Day 4 of the 2021 Cheltenham Festival features the Cheltenham Gold Cup as the four days comes to a close. The first race on Friday 19th March is at 1.30pm and you can see all our Cheltenham Day 4 tips below, including the Triumph Hurdle.
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The opener on Gold Cup Day is the Grade 1 Triumph Hurdle for the juveniles. Tritonic was the best of this lot on the flat and he’s proven to be an exceptional juvenile this season already. He was very impressive last time out when powering clear to win the Adonis Hurdle at Kempton and he finds plenty for pressure. I feel like the new course will suit him better because his hurdling has looked a little sketchy at times.
He’s a lively contender but the one for me here is ZANAHIYR (6/4). He’s looked a real star this season winning all three of his career starts. He’s very slick at his hurdles and I think the fast pace of a Truimph will bring out even more improvement. He was exceptional on the clock when beating Boodles runner-up Saint Sam back in November at Fairyhouse and he backed that up with another decent victory in a Grade 3 contest over Christmas. Top prospect.
The County Hurdle is next up and it looks as tricky as ever. This 2m handicap hurdle is full of unexposed horses that are going to be a lot better than their handicap mark in due time. Third Time Lucki brings strong form to the table and the Skelton team know what it takes to win this. The strong pace will suit him and he has strong claims.
However, the one for me here is YOU RAISED ME UP EW (10/1). He’s looked really good to my eye when winning his last two starts on deep ground. I expect he’s going to be even better on decent ground which he will get here. He takes a keen hold in his races so the strong pace throughout a County Hurdle offers will be right up his street. The Brassil team are in fine fettle over the last couple of weeks and they can add a Cheltenham Festival winner to that fine run of form here.
The Albert Bartlett Novices Hurdle is next up before the big one. The 3m hurdle race looks as wide open as ever with Stattler heading the market for the Willie Mullins team. I’m happy to look elsewhere as although I think he’s a decent horse that’ll be even better over a fence, the price is just too skinny for me.
The one I like is TORYGRAPH (6/1). This horse looks tailor made for a race like this given what we’ve seen so far. He stepped up to 2m7f for the first time back in December when winning a maiden hurdle at Fairyhouse well enough. He then went to a Grade 3 contest at Thurles again over 2m7f where he galloped right through the line, staying on strongly to win by around 4l. The 2020 winner Monkfish won a maiden at Fairyhouse before winning the same Thurles race Torygraph won last time out which has to be a good omen for him here.
The feature of the week comes at 3:05 and it is of course the Gold Cup. It looks a great renewal as Al Boum Photo bids to emulate Best Mate and win a third Gold Cup. He’s a lay for me here though unfortunately. He was clinging on to win by a head last year and this is a much deeper race in my opinion. He wasn’t as impressive as normal on New Years Day at Thurles and I’m happy to look elsewhere. A Plus Tard looks the main danger from Ireland after relishing every yard of the 3m trip over Christmas to win the Savills Chase. He’s still unexposed over this trip and I couldn’t put anyone off him.
However, I like CHAMP (5/1) here. He won the RSA last year at Cheltenham in dramatic fashion where he stayed on like a train to beat Minello Indo and Allaho. His jumping was iffy at best last season which shows how much of an engine he must have to still win a competitive Grade 1. He went to Henrietta Knight to assist with his jumping issues and his jumping looks as well as ever on his seasonal debut over 2m at Newbury. He jumped with confidence and I think if he can get into a nice rhythm he will be bang there here. That run will have hopefully blown the freshness out of him and not running until the turn of the year and only having one run prior to the Gold Cup is certainly no bad thing. Look at recent winners Native River and Al Boum Photo who done the same. He’s a classy horse Champ and I expect a bold bid.
I’ll also have to give an each-way shout-out to SANTINI EW (12/1). I’ve been saying for months Henderson is waiting for Gold Cup to throw first time headgear on and here we are. The visor goes on. He ran his best race last season in first time cheekpieces in the 2020 renewal and he arguably should have won. He stays all day and although Champ is my main fancy, I’ll have a go on Santini too just for Andy’s reaction.
The 3:40 is what’s normally the Gold Cup for Amateurs but this year we have no amateurs so here we are. Ran over the Gold Cup course and distance the best of the hunter chases line up to strut their stuff. Billaway will prove very popular for the Mullins team and he will bid to go one better than last season.
I’m happy to stick with 2020 winner here IT CAME TO PASS EW (8/1). He powered clear to win by 10l last year in this race at a huge 66/1 and I’m sure this will have been the plan since that win. He is no 66/1 shot today but he’s still a big price in my opinion given how good he was in this race last year on similar ground. He came fourth on seasonal debut before unseating last time which is a slight concern. I’m sure the team will have done plenty of work to have him spot on for this since then and I’m happy to go with proven Cheltenham Festival form and back him to return to that 2020 effort here.
The new addition to the Cheltenham Festival is the Mares Chase, a Grade 2 contest ran over 2m4f. Bit of a strange move to put the new race on as the second to last race of the week as it’s not going to do much to promote it but here we are.
I think ELIMAY NB (11/8) is the obvious one here and she will take the world of beating. She ran a great race when second to Allaho two runs back and the pair pulled way clear that day. She then backed them up with a convincing victory last time out at Naas last month. If she runs up to that form, she’ll take an awful lot of beating in my book.
The finale on what has been a fantastic week for the sport is the Martin Pipe Handicap Hurdle ran over 2m4f where the conditional jockeys get their chance to shine.
The one I like here is GALOPIN DES CHAMPS NAP (7/1). He travelled sweetly last time out when finishing sixth in one of the best Irish Novice races we’ve seen this season. That was a Grade 1 contest and this represents a significant drop in class. I think he’ll be suited by this longer trip and I rate him my best bet of the day to finish on a high.
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After a thrilling three days at Prestbury Park, the Cheltenham Festival of 2021 will reach it’s a conclusion on Friday 19th March and we look to have one of the most open and competitive Gold Cup’s for quite a few years.
The likes of Santini, Delta Work, Kemboy, Presenting Percy and Lostintranslation are all set to line up for the big race at 3.30pm.
The day 4 races kick off with the Triumph Hurdle at 1.30 though and the last race on the card this year is the Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle.
Following the previous three days betting, there is always an advantage to either the bookies or the punters going into day 4, and the Prestbury Cup is also up for grabs as Ireland and the UK go head to head looking to train the most winners.