Event: Cheltenham Festival Day 4
When: March 18
With the greatest of respect to the six other fabulous races scheduled on day 4 of this season’s Cheltenham Festival (March 18), all eyes will be on the big race of the meeting, the Grade 1 Timico Cheltenham Gold Cup, in which the Colin Tizzard-trained Cue Card stands on the verge of history as he bids to become the first ever winner of jump racing’s Triple Crown – and with it a massive £1 million bonus.
Cu Card to Win the Triple Crown 11/2
When the bonus was offered at the start of this term for any horse that could win the Grade 1 Betfair Chase at Haydock in November, the Grade 1 King George VI Chase at Kempton on Boxing Day, and the Cheltenham Gold Cup, few, if any people thought such a feat was possible.
But now, after winning the first two legs of the Triple Crown, Cue Card (11/2) has a realistic chance of not only winning the coveted blue riband event of world steeplechasing, but also bagging connections a stunning bonus.
The 10-year-old has plenty going for him as he is a horse who seems to reserve his best efforts for Cheltenham. He won the Grade 1 Championship Bumper way back at the 2010 Festival, ran second to the legendary Sprinter Sacre in the 2012 Arkle Chase, and won the 2013 Grade 1 Ryanair Chase. He has bounced back this term from a breathing issue that saw him run below-par last season and connections genuinely believe he has a massive chance of winning, having no concerns about the additional two furlong of the Cheltenham Gold Cup.
It promises to be a media sensation if owner Jean Bishop’s charge can land the spoils for his very popular connections, including Colin Tizzard and regular jockey Paddy Brennan.
Cheltenham Day 4 Top Contenders
It won’t be easy though with Irish trainer horses occupying the top three spots in the current ante-post market for the great event. Last year’s runner-up Djakadam, trained by Willie Mullins, is an 11/2 shot to go one better this time round, but it is his stable companion Vautour (9/2) who could be partnered by stable jockey Ruby Walsh.
Walsh has yet to declare which one of the horses he will ride. When he does, that horse will surely come in for market support, while the other may drift.
It is another Irish-trained runner though, Don Cossack, from the yard of Gordon Elliott, who is the current 4/1 ante-post market leader. The winner of nine of his last 11 starts was very impressive at Thurles in January, having been upsides Cue Card at the second from home at Kempton in December when he fell.
Many observers believe the Irish horse was going slightly better, and the re-match between the pair has already got tongues wagging all over the racing world. id=”bettingtips”
Other interesting contenders for what promises to be a memorable race include Alan King’s Hennessy Gold Cup winner Smad Place (10/1), and another Mullins-trained runner Valseur Lido (20/1), who looked on his way to victory only to fall at the last at Leopardstown in February in the Grade 1 Irish Gold Cup.
Cheltenham Betting Tips
Race 1 – Grade 1 JCB Triumph Hurdle
The final day of the fixture begins with the Grade 1 JCB Triumph Hurdle for four-year-olds only. Ireland’s champion Flat trainer Aidan O’Brien has a rare runner at this meeting in the shape of the very useful Ivanovich Gorbatov (4/1), a winner on his hurdling bow at Leopardstown earlier this term before being beaten at odds-on last time out. There are reportedly valid excuses for that loss, but he probably doesn’t represent the best value at current odds.
Paul Nicholls has a good record in this race and his Zubayr (5/1) created a big impression on his British bow at Kempton just a few weeks ago when winning in some style. There could be any amount of improvement to come from the French-bred gelding, and if he is capable of dealing with the hustle-bustle of such a big field of runners he could prove the one they all have to beat. Alan King’s Sceau Royal (7/1), Willie Mullins’ Footpad (12/1), and at big odds John Ferguson’s Leoncavallo (33/1) are others worth a second glance.
Betfair did a special on his horses:
Race 3 – Grade 1 Albert Bartlett Novices Hurdle
For many British fans the Ben Pauling-trained Barters Hill (5/2) is one of their bankers of the meeting in the Grade 1 Albert Bartlett Novices Hurdle. A thorough stayer whose relentless galloping has seen him stay unbeaten, the uphill finish should play to the strengths of a horse who looks the type to do even better over fence in due course.
And one of the media highlights of the week will be the attempt by dual Olympic cycling gold medalist Victoria Pendleton to land the St James’s Place Foxhunters’ Chase on board Paul Nicholls’ Pacha du Polder (16/1). Pendleton has made great progress having started from scratch in riding only a few months ago, and won easily on board her Festival mount at Wincanton recently to qualify, and Nicholls had a superb season last year at Queen Mother Champion Chase.
It is asking a huge amount for one so inexperienced to win such a hot race, but her sporting endeavor has shone a welcome positive spotlight on jump racing, taking it from the back to the front pages of the international media. Last year’s winner On the Fringe (5/2), trained in Ireland by Enda Bolger, is a warm and worthy favourite to repeat the feat.
Cheltenham Festivals Daily Reviews
– Day #1
– Day #2
– Day #3