AFTER an unforgettable week in Gloucestershire, the fourth and final day of the Cheltenham Festival takes centre-stage this afternoon with a fabulous seven-race card at the track.
The highlight is of course Jump Racing’s Blue Riband event, the £625,000 Cheltenham Gold Cup which takes centre-stage at 3.30pm. The action begins at 1.30pm and concludes at 5.30pm. Make sure to check the latest betting prices
1.30pm Triumph Hurdle (2m)
Vauban was a fine winner at Leopardstown last time out when seeing off Fil Dor and they both look fascinating runners. Pied Piper did create a deep impression when scoring at Cheltenham last time out and he beat Vauban on their respective hurdling debuts. With the ground testing, Porticello and Teddy Blue are others to throw into the mix, but Vauban is well regarded by the Willie Mullins camp and he is taken to score here.
2.10pm County Hurdle (2m)
Ultra-competitive running of this event in which My Mate Mozzie could be an interesting runner at a bigger price despite his inexperience. Cormier and Surprise Package have both in the build-up to the race and are deeply respected along with course winners I Like To Move It and West Cork. However, State Man could be extremely well-handicapped off a mark of 141 and gets the vote here.
Selection: State Man
2.50pm Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle (3m)
Hillcrest has already tasted success at Cheltenham this term and he will relish the testing ground in this event. Bardenstown Lad, Grade One scorers Minella Cocooner and Ginto are all worthy opponents, along with the progressive Shantreusse who cannot be overlooked for a trainer who has won this race previously with Minella Indo. He impressed when powering to victory at Clonmel last time out and will relish the testing ground.
3.30pm Cheltenham Gold Cup (3m 2f)
Al Boum Photo and Minella Indo are former respective winners of this event and the pair both command respect. Protektorat and Royale Pagaille may be suited by testing conditions, whilst Galvin impressed when beating A Plus Tard at Leopardstown in December. However, the former was not suited by the run of the race on that occasion and he is taken to reverse the form with his previous success at Haydock in November reiterating his latent talent. Asterion Forlonge, Chantry House and King George hero Tornado Flyer are all potential candidates, but A Plus Tard is taken to reverse the form of last year’s Gold Cup with Minella Indo and come out on top here.
Selection: A Plus Tard
4.10pm Foxhunters Chase (3m 2f)
Winged Leader is a fascinating runner given he is unbeaten this term, whilst the likes of Bob And Co, Pont Aven and previous winner It Came To Pass all command respect. However, Billaway has finished second in this race twice before and the application of cheekpieces worked wonders at Naas last time out. Patrick Mullins will be the man on board and he is finally taken to win this event.
4.50pm Mares’ Chase (2m 4f)
A brilliant event in which the Mount Ida, successful in the Kim Muir at Cheltenham last term is deeply respected along with Elimay who was second in this event 12 months ago. However, Concertista has oozed class in her last two starts and there looks to be more progression to come from her.
5.30pm Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle (2m 4f)
Langer Dan has been the subject of sustained support from punters in the build-up to the race and he is respected, having blown away the cobwebs when sixth at Taunton last time out. However, Adamantly Chosen looks thoroughly unexposed for Willie Mullins, whilst Banbridge has proven progressive all year for Joseph O’Brien. However, Gordon Elliott looks to hold a strong hand in this event and last time out scorer Chemical Energy and the progressive Hollow Games can fight out the finish, with preference for the latter who has finished third in two Grade One events of late. He is taken to land the finale.
Selection: Hollow Games