Cheltenham 2016: All your Day Four top tips from the experts and race card complete with jersey colours
It's the final day of the 2016 Cheltenham Festival and Ireland currently have 11 winners to Britain's 10. Can Ruby Walsh and co dominate the winners' enclosure once more? Here is who Ireland's racing experts are tipping today.
Zubayr can get Paul Nicholls off to a good start in the opener. Eight of the last 11 winners of this race came from the first three in the betting and the selection offers a bit of value around 9/2. He cost nearly €400,000 last year and got his British career of to a winning start at Kempton. Ivanovich Gorbatov is the big danger.
Advanced Going: Good
A big-field handicap with a number of interesting entries but the Evan Williams-trained John Constable catches the eye each-way in the early markets around 12/1. Formerly an Aidan O’Brien Flat horse, he’s still unexposed over hurdles.
Willie Mullins has a strong hand here with the likes of Long Dog and Gangster but he’s had 18 losers in this race including Boston Bob (6/5), Briar Hill (2/1) and Black Hercules (5/2). Barters Hill is preferred. He’s beaten some good horses in his seven-race career and will have no problem staying the distance.
A fascinating renewal of jump racing’s biggest contest where Don Cossack can prove he’s one of the best chasers in the business by beating Cue Card. He was unfortunate to fall in the King George and some would argue that he would have won were it not for the spill.
All eyes will be on Olympic gold medal-winning cyclist Victoria Pendleton, who deserves credit for completing the challenge of switching saddles and making it to Cheltenham. The horse, Pacha Du Polder, has the scope to win but the jockey’s inexperience is a negative so a fun each-way bet around 16/1 might be the way to go.
The Nigel Twiston-Davies trained Flying Angel won the Imperial Cup at Sandown last Saturday and comes here off a lenient mark of 138 albeit with a 5lb penalty. A progressive sort, he can run a big race here priced in the region of 16/1.
The Festival closes with a very tricky race where last year’s winner Next Sensation has claims. But he’s a little short in the betting and a chance is taken on Nicky Henderson’s Lough Kent which is expected to bounce back to form after a break. The early price of 14/1 seems generous.
1.30 Grade One JCB Triumph Hurdle 2m 1f
Ivanovich Gorbatov failed to replicate the authority of his maiden hurdle triumph in better company last time. He has an engine and this ground will suit better, but he has something to prove.
Footpad capitalised on his sub-par turn to score for a third time in four starts for connections. It would be unwise to underestimate him. Let’s Dance has been beaten by both and shouldn’t be good enough, while Zubayr is a live player, having won tidily at Kempton. The handsome Sceau Royal has won its last three and is four from seven in all. That experience will stand to him and his stable do well in this.
Verdict: As juveniles go, Sceau Royal looks a lovely prospect.
2.10 Grade Three Vincent O’Brien County Handicap Hurdle 2m 1f
Henry Higgins beat Desoto County by over four lengths in a valuable event at Leopardstown. He is 16lbs higher here so he may be up against it.
Blue Hell’s authoritative defeat of Diamond King and Henry Higgins at Fairyhouse in November reads well now. He is enjoying a new lease of life for a change of stable, and, while he is 22lbs higher, he has scope to improve.
Great Field looked the part when beating Draco on its Irish debut. There is an eight-pound turnaround between those two now. Great Field is unexposed and could yet prove superior to his mark.
Verdict Blue Hell gets the nod to confirm his smart form for Adrian Heskin.
2.50 Grade One Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle 3m
Barters Hill isn’t flashy but tends to gets the job done.
He is unbeaten in seven, is a Grade One winner and stays the trip. It’s not easy to find a fault.
Shantou Village’s form took a knock when Yanworth, which beat him here in January, got smashed by Yorkhill.
Then again, time might show there was no shame in that.
Shantou Village had previously looked the part, including when
winning a Grade Two here in December, and he will be thereabouts if he stays.
Long Dog is also trying three miles for a first time. He has won over two-five, but his two Grade One wins were over two miles.
He is tough, but this is by some way the best race that he has contested in his career.
Gangster hasn’t been seen since winning well at Fairyhouse in December. This is another step up and, while he is likeable, he could be up against it.
Bleu Et Rouge beat Tombstone in a Grade One last time and is also trying the trip for a first time.
Verdict: Shantou Village (nb) is one to keep on side now that he steps up in trip.
3.30 Grade One Timico Cheltenham Gold Cup Chase
Last year’s gallant runner-up Djakadam warrants a little extra respect after relegating Vautour to the consolation race. It’s fair to assume that he has been working the house down.
A proven mudlark, he fell here for a second time in January and has a tendency to land steeply. Winning this on the back of a fall is a huge ask, but he had looked in mean shape when winning at Punchestown in December.
His stablemate Don Poli is a dual Festival winner. In last year’s RSA, he bounded home in memorable fashion, although it wasn’t a vintage edition.
His lazy running style makes him hard to assess and he is another that would relish slower ground, but he has a habit of doing enough.
Don Cossack has endured a less charmed time here, and was again unlucky when crashing two-out in the King George when seemingly about to challenge.
At Thurles last time, he enjoyed a confidence-boosing round, though it remains a concern that he tends to run in snatches a little on big days.
His two best displays came last spring, when he destroyed the likes of Cue Card, Road To Riches and Djakadam at Aintree and Punchestown, so he clearly has the capacity to prevail.
Cue Card, second to Sprinter Sacre in an Arkle, has won a Champion Bumper and Ryanair Chase before.
He has belatedly bloomed over three miles, chinning Vautour to claim the King George.
He races more maturely now, so, should he settle and stay this extended trip, he is the horse to beat.
Carlingford Lough won his second Hennessy with the help of a little luck last time, but history tells us he isn’t up to this.
While Smad Place was well beaten in the race last year, he has been placed three times in Grade Ones at the Festival and won the old Pillar Chase in style last time, beating Sunday’s smooth winner, Many Clouds.
He is capable of an upset but might need softer ground to really excel. On His Own, O’Faolains Boy and Irish Cavalier shouldn’t be good enough, notwithstanding On His Own’s 2014 second in this and his sporadic good recent performances.
Verdict: The heart craves an Irish victory but the head says Cue Card (Nap).
4.10 St James’s Place Foxhunter Chase Challenge Cup 3m 2f
Last year’s facile winner On The Fringe didn’t run his race on his return. He was in a league of his own last term and would be again if he bounces back, which he might do for Nina Carberry.
Marito won a decent event at Down Royal but was then beaten in a point-to-point. He is a fair horse, as is Aupcharlie, which beat him in the point. Aupcharlie represents another top team.
Paint The Clouds was well held in third last year on soft ground but comes here in winning form. He needs decent going and he will get it now.
The circus surrounding Pacha Du Polder’s participation makes a mockery of the sport.
If put into the race, it will soon end in tears, and, if he isn’t, the integrity of his presence is undermined; it is an ill-advised publicity stunt.
Verdict: Trust On The Fringe to bounce back to his best.
4.50 Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle 2m 4f
Squouateur has the assistance of a top young rider. He has won three of his last four and is 13lbs higher than for his latest Fairyhouse win, when he had recent winner Total Recall well behind.
Willie Mullins likes to run a decent prospect in this, but his four here are what they are. Childrens List might be the pick of them, having run well in defeat in a good race at Leopardstown. He is nine pounds higher here.
Tully East has run nicely in good company and is potentially well treated, while Westend Star makes its handicap bow. Qualando is eight pounds higher than when winning here last year and has come into form.
Verdict: Rising star Jack Kennedy can guide Squouateur home.
5.30 Grade Three Johnny Henderson Grand Annual Chase 2m 1f
Next Sensation won last year off 143, was a close fourth off 142 in 2014 and is in off 144 this time.
He has hardly risen a gallop in deep ground this term but will surely run his race again now. Bright New Dawn could run well for Sandra Hughes with conditions to suit, while Velvet Maker has twice been placed in Grade Ones behind Douvan.
Verdict: Next Sensation has it within its remit to collect again off a fair mark.
1.30 Footpad (e/w)
2.10 Great Field
2.50 Long Dog
4.10 On The Fringe (Nap)
4.50 Childrens List
5.30 Rock The World
1.30 IVANOVICH GORBATOV; 2 Zubayr; 3 Footpad
2.10 REAT FIELD; 2 Blue Hell; 3 Starchitect
2.50 GANGSTER; 2 Barters Hill; 3 Up For Review
3.30 DON COSSACK (NAP); 2 Djakadam; 3 Don Poli
4.10 ON THE FRINGE; 2 Aupcharlie; 3 Paint The Clouds
4.50 SQUOUATEUR; 2 Flying Angel; 3 Childrens List
5.30 BRIGHT NEW DAWN; 2 Sizing Codelco; 3 Rock The World
IRISH DAILY STAR
2.10 All Yours
2.50 Shantou Village
3.30 Don Cossack
4.10 On The Fringe
5.30 Rock The World
1.30 Ivanovich Gorbatov
2.10 Blue Hell
2.50 Champers On Ice
3.30 Don Poli
5.30 Rock The World
1:30 - Triumph Hurdle
2:10 - County Hurdle
2:50 - Albert Bartlett Novices Hurdle
3:30 - Gold Cup
4:10 - St James Place Foxhunter Chase
4:50 - Martin Pipe Hurdle
5:30 - Grand Annual Chase