The last day of the Cheltenham Festival is upon us but it is certainly far from over. The feature race of the day is the Gold Cup and most of us punters will have a tickle.
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1.20 – Tritonic
A fascinating renewal with the selection one of the better horses to go hurdling off the flat in recent memory. Runner-up at Royal Ascot and rated 99, he has taken to obstacles like a duck to water. A strong stayer on the flat, a stiffer track can see him in an even better light with the drying conditions a plus for him. Zanahiyr, whilst not as good as the selection on the level, that came from less opportunities so is respected as the main danger.
1.55 – Darasso
It’s been a frustrating season for followers of this horse, not showing what he’s genuinely capable of so far. He wasn’t disgraced when midfield in the Champion Hurdle last season, dropping to a mark of 147 now in handicap company. His finishing efforts have been weak this campaign so it’s interesting that connections fit a tongue strap here, if that has the desired effect, he finds himself on a very tempting mark on the pick of his form.
2.30 – Fakiera
Not a particularly strong looking renewal of this race. Got given an odd ride at the Dublin Racing Festival last time out, never put into the contest from out the back but was noted making ground late in the day. He was a couple of lengths behind the re-opposing Stattler on that occasion but that rival was given a far better ride from the front. The extra quarter of a mile looks a clear plus for the pick who looks all about stamina and should relish the battle up the final climb.
3.05 – Al Boum Photo
It’s a tough task to win three Cheltenham Gold Cup’s but Willie Mullins has taken the same route as last year to keep this horse as fresh as possible for this task. He has won both a strongly run and a steadily run Gold Cup so he won’t mind what happens up front but it’s hard to think that with Native River and Frodon in here, it will be anything other than a proper gallop. That is inclined to test the jumping of Champ as well as the newly discovered stamina reserves of A Plus Tard, so the dual winner looks the safest option to claim another Cheltenham Gold Cup.
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3.40 Bob And Co
A smart chaser in France, including at Graded level, it’s not a surprise that he has become a top class performer in the Hunter Chase sphere. A wind op before his return win at Haydock looks to have helped him as that was by far his best performance for current connections. He has run to an RPR of 150+ in all three of his wins for Paul Nicholls, a level of form that should make him favourite over Billaway who was a beaten favourite in this race last year and is yet to run to better than 147.
4.15 – Elimay
Chasing has been the making of this mare, winning three of her first four starts. The only time that she has tasted defeat came at the hands of Allaho which is strong form for this Grade 2 level, even more so given he bolted up in the Ryanair. Deep ground won’t have been ideal for her the last twice so it’s a huge credit to her tenacity that she has run so well. The drying conditions look more in her favour than her main market danger, Colreevy, and having beaten Shattered Love over an inadequate trip for both last time out, she looks very hard to beat.
4.50 – Fire Attack
Joseph O’Brien has sent four runners to this race so far in his career, three of them punted off the boards, yielding a winner and a third. This gelding has the look of one who has been plotted up as the next in that line. He has kept warm company so far over hurdles, half a length behind Fakiera on his debut. That rival had already got a hurdles win to his credit and a bold showing in the Albert Bartlett earlier in the afternoon will be a big pointer to this horse’s chances. A strong gallop should help him settle better and a tongue strap is an interesting addition to help him get up the hill.
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