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Richard Hoiles: My 4 best bets for day four at Cheltenham

14 Mar | BY Richard Hoiles | MIN READ TIME |
Richard Hoiles: My 4 best bets for day four at Cheltenham

The racing broadcaster offers his selections for Friday at Cheltenham, including his view of Galopin Des Champs' chances in the Gold Cup.

On to the last day of the Festival, with a strong fight back from the home contingent led by Dan Skelton but with very welcome wins for Ben Pauling and especially Jeremy Scott, a massively underrated trainer who spiked one of the big Irish guns when Golden Ace beat Brighterdaysahead in the Dawn Run.

13:30 TRIUMPH HURDLE

What looked a straightforward selection in Sir Gino has now obviously changed with his absence. Connections have an interesting backup in Salvator Mundi / , who chased home Sir Gino in France but has not been seen since. Clearly they are mindful of keeping his novice status if he can’t break his maiden in Grade 1.

On balance I now prefer Nurburgring / at the prices. The stable have had a winner this week in the juvenile ranks and he seems a tough sort based on his runs in Ireland, and was highly rated on the Flat where he also won on heavy ground.

The Irish juveniles that ran in the traditionally strong Spring Juvenile at Leopardstown all finished in a bit of a heap, and with the Henderson conundrum the race has become trickier the longer the week has gone on.

14:10 COUNTY HANDICAP HURDLE

The week would not be complete without going for at least one wild selection, so PETIT TONERRE / gets the vote at a big price. It looked as if he was being prepared for a tilt at either the Grand Annual or the Plate over fences but despite more match practice he never got any slicker. He was a strong-finishing seventh off a higher mark last season, has won on heavy and has a visor fitted to sharpen him up. He is part of a multi-McManus challenge with So Scottish and Risk Belle also having reasonable claims.

There are clearly a fair few with chances, including the Skelton pair L’Eau Du Sud who ran second in the Betfair Hurdle and Faivoir, last year’s winner who backs up quickly from the Imperial Cup.

14:50 ALBERT BARTLETT NOVICES’ HURDLE

The hardest of the novice hurdles because it will turn into a test of stamina few will have encountered before. Ballyburn’s presence in the Gallaghers forced a few who might not last home like Captain Teague and Gidleigh Park into the longer race, but in a race that again has few big-priced winners in its back catalogue then JOHNNYWHO / has shaped like a real stayer – no surprise given his dam won over 4m and loved deep ground.

15:30 GOLD CUP

It would be fitting to have a top-class winner in the Gold Cup’s centenary year and reigning champion Galopin De Champs / certainly comes here as a worthy favourite after his last two victories over Fastorslow. Given the landmark week Willie Mullins has had, it would certainly be an appropriate way to cap off the Festival. He does look short enough though in a race which could be gruelling.

If a short price doesn’t float your boat in what is, after all, the toughest race of the year, then dual Festival winner Corach Rambler / – with stamina assured – could run on into a place before a repeat National bid.

16:10 FOXHUNTERS CHALLENGE CUP

Not my exact area of expertise but there are two that very much stand out here in last year’s runner-up Its On The Line and the very promising FERNS LOCK / , whose connections resisted the temptation to run him a year ago. The pair met at Down Royal over Christmas when Its On The Line came out on top after Ferns Lock tied up on the run in. Hopefully with the freshness out of him and a commanding victory last time at Thurles he can reverse the form, as he has a good cruising speed for one in this sphere. The doubt will be seeing out the trip fully. Both are only seven and set a very high bar for some of the older and more exposed horses.

16:50 MARES’ CHASE

DINOBLUE / split El Fabiolo and Captain Guiness last time and that should be more than good enough to win this, though the price is short. She is the class act here with Limerick Lace looking best of the rest to give JP McManus a very strong hand. Allegorie De Vassy doesn’t always finish off her races strongly and may be found out by the hill, as she was 12 months ago.

17:30 MARTIN PIPE HANDICAP HURDLE

The main angle here is following Michael O’Sullivan as he is very experienced in terms of being able to ride as a conditional under the UK rules as opposed to Ireland. Willie Mullins has snapped him up to ride Quai De Bourbon and he is clearly a leading player, as is the Conor Stone-Walsh ridden What’s Up Darling. Gordon Elliott has had a largely frustrating week but winning this race always gives him particular pleasure given his old association with the Pipe yard. Both are quite well found in the market for a field of this size, though, and there are better bets on the card.

Visit Betway’s Cheltenham Festival betting page.

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Richard Hoiles

Richard Hoiles

Richard is a horse racing broadcaster and commentator who has been involved in the sport since 1992.

Richard Hoiles

Richard Hoiles

Richard is a horse racing broadcaster and commentator who has been involved in the sport since 1992.