Sport Cheltenham

Thursday 23 March 2017

Imperial can take Command in feature

Davy Condon

Davy Condon

After picking four winners for the second time in the Festival yesterday, I'm looking to go out with bang on the final day when there could be a new record set for the number of Irish winners at a single Festival.

And while the first two days were probably our strongest we have a couple of good chances, not least with Unaccompanied in the day's opening race, the Triumph Hurdle.

Dermot Weld's charge has won her last two outings well and she should get the ground she needs to see off the home challenge, which will most likely come from Nicky Henderson's Grandouet and Paul Nicholls' Sam Winner, which is the most likely threat looking at his course form.

In the second race, Alaivan is the best chance of an Irish win as he beat Carlito Brigante, which since won the Coral Cup last Wednesday.

Of course, Alaivan's win over him was a two-horse race, which isn't always the most reliable form, but I give him a real chance. The weight he's carrying will put some off but I think he has the class to see off Final Approach who should run well.

The Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle for me is between Bobs Worth and Willie Mullins' Gagewell Flyer. I rode Gagewell Flyer at work during the week and he stays well and jumps well and he has done very little wrong all season. The same can be said of Nick Henderson's inmate which is unbeaten over hurdles and I have a feeling he'll just nick it.

On paper, the Gold Cup looks mouth-watering. The winners of the last four years are all there. Imperial Commander took the spoils last year when all the talk was about Kauto Star and Denman. He's not too old at 10, is a course specialist and I think he can retain his crown.

Pandorama needs a bit of rain while I'm a big fan of Long Run, but he has to do it at Cheltenham and he has been a bit of a let down when not living up to his favourite's tag in his last two runs here.

Kempes could provide a bit of each-way value while Kauto Star is still a classy operator, though he might have lost a little bit of his pace.

The last three races are very open, but Baby Run is a good shout as he won this race last year and the trainer's son Willie Twiston-Davies is a jockey with a big future. Enda Bolger's On The Fringe is another with a chance.

In the penultimate race of the Festival, Sir Des Champs get the nod.

He was very impressive at Navan on his last run and I think he could prove to be more than a handicapper.

Finally front-runner Santa's Son will put it up to the field in the final race and he'll have Pigeon Island for company coming up the hill.

Condon's Call

1.30: Unaccompanied

2.05: Alaivan

2.40: Bobs Worth

3.20: Imperial Commander

4.0: Baby Run

4.40: Sir Des Champs

5.15: Santa's Son







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