DIG out your cash for one of the bankers of the assembly in the JCB Triumph Hurdle. SIR EREC seems a category act.
Sir Erec seems to have a huge probability of profitable the Triumph Hurdle
He was a Listed winner on the Flat when educated by Aidan O’Brien and he was only crushed a couple of lengths by prime stayer Stradivarius on Champions’ Day at Ascot.
There wouldn’t be many higher Flat horses to have gone hurdling as a four-year-old. If JP McManus is going to have the ability to decide up such well-bred horses from Coolmore recurrently he’ll in all probability land on one other Istabraq sooner or later.
I’m not saying Sir Erec is going to be a Champion Hurdler however he’s seemed very particular since switching to the winter job.
His leaping has been good in profitable both his hurdles begins and it could’t do any harm that trainer Joseph O’Brien gained the Festival’s different juveniles’ prize – the Fred Winter – with Band Of Outlaws on Wednesday.
Stablemate Gardens Of Babylon was runner-up behind Sir Erec at Leopardstown final month. He was crushed six lengths however it’s removed from unimaginable that he might fill the forecast spot again. That simply exhibits how dominant the favourite is.
Tiger Tap Faucet ran Sir Erec to a neck on his debut however he was left trailing by his previous rival when only fourth final day trip. It’s one other pointer to the power of the Irish problem.
Quel Destin has gained his final five races. Those wins came in small fields and his Grade 1 defeat of Adjali by a neck provides him lots of floor to make up on Sir Erec.
Pentland Hills gained nicely at Plumpton. Cheltenham is a great distance from there – physically and metaphorically – and smooth ground needs to be a concern.
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THE drinks are on WHISKEY SOUR in the Randox Health County Hurdle. He was third behind Mohaayed on this race 12 months in the past having landed a Grade 1 novices’ hurdle earlier in the season.
He’s a lot better off at the weights this time and has clearly been saved for a shot at this race.
He ran a high-quality race when sixth in the Ebor on the Flat final summer time earlier than his type tailed off in the autumn. It’s no drawback that he’s not run since November as his best type has come when recent.
Willie Mullins additionally runs Mr Adjudicator in a race he’ gained four occasions in the final 9 years. Paul Townend’s mount has been seen since chasing residence Espoir D’Allen at Naas in November.
That type doesn’t look too dangerous after the winner went and gained the Champion Hurdle.
Éclair De Beaufeu is fascinating. He wasn’t troubled to comply with up his Limerick win at Fairyhouse in January. The Ladbrokes Hurdle he completed fourth in at Leopardstown’s Irish Festival was pink scorching and it wouldn’t surprise me if he had extra enchancment in him.
Monsieur Lecoq is progressing shortly. He gained simply at Sandown on his handicap debut and he returned to that monitor on Saturday to run a screamer when runner-up in the Imperial Cup. The more rain there’s the better his probability is.
Western Ryder is a dependable hurdler. Sadly, that’s his drawback. He’s not quite ok to win a graded hurdle however the handicapper can’t reduce him any slack on account of his consistency.
Final yr’s winner Mohaayed – pressured to shoulder prime weight – is another weak to anything much less uncovered.
There’s little question Crooks Peak is a promising horse with a shiny future. He’s under no circumstances badly weighted however he’ll find this a really totally different check to the races he’s been profitable.
It’s worrying he was final of the finishers in final yr’s Champion Bumper at this meeting. The ground is certain to be too gentle for final month’s Taunton winner Capitaine.
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DERRINROSS is the boss in the Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle. He is the epitome of what you should win this warfare of a race. He’s acquired extra stamina than Pheidippides and has the angle of a gladiator.
It’s in his favour that he did not win in three starts final season because that provides him the experience you want for this brutal contest.
Since stepping up the 3m he’s gained both his starts and this harder check is true up his road.
Lisnagar Oscar appeared good when operating away with a Haydock Grade 2 final month. I’m not convinced the type of that defeat of Ask Ben is especially robust however he might do not more than win as he did. The much softer ground is my largest concern.
Circumstances won’t be very best for Dinons, either. He rattled up a five-timer on respectable ground final yr and it will probably’t be a coincidence he’s been avoided testing going.
Gordon Elliott has a a lot better probability with Commander Of Fleet. His solely defeat in three begins came to visit 2m and there was lots to like about the floor it out to beat Rhinestone at Leopardstown last month. He’s a danger.
This can be a race for battle-hardened novices with a lot of expertise so I’m towards Nicky Henderson’s pair Birchdale and Dickie Diver.
Birchdale was barely fortunate to comply with his Warwick debut win when benefitting from Brewin’upastorm’s final hurdle exit at Cheltenham in January.
That was over 2m4f and, though he shapes as though he’ll haven’t any drawback with the step up to 3m, that does mean he’s acquired stamina to prove right now.
I’m extra frightened about Dickie Diver lasting the distance. He ran Lisnagar Oscar to a head on his debut and cruised house at Chepstow on his second start. He appears sensible but this can be a race when expertise and guts are more essential than class.
Allaho is another in the direction of the prime of the betting with the flawed profile. He pulled worryingly arduous when profitable on his hurdles debut at Clonmel last month and it’s troublesome to see him getting house if he does that again.
Elegant Escape is my Gold Cup guess
GO for the great Escape in the Magners Gold Cup. I was booed off stage in several Cheltenham Festival preview nights after placing up ELEGANT ESCAPE to land the prime prize of the week.
That hasn’t put me off as I feel he’s obtained a superb probability of causing an upset. Right here’s why.
He carried 11st 8lbs to win the Welsh National over Christmas. The only horses have carried that sort of weight to Chepstow glory have been his stablemate Native River, Synchronised, Grasp Oats and Carvill’s Hill.
That’s three subsequent Gold Cup winners and one who was more than ok to raise one.
The way of his Welsh Nationwide success was additionally spectacular. He seemed in management the entire method round and it was solely the drop to 3m1f on respectable floor that caught him out when runner-up behind Frodon in the Cotswold Chase right here in January.
Stamina – not velocity – wins most Gold Cups and Tom O’Brien’s mount has received it by the truck load. Any extra rain can be a bonus but the circumstances will go well with him regardless.
His third in last yr’s RSA Chase provides him ground to make up on Presenting Percy. I’ve little question he’s a greater horse this yr and his preparation has been wonderful, while Percy’s hasn’t.
He’s only been seen as soon as – and that was over hurdles. I can’t consider he hasn’t had problems but who is aware of?
His trainer gained’t maintain punters in the loop. Silence all the time breeds suspicion and I just can’t advise backing a horse with so many unknowns buzzing around him.
Clan Des Obeaux is extra of a menace. He’s the young improver having run away with the King George when Thistlecrack, Native River and May Chew have been amongst those in behind.
He has to show he can repeat that effort over an extended trip and on a unique monitor but there’s little question he’s acquired the class for the job.
Native River might simply grow to be the first dual winner since Kauto Star. I’m just nervous his titanic battle with May Chew 12 months in the past may need left a mark on him. It definitely has May Chew.
Templegate’s prime ideas for Gold Cup day
FOLLOW the Ber in the St James’s Place Foxhunters. CAID DU BERLAIS was an in depth fifth behind Pacha Du Polder on this race 12 months in the past however that was on horrible ground. As we speak’s circumstances gained’t be that dangerous and it provides him an incredible probability of choosing up this prestigious trophy.
He was a sensible chaser when educated by Paul Nicholls. Rose Loxton – a long-time member of Nicholls’ employees – now has this 10-year-old.
He went over to win the equal race at Punchestown by a rustic mile last spring. This term he’s solely had one race but that point-to-point success was a nice win prep for right now. His jockey Will Biddick is one of the prime amateurs so Caid Du Berlais has lots in his favour.
Pacha Du Polder – still educated by Nicholls – goes for his third win in this prize. Harriet Tucker obtained him house last yr despite dislocating her shoulder so it’s onerous to assume he hasn’t acquired an opportunity.
He was crushed a rustic mile at Haydock on his sole start of this season however he didn’t look like in much type when arriving at the Festival 12 months in the past.
Irish coach Enda Bolger gained this twice with On The Fringe in recent times and his Stand Up And Battle. He gained properly at Down Royal over Christmas but was crushed in a point-to-point last outing. I’m unsure he deserves to be favourite.
Ucello Conti has stronger claims. He was nonetheless in with a shout when unseating four from residence in last yr’s Grand National and he’s appeared good since switching to hunter chases.
Prolific level winner Hazel Hill has been in superb type and is one other to think about.
Shantou Flyer was only crushed a neck underneath heavy weight in final yr’s Ultima Chase at this assembly.
He’s bossed small fields to win his last two starts however he’s clearly acquired no drawback with the demands of a race like this. If he’s in the mood he ought to go nicely.
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He was touched off in the Castleford Chase at Wetherby over Christmas and continues to be properly weighted on his best type for Paul Nicholls.
He’s now with Dan Skelton and he’s regularly been working his means back to type. The respectable pace will go well with him nicely and he’s received a very good report at Cheltenham.
Magic Saint has accomplished properly in three begins since becoming a member of Nicholls from France. His Wincanton win in a five-runner was achieved in the method of a sensible two-miler however there needs to be a doubt about whether he’ll cope as nicely with the rigours of this contest.
Not One other Muddle is enhancing fast. He’s taken rather well to fences and the approach he gained at Sandown final month suggests he’s up to a race like this. The possible robust pace will assist and he’s a horse with a vibrant future.
Last yr’s winner Le Prezien is just a pound greater in the weights this time. Paul Nicholls’ hope would obviously be very fascinating on that type however his jumping fell apart when nicely crushed at Sandown final month.
Brelan D’As has appeared good since dropping to 2m. He’s properly weighted on his Fakenham defeat of Whatswrongwithyou loves it mushy. He may need gained a bit too far when taking apart a small subject at Fontwell three weeks ago but he has the potential to take a race likes this.
I might have fancied Caid Du Lin on better ground. If it does dry out this morning he must have a chance on his Ascot success in November.
The robust tempo will assist and he’s not been handicapped out of it.
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Gordon Elliott can land the lucky last
GORDON ELLIOTT has bagged the Martin Pipe Hurdle for the final two years. I reckon he’s going to get the hat-trick up however it’s not the most blatant one.
Dallas Des Pictons has to have a leading probability after following his second to Wednesday’s Ballymore winner Metropolis Island with victories at Punchestown and Leopardstown.
I’m anticipating him to go properly but, perhaps, not fairly in addition to DEFI BLEU.
My fancy ran nicely in Grade 2 hurdles before bombing out when upped to the prime degree behind Commander Of Fleet at Leopardstown. That doesn’t hassle me as he sat too near a scorching tempo and it means he’s sat on a nice weight in the present day.
Early Doorways was third behind Blow By Blow in this race 12 months ago. He’s not been in the similar type this time but that’s hardly shocking.
Joseph O’Brien has thrown him into Grade 1s towards Apple’s Jade this time period and he’s not been disgraced. The return to a handicap – regardless of shouldering prime weight – makes him a player.
Acapella Bourgeois is the fascinating one. He hasn’t run for greater than a yr however that’s by no means stopped Willie Mullins coaching Festival winners.
He’s a sensible chaser but had a lot of hurdles type a couple of years in the past. The handicapper has given him a right probability and I anticipate him to be in the thick of things.
Pym is another possible contender in the similar colors as Altior. He only scrambled residence at Kemtpon final time however the greater subject will help him.