Just like Christmas when you were a child. You wait for a whole year and it’s all over so quickly. Yes, we’ve come to final day of this year’s Cheltenham Festival.
We saw a superstar in action on Tuesday in the shape of Constitution Hill. And we could see another one in today in Galopin Des Champs in this afternoon’s Gold Cup.
Inside today’s main piece I look back at Thursday’s highlights and there’s a few stat pointers for Friday’s card.
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Day 3 Highlights
It all went wrong for Paul Nicholls on Wednesday. However, he bounced back to saddle Stage Star to win the opening Turners Novices’ Chase.
Stage Star could a fairly soft lead and jockey Harry Cobden was able to dictate the pace. He jumped well out in front but both favourite Mighty Potter and second favourite Appreciate It weren’t well placed in a steadily run race.
Mighty Potter was the banker of the day for many Irish punters, but he was outpaced on the home turn and he hung badly right on the run in. He doesn’t look straight forward. Appreciate It also hung, this time left, between the final two and couldn’t find anymore on the run in.
The winner was a worthy winner on the day, but he did get the race run to suit. You can't give Harry Cobden a freebie out in front and expect to beat him.
Brilliant Envoi Allen
Envoi Allen added a Cheltenham Festival Grade 1 chase, to his Ballymore and Champion Bumper successes in winning the Ryanair Chase. He was travelling smoothly coming down the hill before taking it before the last and kept on well to win by 2 ¾ lengths from Shishkin.
In contrast to the winner Shishkin was never really travelling and although he was still in contention, he made a bad mistake at the third last. In the circumstances he did well to get as close as he did to the winner. All in all a strange run from the favourite and I wouldn’t be surprised if some headgear was applied.
Envoi Allen’s win maintained the excellent form of the Henry De Bromhead yard.
Sire Du Berlais (33/1) won a gruelling, stamina sapping Stayers Hurdle. Flooring Porter set a an honest gallop in his bid for a hat trick of wins in the race and was only headed at the last.
At the last it looked like Dashel Drasher was going to win but he was headed by the winner in the final 110yds. He finished second past the post but was demoted to third in the Stewards room.
A good stamina test suited the winner. However, you have to feel a little sorry for the consistent Dashel Drasher who never seems to run a bad race.
Previous Cheltenham Festival form once again to the fore. Prior to last year when he finished 11th in the Pertemps Final his Cheltenham festival form figures were 4112.
After a blank day for Victor Value but the service bounced to winning ways back with two winners in Good Time Jonny and Angels Dawn and third in Mill Green. For those who bet the exotics and I know some do. the Pertemps Trifecta paid £5,501.10.
Cheltenham Festival – Day 4
The Triumph Hurdle (1:30) gets the card underway. And if this week’s Boodles Juvenile Handicap Hurdle is any guide the British based runners needn’t bother turning up. With the first prize heading across the Irish Sea once more.
Willie Mullins trains seven of the fifteen declared runners. Its a good job Willie runs them as it would be a woefully small field for this year’s renewal. He had the first three home in the Ballymore on Wednesday and if the market is any guide, he could have the first five here.
The Grade 1 Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle (2:50) is the second of today’s three Grade 1 contests. Once again, the Irish dominate the ante post betting with Three Card Brag and Corbetts Cross are vying for favouritism with the best of the home team as big as 22/1. Like the Triumph Hurdle this is another prize which is heading across the Irish Sea.
Boodles Cheltenham Gold Cup
If Galopin Des Champs stays the extended 3m 2f trip he'll be tough to beat. He's a potential superstar in the making and he could do a Constitution Hill and put in a ‘wow' performance,
The ground looks to have gone against Bravemansgame.
Last year’s impressive winner A Plus Tard hasn’t has the best of preparations. However, the yard has hit form this week. Stablemate Minella Indo won this in 2020 and finished runner-up to A Plus Tard 12 months ago. He's had a better preparation than his stablemate and he battled on well to beat Stattler in a Grade 3 at Thurles (2m 6f) last time, albeit he was receiving 8lb form the runner-up. His Cheltenham Festival form figures are 1212 and even at ten should give his running.
The testing ground will being Noble Yeats stamina into play, but I’m not sure he’s got the class to beat Galopin Des Champs and A Plus Tard.
Galopin Des Champs stablemate Stattler is another who will be suited by testing ground and will be staying on when others have had enough.
Conflated won the Grade 1 Paddy Power Irish Gold Cup at Leopardstown last season. And the 9-year-old looked booked for an excellent second when falling at the last in the Ryanair Chase. Stamina for an extended 3m 2f must be proven but he’s got watch way claims.
Ahoy Senor and Sounds Russian were first and second in the Cotswold Chase here on Trial’s Day. The former put it together in the jumping department but his jumping will be tested even more severely here. Sounds Russian is the more solid jumper and might well have prevailed last time if his jockey hadn’t have kicked on as early as he did. A likely place contender on really testing ground.
Cheltenham Festival Stats – Day 4
Here are a few stats for the final day of the festival.
McCoy Contractors County Handicap Hurdle
Nine of the last ten winners of the race finished first, second or third on their last start – 9 winners from 127 runners +17.25, 23 placed.
Boodles Cheltenham Gold Cup Chase
Nine of the last ten winners of the Gold Cup were aged seven or eight – 9 winners from 63 runners +15.08, 22 placed.
Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys Handicap Hurdle
Eight of the last ten winners of the race were within 5lb of the top weight and were aged five, six or seven – 8 winners from 81 runners +30, 21 placed.
Cheltenham Scoop 6/Placepot
1:30 – Gala Marceau
2:10 – Gin Coco, Pinkerton & Magnor Glory
2:50 – Corbetts Cross & Favori De Champdou,
3:30 – A Plus Tard & Stattler
4:10 – Vaucelet & Chris’s Dream
4:50 – Impervious.
Good luck with your Cheltenham bets.