Brian Healy looks over Friday’s UK and Irish horse racing action and gives his Friday best bets and tips for every race going to post, including day four of the Cheltenham Festival.
We enter the fourth and final day of the Cheltenham Festival on Friday where the Gold Cup is the feature race of the day at Prestbury Park. The eyes of the nation will be on the big race of the day to see if defending champion can become the first back-to-back winner of the Blue Riband since Best Mate.
There is also jumps racing going to post at Fakenham in the afternoon; while on the all-weather there is a fixture at Lingfield on polytrack.
Meanwhile, the evening all-weather racing action takes in a card on the Southwell fibresand, as well as from Dundalk in Ireland who race on polytrack.
Cheltenham (jumps) – 1.30 – 5.30pm (8 races)
Lingfield (flat, aw) – 1.45 – 5.00pm (6 races)
Fakenham (jumps) – 1.55 – 5.10pm (6 races)
Dundalk (flat, aw) – 5.15 – 8.45pm (8 races)
Southwell (flat, aw) – 6.00 – 8.30pm (6 races)
Brian Healy looks over the day’s racing action and gives his Friday best bets and tips for every race taking place.
FRIDAY BEST BETS AND TIPS AT A GLANCE
2.20 Lingfield – OLD HARBOUR (7/2, Unibet)
2.35 Fakehnam – ECHIEQUIER (5/2, Unibet)
2.50 Cheltenham – FURY ROAD (15/2, Bet365)
3.30 Cheltenham – DELTA WORK (5/1, Bet365)
3.40 Lingfield – LUA DE MEL (15/8, Unibet)
3.55 Fakenham – JOSE ABBING (9/2, Bet365)
5.45 Dundalk – NARYNKOL (5/4, Bet365)
6.30 Southwell – STREET LIFE (9/4, Bet365)
6.45 Dundalk – ROCK ON AIDAN (15/8, Bet365)
7.30 Southwell – PRODUCTIVE (13/8, Unibet)
CHELTENHAM HORSE RACING TIPS
Fairyhouse bumper winner FURY ROAD has proven hugely progressive over hurdles, winning his first three starts over timber which includes a Limerick Grade Two contest over Christmas where the Stowaway gelding beat Well Set Up by one length.
Gordon Elliott’s charge lost no caste in defeat next time at Leopardstown when finishing fourth behind Latest Exhibition in a Grade One contest where the drop in trip and steady pace were probably against him.
This contest should present more of a stamina test with a stronger pace likely and the step up in trip and stiff finish will likely suit him better. He has the potential for better still over this longer trip and with the services of Davy Russell in the plate it wouldn’t be a huge surprise to see him going close for his top connections.
Defending champion Al Boum Photo can go well again, but it could be worth focussing on last season’s RSA Chase form where DELTA WORK can gain revenge for his defeat in that race by coming out on top here.
Having travelled well in that race he was just outstayed up the hill and he suffered some slight late interference after the last before keeping on well up the hill without quite matching the front two. He was only a six-year old though – both the winner and runner-up were seven – and he’s strengthened up since so could prove a different proposition now.
Gordon Elliott’s Network gelding has gone from strength to strength this term following a lacklustre reappearance in the Ladbrokes Champion Chase behind Road To Respect. He might have needed that run however and he didn’t jump particularly well on that occasion.
He’s won both starts since however, landing both the Savills Chase and the Irish Gold Cup where he stayed on strongly each time to record narrow victories over Monalee and Kemboy respectively. He could have more to offer and if the longer trip doesn’t catch him out then there’s every chance he can collect a third straight Grade One here.
1.30 – Goshen
2.10 – Oakley (EW)
2.50 – Fury Road
3.30 – Delta Work
4.10 – Minella Rocco
4.50 – Paloma Blue
5.30 – Pileon
LINGFIELD HORSE RACING TIPS
OLD HARBOUR has shaped well on both his starts to date, possibly just finding fibresand too deep last time when finishing six lengths’ runner-up behind easy winner Godfather last month.
Mark Johnston’s Dawn Approach colt had shown promise on the Chelmsford polytrack on debut where he finished third and a return to this faster surface could see him in a better light as he steps up in trip.
The form of his last run has taken a couple of knocks, but he could have more to offer now his stamina is drawn out by the longer trip and he could make his presence felt here to get off the mark at the third attempt.
LUA DE MEL bumped into one last time, losing her unbeaten record when readily brushed aside by Sir Oliver at Kempton last month.
George Boughey’s filly had won both previous starts, scoring readily at Newcastle the time before and the Casamento filly can quickly bounce back here.
The winner of that last contest looked a useful prospect, making all to score readily; but the selection probably faces nothing of that potential here and a mark of 77 on her handicap debut looks workable so she could be capable of better still where she can get back on the winning trail.
1.45 – Roca Magic
2.20 – Old Harbour
3.00 – Unforgiving Minute
3.40 – Lua De Mel
4.20 – Omnivega
5.00 – Pledge Of Peace
FAKENHAM HORSE RACING TIPS
ECHIEQUIER shaped better than the bare result on his chase debut at Kempton last month and with that experience under his belt the Network gelding can improve to get of the mark in this sphere at the second attempt.
Nigel Twiston-Davies’ charge was a useful sort over fences in France for Francois Nicolle prior to joining this yard, and he showed some useful hurdles form in scoring at Hexham on his first start for this yard before behind quite highly tried which includes in the Lanzarote Hurdle where he finished third.
Fourth on his first start over fences for his current yard, he went off quite hard that day and having made a few mistakes he weakened out of contention. This is an easier contest however and the fences aren’t quite so severe so he could do better tackling this longer trip and no surprise to see him open his account now.
JOSE ABBING posted her best run to date over hurdles when finishing eight lengths’ third behind Eddiemaurice at Newbury back in January and given a break since that effort she might be able to do better here.
A bumper winner for Peter Fahey prior to joining Christian Williams, the Fame And Glory mare was just unable to go through with her effort latest having travelled well into the race. The winner has run well in defeat since in a better race and this contest doesn’t look like it’ll take a lot of winning.
If he can build on that latest performance then he could go close under Adam Wedge who’ll be bouyed by his recent Grade One win at the Cheltenham Festival.
1.55 – Swaffham Bulbeck
2.35 – Echiquier
3.15 – Eros
3.55 – Jose Abbing
4.35 – Homer
5.10 – Ozzy Thomas
DUNDALK HORSE RACING TIPS
NARYNKOL doesn’t have the best of the draw, but Denis Hogan’s charge has been running well in defeat and might be able to overcome that negative here.
The Declaration Of War gelding struck here in February when fitted with blinkers for the first time and he’s made the frame in both starts since, latterly finishing fourth behind Cautious Approach where he again wasn’t helped by his wide berth.
Beaten less than three lengths having had to pick his way through the field he can race from the same mark here and although the lesser trip is a slight concern he ought to remain competitive with blinkers back on.
ROCK ON AIDAN won here two starts ago, beating Newgirlintown by almost four lengths and the Fastnet Rock gelding wasn’t disgraced on his subsequent outing over course and distance, finishing fourth.
Adrian McGuinness’ charge was beaten less than a length on that latest occasion behind Sheberghan; but he finished ahead of a subsequent winner and he can race from the same mark.
This doesn’t look as strong a race, and although drawn towards the outside here he could nevertheless give a good account.
5.15 – Zippity
5.45 – Narynkol
6.15 – Moving Forward
6.45 – Rock On Aidan
7.15 – Dark Vader
7.45 – Lapilli
8.15 – Passing Trade
8.45 – Dragon Of Malta
SOUTHWELL HORSE RACING TIPS
STREET LIFE has found some improvement since being fitted with a visor, twice making the frame this term before opening his win account at Newcastle latest with a defeat of Superiority.
Richard Fahey’s charge ran out a near-three lengths’ winner that day, scoring a shade readily and he’s well in at the weights here racing from just 2lbs higher although he’s due to go up a further 4lbs in future runs.
The Hot Streak gelding tackles fibresand now, but if he can cope with the slower surface then every chance he can make his presence felt and no surprise if he follows up.
PRODUCTIVE fetched a big price as a yearling and Karl Burke’s charge shaped well on his debut at Newcastle last month, finishing third to Ventura Bounty but looking clearly in need of the experience.
The Dark Angel colt is well-related and there ought to be plenty of improvement forthcoming from him in the wake of that effort where he can do better this time around.
He’s since seen the form of that debut franked by the runner-up winning next time out and if he can handle this surface then he could progress to get off the mark at the second attempt.
6.00 – Puchita
6.30 – Street Life
7.00 – Red Stripes
7.30 – Productive
8.00 – Kentuckyconnection
8.30 – Accessor