Looking to finish the Festival with a big day, tips for every race from Sam Eaton.
13:30 JCB Triumph Hurdle
Plenty of people are trying to cast doubts over GOSHEN's (best price 11-4) chances because it’s the obvious option. It would be a lie if I didn’t have a slight concern about his jumping, however the worry is nowhere near others. A lot of his errors have come when miles ahead, and I’m sure the yard has spent plenty of time working on that.
He’s won every race with ease and hasn’t been asked for much, there’s a lot more to come from this horse. It could be one of the greats in a few years time. Goshen beat Nordano last time out, Nordano has since come out and smashed a field at Ascot. He also beat Thyme White at Sandown, who put in a decent enough display the other day. The market massively overreacted to Solo’s win, as there wasn’t much in behind. Allmankind is the obvious danger, and probably worth an each-way play in the market at 5/1 with five places available.
14:10 Randox Health County Handicap Hurdle
Bookmakers are offering six places in the Randox Health County Handicap Hurdle and as it’s pretty easy to draw a line through a number in the field, there’s some value on offer. ARAMON (best price 8-1) will hopefully be the first of the Willie Mullins’ winners today.
The seven-year-old finished a credible six in the Supreme last year, and then followed that up with a second place to Felix Desjy at Aintree. He’s been running against some quality horse this season, he finished a rather disappointing fourth to Sharjah in December on reappearance, but then finished fifth behind Honeysuckle last month. He beat Sharjah on that occasion, and wasn’t a million miles behind Darver Star and Supasundae.
The second I like is STOLEN SILVER (best price 14-1), the Nigel Twiston-Davies horse ties into the form of Edwardstone and Chantry House which served us well in the Supreme. The five-year-old finished eighth to Pic D’Orhy at Newbury, but it’s tricky to take anything from that race at all. Before that, he beat Edwardstone narrowly in heavy conditions at Haydock. He was also a narrow runner-up to Chantry House here in December.
14:50 Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle
Firstly, Andy Holding has tipped The Cashel Man which should be a solid selection and one I had on my radar coming into the Festival. Looks overpriced, and should be able to nab a place.
THYME HILL (best price 11-2) has done nothing wrong this season and looks the obvious bet in the race. He won all three outings at the backend of 2019 against some pretty decent opposition. The six-year-old finished third last season at the Festival behind the mighty Envoi Allen. Thyme Hill defeated The Cashel Man last time out, and the time before finished ahead of Champagne Well who was running well the other day before a blunder two out.
The second pick also ties in with Champagne Well, RAMSES DE TEILLEE (best price 14-1) smashed Champagne Well at Doncaster a couple of months ago. The David Pipe horse has since come out and beat Kalooki when odds-on. You can guarantee Ramses De Teillee will stay, which can’t be said for a few in this field. I’d be shocked if he finished out of the places.
15:30 Magners Cheltenham Gold Cup Chase
This is one of the hardest Gold Cups to predict in recent years, and is a much better race than twelve months ago. Al Boum Photo, Santini and Clan Des Obeaux all have outstanding claims. It’s likely to be a different race to 2019 with Native River missing the Festival.
This bet might not appeal to every punter, especially as there’s only a few races of the Festival remaining after this race. However, bookmakers are offering five places on the Gold Cup, which makes SANTINI (best price 5-1) a cracking bet.
Santini will stay all day and will also relish the soft ground. A lot of the others in this race won’t do so. Al Boum Photo is the obvious danger, but as mentioned this is a much better race than last season, and could be a very different renewal. Delta Work will need to improve on the two wins in Ireland this season. It’s very tricky to back Lostintranslation following the last outing. Looking further down the field Chriss Dream could run a big race at 25/1.
16:10 St. James's Place Foxhunter Challenge Cup Open Hunters' Chase
This market has sorted itself out in the last two weeks, BILLAWAY (best price 5-1) is slowly being cut by the bookmakers and is no longer behind Minella Rocco and Hazel Hill in the betting.
Hazel Hill gave up so much ground when jumping last time out, and only lost by a narrow margin to Minella Rocco. That race wasn’t a great advertisement for either of their chances at Cheltenham this season.
Billaway beat a good field at Naas last time out, winning 8L to Staker Wallace in the end. Staker Wallace probably needed that run, but has since won when odds-on at Nenagh. Billaway should stay at Cheltenham and will have improved further from that win at Naas.
SHANTOU FLYER (best price 8-1) is being slightly over-looked in this market and is another you can rely to stay-on up the Cheltenham hill. He would be a lot shorter with a different jockey on board, but still has every chance of placing. He finished second at Cheltenham last season, and comes into the race in solid form.
16:50 Johnny Henderson Grand Annual Challenge Cup Handicap Chase
The price has gone on GREANETEEN (best price 4-1) but he still looks the bet in the race for me. He’s been eye-catching in every single run this season and alongside Billaway was one of the ante-post picks before the week. There’s an argument he hasn’t beaten a great deal in winning, but he’s never been asked a question.
Greaneteen beat Champagne Mystery with ease last time out, Champagne Mystery didn’t jump very well earlier in the week but still looked to have a good chance of placing until being badly hampered with a few jumps left. This price could look ridiculous at the end of the day.
17:30 Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys' Handicap Hurdle
Personally I think this is the second most important race to win behind the Supreme. Last year we finished off a cracking Cheltenham with a bigger winner in the Martin Pipe.
INDEFATIGABLE (best price 40-1) could be worth a gamble at 40/1, even with the 8lb rise after winning at Warwick last month. She defeated Copper Gone West who was running a big race at massive odds before injury earlier in the week. She's finished a close second to Lady Buttons this season, and has also finished second to Dame De Compagnie in a big field at Cheltenham in December. Every chance of placing with bookmakers offering six places.
There are obvious claims for Front View at the top of the market, but in a pretty open field I’d be looking for a bit more value than 4/1. FIVE O'CLOCK (best price 8-1) could be better than the opening mark given to him. He’s done nothing wrong this season, and last time out beat Front View with relative ease at Thurles. Five O’Clock could go off a lot shorter if the Mullins yard get on a roll today.