Cheltenham Festival Day 4 2018 Preview Part I
Cheltenham Festival Day 4 2018 sees for many the pinnacle of the National Hunt season in the Cheltenham Gold Cup at 3.30pm.
Racing starts at 1.30pm with the Triumph Hurdle. Currently 9 runners go to post for this hotly anticipated contest.
APPLE’S SHAKIRA will be hoping to do better than her half sister Apple’s Jade who was runner up in this contest in 2016. This 4yo filly has ran 3 times already at Cheltenham and has returned a winner on every occasion. All 3 wins have also come on soft going so the ground should hold no fears. Added to that her trainer Nicky Henderson is the most successful trainer in the history of this event with 6 wins in total. 3 of those have come in the last 9 years.
One of his main rivals is likely to be the Alan King trained REDICEAN. He too is protecting an undefeated record over hurdles with 3 wins from 3 runs. However all of those have come at Kempton Park. Willie Mullins has 4 entries in this race. His main hope appears to be the filly STORMY ISLAND. She has only ran once for him and that was a bloodless victory. I find it interesting that he has thrown her straight in here.
The County Handicap Hurdle (previously the Vincent O’Brien) goes off at 2.10pm. 27 runners currently got to post and Willie Mullins and Paul Nicholls have dominated this in recent history with 4 wins each from the last 13 runnings. Mullins heads the market again with BLEU ET ROUGE. His only appearance at the Festival in 2016 in the Albert Bartlett resulted in a fall. However his last run was hugely impressive going down by 4.5l in the Betfair Hurdle to Kalashnikov who ran well earlier in the week. Mullins also runs SANDSEND who is appearing in the UK for the first time. He impressed when just prevailing by a neck to win a Grade 3 at Naas in January.
Paul Nicholls main hope appears to be BRAHMS DE CLERMONT. He started the season well but the form appears to have tapered off. This is also a big step up in class.
Cheltenham Festival Day 4 2018 Preview Part II
2.50pm sees the penultimate Grade 1 of the Cheltenham Festival 2018. The Albert Bartlett has thrown up some notable winners in the past including Gold Cup winner Bob’s Worth. Henry De Bromhead has CHRIS’S DREAM running. This horse won a Grade 3 last time out by an incredible 64l! He will certainly relish the cut in the ground and is at the forefront of my thought for this race.
Nicky Henderson again has a horse near the top of the market. SANTINI is 2 from 2 over hurdles including a success at Cheltenham in heavy going last time out in January. He also beat stablemate CHEF DES OBEAUX by 4.5l on his debut over hurdles in December and this still remains that horse’s only defeat. Since then he has racked up 3 consecutive victories including a Grade 2 trial by 15l.
The race should be contested between those three I think but others of note may be MR WHIPPED. Currently priced around 20/1 he may get involved, certainly for some place money.
3.30pm sees us arrive at the main event of the day. CHELTENHAM GOLD CUP time has arrived! For me this is not the strongest of fields. However what we do have is no stand out horse.
MIGHT BITE has headed the market for many months but now find himself under pressure to go off as favourite. This was down to an unimpressive King George victory I feel. He laboured his way to that win and I think that punters are recalling his heroic victory in the RSA last year and thinking can he pull that off in soft/heavy and over an extra 2f? I think not. Nicky Henderson will be aiming to prove me wrong and pull off a Championship treble.
NATIVE RIVER comes here full of confidence after winning the Denman Chase at Newbury. In 2017 he was 3rd in this race having been caught on the line for 2nd. This year the whole season has been laid out for this race. I think this horse will take all the beating. Currently available around 9/2 I anticipate he will go off favourite come 3.30pm.
Jessica Harrington won this race last year with Sizing John. This year she has OUR DUKE as her main contender. He powered home at Gowran Park to defeat Presenting Percy. This form was franked yesterday by that horse cruising to victory by 7l in the RSA. He is another horse who will love the going and Harrington is aiming to be the first trainer since Paul Nicholls in 2009 to train consecutive Gold Cup winners with different horses (Denman and Kauto Star).
Other horses to note are DEFINITLY RED & KILLUTAGH VIC. Incredibly Willie Mullins has never won a Cheltenham Gold Cup. Many pundits are saying this horse Killutagh Vic gives him his best chance. He seemed about to cruise to victory in the Irish Gold Cup when taking a final fence fall. The question I have is what has that done to the horses confidence? Definitly Red entered the equation by winning the Cotswold Chase by 8l in heavy going. If he can reproduce that form then he is certainly in the mix but these are a better standard of horse he now encounters I think.
Cheltenham Festival Day 4 2018 Preview Part III
The Foxhunters is off at 4.10pm. 24 amateur jockeys attempt to get over 22 obstacles to claim the “Amateur Gold Cup”.
Jamie Codd is an experienced amateur around here and is aboard BURNING AMBITION. His 2 runs this season have seen him come 1st and 2nd and prepared him ideally for this gruelling trip. His main rivals are likely to be FOXROCK with Katie Walsh on board and WONDERFUL CHARM with Gold Cup winning jockey Sam Waley-Cohen on top. I like the look of CAID DU BERLAIS. Not seen on a racecourse since March 2017 bar P2P he is another that has been laid out for this race and at 14/1 I think represents great EW value for a classy horse.
Cheltenham Festival Day 4 Tip of the Day
My tip of the day is in the Cheltenham Gold Cup at 3.30pm and is NATIVE RIVER TO WIN
Generally available at most bookmakers at 9/2