Hurdle
2.40pm Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle
At Fisher’s Cross gives JP McManus the chance for another winner in his famous silks, as Rebecca Curtis’ 6yo aims to land the Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle following a successful season so far. The son of Oscar seems to thrive at Cheltenham with two wins from two so far, with one of those being over course and distance.
It will take a lot to peg back Curtis’ charge, but he faces stiff opposition in the shape of the likely improver Ballycasey from the Willie Mullins’ yard. He has been successful in all three of his starts under rules, and dispatched what he has been placed with, with sumptuous ease. However he has not faced anyone with the talent of At Fisher’s Cross just yet and it looks set to be a fascinating duel. It will be difficult for any other horse to stamp their authority on the race, and the safe bet looks set to be At Fisher’s Cross, who are 3/1.
The centre-piece of a quite sensational week then takes place, with Bob’s Worth going out to prove he’s not a glorified handicapper, and land the Gold Cup. He shot to the head of the Gold Cup market following a brilliant display of all-round athleticism, when landing the Hennessy Gold Cup at Newbury. That was his sole run of the season, but one that was good enough to keep punters talking about just how good he could be. However, he still has a lot to prove when you look at the field he will be facing. Former Champion, Long Run is 13/2, which looks a tad big considering he has just reclaimed his King George crown, with a great battling success. He is now older and stronger, and with Nicky Henderson applying cheek-pieces for the first-time, he looks as though he will be there coming around the final turn about to lay down his challenge.
Paul Nicholls’ main contender to try and fill the hoof-prints of previous winners Kauto Star and Denman, is the very impressive Silviniaco Conti. The 7yo got the better of Long Run in the Betfair Chase at Haydock last November, as well as landing the Charlie Hall and Denman Chase. He looks as though he has all the major attributes that will help him scale great heights, however there have been doubts raised about to how much he will enjoy the course. He has raced at Prestbury Park once, when finishing third behind Menorah in 2010, but hasn’t been seen there since. If he handles the course, he will have a major chance, but from a betting perspective he holds too much of a risk to back confidently.
This means that the value bet has to be from across the sea, with Sir Des Champs currently at 7/2. Willie Mullins’ 7y0 is two from two at Cheltenham, and was last seen landing the spoils in the Irish Hennessey. He has always looked a Gold Cup horse in the making, and with the absence of old adversary Flemenstar, his job looks slightly easier. He attacks his fences well, is a solid jumper and knows his way around the course. These all point to the 7/2 on offer being a simply sensational bet.
4.00pm CGA Foxhunter Chase Challenge Cup
Salsify looks set to regain the Foxhunter Chase, after coming into the race in top form, after mopping up numerous Hunter Chase’s over in Ireland. He landed the race in some style last year, and the 5/2 currently on offer will be long gone by the time they line up next Friday. The forecast could well be similar, as Chapoturgeon lines up once more, and is fancied to go well for Barber. The lovable Grey landed a Newbury Hunter Chase in impressive style in January and has been put away for the Festival since. He is always consistent, and often travels into the race better than anyone. If he can sustain his challenge he definitely has enough to scare his rivals, but Salsify should be able to dig deep and just about land the spoils.
4.40pm Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle
5.15pm Johnny Henderson Grand Annual Chase (Handicap)
The finale looks set to go the way of Brian Ellison’s Viva Colonia. The Johnny Henderson Grand Annual Chase is always a tough one to call, but this year Ellison’s charge looks perfect for the race. He landed his Novice Chase in impressive fashion before going on to win the Scottish Future Champion’s Chase, turning over a fancied odds-on shot. He gets into the race off a low weight, and is a very rare runner at Cheltenham for the trainer, the current 14/1 looks enough to entice into a small each-way bet, and hopefully see off the festival in profit. He will come up against a strong Nicky Henderson challenge who always attempts to land the race in memory of his father.
Kid Cassidy looks the pick of the bunch for the same connections that took the race last year with Bellvano. Kid Cassidy went off favourite for the race last year but disappointed, finishing way down the field. He finished a respectable fifth when last seen on a racecourse, in a competitive handicap at Cheltenham last year, and is sure to have been put away especially for the race, He has a major chance if he is allowed to stay up with the pace, but 10/1 isn’t enough to tempt me when there is 14/1 on offer for Viva Colonia.