ITV Racing Tips for Saturday 25th June: Newcastle, Newmarket and the Irish Derby
A week on from Royal Ascot, we're back with the usual Saturday ITV Racing preview…
Day 4 of the 2022 Cheltenham Festival features the Cheltenham Gold Cup as the four days comes to a close. The first race on Friday 18th March is at 1.30pm and you can see all our Cheltenham Day 4 tips below, including the Triumph Hurdle which is the first race of the day.
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The first race on Gold Cup day is the Triumph Hurdle, a Grade 1 race over an extended 2m.
The one for me is VAUBAN (2/1). It’s been an unlucky week for Rich Ricci but I think he can have a winner here. Vauban was just touched off by market rival Pied Piper on debut in a race where jockey Paul Townend would have been annoyed with his ride. He was always going to improve for that effort and he done just that in winning the Grade 1 at Leopardstown in February in taken fashion. Again, he’ll improve for that effort and Willie Mullins has a glint in his eye when talking about this lad. Tough to beat.
The 2:10 is the County Handicap Hurdle, a competitive handicap ran over 2m.
I really like STATE MAN (4/1) NAP here for the same combination. It reminds me of Saint Roi, who won for the same stable back in 2020 in this race. He has a mark of 141 and I’d expect he’s a lot better than that. He would have ran in a Grade 1 this week but connections would have been shocked and over the moon when seeing the mark of 141. An unexposed sort who just needs to avoid trouble in running.
The 2:50 race is the Albert Bartlett Novices Hurdle, known too many of us at the Potato Race. It’s another Grade 1, this time over 3m.
I think the English can win this with HILLCREST (7/2). The big imposing sort has been one of the most impressive novice hurdlers this season. He won here on New Years Day over 2m4f in impressive fashion, jumping well and finding plenty for pressure. He stepped up to 3m last time out at Haydock and looked to be even better for that trip. It was an impressive effort on the clock and he’s getting better and better with every run. Has to go close.
The feature of the day, the feature of the week, the Cheltenham Gold Cup comes up at 3:30 and it’s a wide open renewal of the big one.
I’ve landed on GALVIN (7/2) here. Gordon Elliot hasn’t had the greatest week but it can be the perfect week if he lands the big race. Galvin continues to improve and will relish every Ged of their extreme stamina test. He’s got strong Cheltenham form and is certainly one of the least exposed horses in the race which I think is important for the Gold Cup. He beat A Plus Tard in a Grade 1 at Christmas and I can’t see that form being reversed in all honestly.
The 4:10 race is the Amateur Gold Cup, the Foxhunters Chase ran over the same course and distance.
I like BOB AND CO (13/2) here. I’m sure his run at Haydock earlier in the year would have been to blow the cobwebs away and thus has certainly been the number one target for the season. Trainer Paul Nicholls has a great record in the race and it would be great to see David Maxwell win this. He was travelling well and was unlucky when falling in this last season. Compensation may well await here.
The 4:50 from Cheltenham is the Paddy Power Mares Chase, a fairly new addition to the festival over the 2m4f trip.
I like CONCERTISTA (9/2) NB here for the Mullins team. People question his jumping but I aren’t as worried. She’ll be well suited by the new course and she’s hosed up on the hurdles course in the past and has a fine Cheltenham record in general. Mount Ida is a danger but she’ll be suited by further and Elimay hasn’t looked as good this year.
The finale of the Cheltenham Festival is the Martin Pipe Handicap Hurdle, the chance for the conditional jockeys to strut their stuff over 2m4f.
I like LANGER DAN (5/1) here. He was a fine second behind the mighty Galopin Des Champs in this race last year despite being slightly hampered. They pulled clear of the third that day and the fact Langer Dan is only 3lb higher this year-round is a blessing. I don’t think there is a Galopin Des Champs in this race so he has to be bang there surely.
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|3.30pm||Minella Indo & Toronado Flyer||5/1 & 12/1||Read|
|4.10pm||Bob and Co||8/1||Read|
Dan Skelton is an excellent target trainer and has a great record in handicap hurdles, especially this race having won it 3 times in the last 6 years and it is a horse from his stable that I like here. WEST CORK has been targeted for this race since winning The Greatwood Hurdle here at the November meeting.
Off the track for 631 days prior to winning the Greatwood, he beat Champion Hurdle hope Adiago and a host of other good horses. The form of that race is astonishing and by far the best handicap hurdle run this season. A number of horses in behind West Cork that day have won a mix of big handicaps and graded races.
The last day he had the bounce factor and blew out whilst finishing further down the field in the Betfair Exchange Trophy at Ascot in December. He has since been left for this and I’m sure his trainer will freshen him up and get him to peak for the festival. There could be 1 in here from Ireland that is a graded horse and be too good for him (the main worry would be State Man off 141) but he has lots of boxes ticked for this race and he has a huge chance.
I thought this race looked strong a few weeks ago but after going through it in more detail, I think there’s a bet to have.
With Ginto and Journey With Me looking likely to go to the Ballymore and Gerri Colombe ruled out of the race, all of the sudden the race lacks the depth I thought it had a couple of weeks ago.
HILLCREST (4/1 with Betfred) was impressive on the weekend and I’m willing to take a chance on him for this often grueling race for novices. His price has almost gone since the weekend but he has a huge chance and it was good to see him over 3m before being convinced of his staying ability.
The ground at Haydock was heavy and it would worry me slightly that he has hard a hard race only 27 days before for Albert Bartlett but his trainer Henry Daly’s comments (that he wasn’t blowing for too long and it was like he hadn’t had a race) after the race would cancel out that fear.
There are still dangers to my pick but I believe he is the one to beat. Minella Cocooner won well in the Nathaniel Lacy at the DRF and I really don’t understand why he is such a bigger price than the runner-up Minella Crooner. I understand that the latter was a little unlucky and finished off his race well but I think he has shortened far too much since and I’m not sure about his favourites price. Hollow Games has been a little disappointing and I cant see how he turns that form around with the 2 Minella’s.
HILLCREST has course form and has won on a variety of ground conditions. He has 2m4 form so shouldn’t lack for pace either. With 4 completed starts (and an unseated rider) to his name this season and being a 7YO he has a good amount of experience usually needed to win this race.
The 2022 Cheltenham Gold Cup is a wide-open race and I have to admit my selection is one I have only just nailed my colours to, but I am becoming very keen on him.
He is currently a double-figure price and with all horses ahead of him in the betting due to run, he will go off half of what he is now. Although things fell into his lap in his last race after the strong pace collapsed, I was mightily impressed with the run, he’s on the up and I even think the extra 2f will see more improvement from him.
He will go any ground and now he’s got his head in front, it can really do a horse world of good and give them that confidence to go on.
My ante-post tip for the Boodles Cheltenham Gold Cup 2022 is Tornado Flyer.
On Friday at 4.10, with Prestbury Park still on a high from Minella Indo winning back to back Gold Cups (Bonus Tip), we turn our attention to the Race that stops a nation……from wanting to have a 5th day at the Cheltenham Festival. Billaway, for the 3rd year in a row, is the favourite but I would be concerned that he has found one too good on his last 2 attempts. Winged Leader beat him easily in Thurles and I think the only reason he’s not outright favourite is because Willie has said that Billaway would come on from the run. This may also be true for David Christie’s horse who was having his first start of the season under rules.
However, another horse in the race who I believe would be half its odds bar one noticeable concern, is my selection BOB AND CO (8/1). It is easy to mock Owner/Jockey David Maxwell, who once pulled up this classy French recruit because he himself was cramping. However, the likeable Maxwell has actually had 7 winners this year for a £16.38 profit to level stakes. The horse was travelling well in last year’s race before coming down 3 out and if the Jockey can get enough electrolytes on board in the lead up to the race, I fancy him to go very close.
Selection: BOB AND CO 8/1 with William Hill.
The newest race at the Cheltenham Festival currently in only it’s second year. As with any of the mare’s races, Willie Mullins dominated last and looks to be the same again. Elimay, last year’s second has been a shadow of her former self so far this season but excuses can be given and is one to write off at your own peril. Mount Ida was last year’s impressive Kim Muir winner and looks to hold every chance but could be vulnerable to a speedier type at this trip and her jumping isn’t the straightest either. CONCERTISTA has done nothing but impress over fences, a very high-class mare over hurdles previously winning the Mares Novice at the second attempt before going on to be done on the line in the Mare’s Hurdle last year, if you ran that race again, she surely would have won.
She jumps the fences like hurdles – so low and accurate which has got some criticism from people and the fact she doesn’t leave much room for error and getting one wrong could end up in her out of the race. But she is yet to do so. Her form from her previous two chases has been franked with horses since then coming out and winning and the fact she was put into a Grade 2 first time out shows how much high regard the yard must have for her. She has more speed than a lot of her rivals and has proven staying 2 1/2miles is no problem whatsoever, always gives her running and she is one of my strongest fancies of this year’s festival.
Before we turn our attention to Cheltenham 2023 Antepost Punting there is the small matter of the “Boys Race” for Conditional Jockeys. Previous winners Don Slowly Poli, Champagne Classic, Sir Des Champs and Killutagh Vic would suggest that you are looking for a horse that will turn into a graded staying chaser. (Don’t get me started on Galopin Des Champs not going 3m).
This is further backed up by 9/10 winners being aged 5 or 6 and 8/10 having had no more than 8 hurdles starts. This last stat would count against Langer Dan who is undoubtedly well handicapped on his second in the race last year. There is also no doubt that State Man off 141 is of interest (in fact I would give him an outside squeak in a Supreme Novices Hurdle of this standard so I would have to fancy him of 141) and Richie Deegan was an eye-catching jockey booking last time out. However, he is one with multiple entries and so I will hold fire on him for now.
Gordon Elliot is always a man to look out for in this race and he could run 5 or 6. The Goffer is certainly a staying chaser in the making, although maybe not a graded one and Hollow Games will attract support if he goes here but I have been hugely disappointed by him in his last 2 starts. CHEMICAL ENERGY (8/1) is the one I have liked for this for a long time. He was a classy bumper horse and while he disappointed in the Champion Bumper last year, perhaps that just came a little early in his career. He will appreciate good ground and I think that this has been the plan all year. If Jordan Gainsford is Booked, LUMP!
Selection: Chemical Energy (8/1 with Ladbrokes)
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After a thrilling three days at Prestbury Park, the Cheltenham Festival of 2021 will reach it’s conclusion on Friday 18th March and we look to have one of the most open and competitive Gold Cup’s for quite a few years.
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.
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