Cheltenham Festival day four tips – Best bets through the card on Gold Cup day
Cheltenham Festival day four tips and best bets through the card
We enter the fourth and final day of another exhilarating Cheltenham Festival and the ‘greatest show on turf’ closes out on Friday with another top-class afternoon of horse racing action featuring a trio of Grade One contests spearheaded by the Cheltenham Gold Cup. We’ve looked through the final day racecard and pick out our Cheltenham Festival day four tips through the card.
Dominated by the famous Cheltenham Gold Cup, Friday’s fourth and final day of the 2021 Cheltenham Festival promises another afternoon of top-class horse racing action where the day’s highlight could deliver another chunk of Gold Cup history as Al Boum Photo bids to join a select group of triple-winners of the Blue Riband.
One of a trio of Grade One contests on a day that also features the Triumph Hurdle and Albert Bartlett as top level races, there’s plenty for punters to take in as they play up previous days’ profits and the pick of the Friday action will again be live on ITV Racing.
On another top class afternoon of horse racing action we’ve looked through the Friday racecard to pick out our Cheltenham Festival day four tips through the card.
CHELTENHAM FESTIVAL DAY FOUR TIPS – THROUGH THE CARD BEST BETS ON FESTIVAL FRIDAY
1:20 Cheltenham – JCB Triumph Hurdle (Grade 1) (GBB Race) Cl1 (4yo) 2m1f
There’s little to separate Quilixios and ZANAHIYR on their form through Saint Sam who did no harm to respective formlines on Tuesday and narrow preference is for Denise Foster’s charge who can maintain his perfect record at the expense of Henry de Bromhead’s rival.
The Nathaniel gelding is unbeaten in three since switching from the flat where he was a winner for Mick Halford, registering impressive successes at Ballinrobe, Fairyhouse and Leopardstown latterly where he beat Busselton by four lengths with Saint Sam back in fourth.
That runner-up has filled the same spot in successive starts including behind the selection’s main rival next time and also in Tuesday’s Boodles Handicap Hurdle and the former Gordon Elliott-trained runner can come out on top here with further improvement anticipated.
1:55 Cheltenham – McCoy Contractors County Handicap Hurdle (Grade 3) (GBB Race) Cl1 (5yo+) 2m1f
Dan Skelton has won three of the last four renewals of this competitive handicap and could strike again with THIRD TIME LUCKI who is 3-5 over hurdles and can bounce back from a slightly disappointing outing at Musselburgh latest.
Fourth in the 2020 Champion Bumper the Arcadio gelding won his first two hurdles start before finding only one too good here in soft ground in For Pleasure when contesting the Grade Two Sharp Novices’ Chase.
Having impressed at Kempton next time where he regained the winning thread he was firmly in the mix at Musselburgh when sprawling on landing over the last hurdle which arguably cost him all chance, eventually crossing the line in fourth.
Better ground here allied with the likely strong pace and stiffer track could see him bounce back and eased 1lb he looks fairly weighted so it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him turn in a big performance here.
2:30 Cheltenham – Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle (Grade 1) (Registered As The Spa Novices’ Hurdle) (GBB Race) Cl1 (4yo+) 3m
Fergal O’Brien saddles two in this competitive Grade One renewal and ALAPHILIPPE gets the vote to continue his progression.
The Morozov gelding won a point-to-point in Ireland prior to joining this yard and he’s gone on a winning spree with four successes from five starts in bumpers and over hurdle, the last of which seeing him step up to three miles with ease to run out a wide margin winner of the Prestige Novices’ Hurdle at Haydock last month.
That possibly wasn’t the strongest renewal but he couldn’t have done the job more impressively and he remains open to further improvement over timber where he’s thoroughly unexposed at the trip. He does have better ground to contend with here having only raced on softer conditions to date; but if the drying ground doesn’t prove an inconvenience then he can make his presence felt.
Paddy Brennan sides with him over the yard’s other runner which could be significant and the pair can combine to give trainer O’Brien a Festival winner.
3:05 Cheltenham – WellChild Cheltenham Gold Cup Chase (Grade 1) (GBB Race) Cl1 (5yo+) 3m2½f
Al Boum Photo is chasing a third straight Gold Cup success and will be a tough nut to crack, while Royale Pagaille could continue his rapid ascent having won his last three including a bloodless success in the Peter Marsh Chase last time.
RSA Chase winners generally have a decent recent record in this contest and 2020 race-winner CHAMP could be worth chancing to improve on an eye-catching runner-up effort latest on his reappearance in the Game Spirit Chase.
Nicky Henderson is no stranger to winning this race and the King’s Theatre gelding did well to win at the Festival twelve months ago where despite never travelling or jumping well he stormed up the hill late to collar Minella Indo and Allaho to land an unlikely win.
He’d been impressive previous to that win, denied a hat-trick when falling two out in the Dipper Novices’ Chase with the race at his mercy; but he was more assured at Newbury when last seen and despite the race being over a trip short of his best he’ll surely be sharper with that under his belt.
Drying ground will be no issue as he’s a multiple good ground winner over hurdles and a wind surgery could deliver another chunk of improvement. If his jumping comes up to snuff then it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him turn in a big effort and he could go close here.
3:40 Cheltenham – St. James’s Place Festival Challenge Cup Open Hunters’ Chase Cl2 (5yo+) 3m2½f
BOB AND CO has his own ideas about the game but there’s no denying Paul Nicholls’ charge has plenty of talent and the Dom Alco gelding can land a fourth straight win.
Amateurs can’t ride in the race this year which is a shame for owner-jockey David Maxwell, but Sean Bowen takes over and the pair combined for a smooth success at Haydock last month where he was making his return from a year off.
The previous season saw him win two of his three starts, showing his temperament by taking a fierce hold of the bridle and the rider couldn’t steer him after suffering cramps in his legs while fighting his mount for control.
It all clicked next time and an impressive win over Ballynagour was followed up by a success at Fontwell prior to wind surgery; the application of a hood following his Warwick shenanigans clearly helped and the lightly-raced ex-French performer can post a big run if on his best behaviour here for a yard that has a good record in the contest.
4:15 Cheltenham – Mrs Paddy Power Mares’ Chase (Registered As The Liberthine Mares’ Chase) (Grade 2) (GBB Race) Cl1 (5yo+) 2m4½f
The first running of this race can go the way of ELIMAY whose only defeat thus far over fences has come at the feet of Allaho on her return from a short break and the Montmartre mare can take this prize back to Ireland for Willie Mullins and JP McManus.
Smart in France she continued to progress over hurdles last term, finishing sixth in the 2019 Mares’ Hurdle before winning a brace at Punchestown and Thurles. She’s mixed chasing with hurdling to good effect since, winning twice over the larger obstacles in Graded company last campaign and getting back to winning ways following her defeat to Allaho by beating Shattered Love in a Listed contest at Naas last month.
She won readily that day, travelling and jumping well throughout and there’s likely better to come from her given she’s still relatively unexposed over fences; while she also has winning form on better ground so the conditions are unlikely to present a problem and she ought to go close in the inaugural running.
4:50 Cheltenham – Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle (GBB Race) Cl2 (4yo+ 0-145) 2m4½f
GABYNAKO boasts some very strong form in Graded company and Gavin Cromwell’s charge could be feasibly weighted off 141 making just his second start in a handicap.
The Tirwanako gelding ran out a six lengths’ victor over Envious Editor on just his third hurdles start having been narrowly denied in previous outings behind good sorts Eskylane and Fakiera respectively; he then followed up his win with a brace of solid third-place finishes in Grade Two and Grade one company, finishing third to Bob Olinger in the Lawlor Of Naas Hurdle and that form has been significantly boosted.
Not seen to best effect in the competitive Ladbrokes Hurdle at Leopardstown last month where he made a bad mistake early he could prove a good deal better than that and if the quicker ground here doesn’t catch him out he could be worth chancing to bounce back given his earlier progressive performances and it wouldn’t be a huge surprise to see him deliver a big run.