1.20pm Cheltenham – 2m1f (2m179y) (New) JCB Triumph Hurdle (Grade 1) (GBB Race) (Class 1) (4yo)
1 PT WIN BET ADVISED AT ODDS OF 7/2 WITH WILLIAM HILL & BOYLESPORTS
A very tough opener for punters with four of the horses unbeaten and it very difficult to separate the three horses at the top of the market. They are the Favourite, Zanahiyr, formerly with Gordon Elliott but now with Denise Foster, Quilixios, for the in form Henry De Bromhead/Rachel Blackmore partnership and Tritonic trained by Alan King. The Irish have been on fire and Quilixios will be popular with jockey of the week Rachel Blackmore on board but I have gone for an English win in this with Tritonic. The selection was so impressive when winning a Grade 2 by 10 lengths at Kempton 20 days ago, he looks the fastest on the flat, and the official Good to Soft and drying conditions at the track may suit him better than his two major rivals. At 7/2 he is taken to progress again and win.
1.55pm Cheltenham – 2m1f (2m179y) (New) McCoy Contractors County Handicap Hurdle (Grade 3) (GBB Race) (Class 1) (5yo+)
YOU RAISED ME UP
0.5 PTS EACH WAY BET ADVISED AT 17/2 WITH SKYBET WHO ARE PAYING 8 PLACES
This is a wide open 26 runner handicap guys so the 8 places on offer with SKYBET is definitely the way to go. I have opted for the Martin Brassil trained 8 year old gelding You Raised Me Up who has won his 2 starts over hurdles this season and is expected to improve considerably for today’s better ground. He has some decent bumper form in the book and he could go close.
2.30pm Cheltenham – 3m (2m7f213y) (New) Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle (Grade 1) (Registered as The Spa Novices’ Hurdle) (GBB Race) (Class 1) (4yo+)
0.5 PTS EACH WAY BET ADVISED AT THE 9/1 AVAILABLE WITH THESE BOOKIES PAYING 4 PLACES
It doesn’t get any easier in the Grade 1 Albert Bartlett with 17-runners taking part but I think the Paul Nicholls trained 6 year old gelding Threeunderthrufive could still have more to offer after comfortably beating a subsequent winner last time with the first two pulling 16 lengths clear of the 3rd. He is 3-3 over hurdles, showed last time he will stay the trip, and he looks one of the likelier winners in another highly competitive race.
3.05pm Cheltenham – 3m2½f (3m2f70y) (New) WellChild Cheltenham Gold Cup Chase (Grade 1) (GBB Race) (Class 1) (5yo+)
A PLUS TARD (NAP)
2 PT WIN BET ADVISED AT THE 7/2 AVAILABLE WITH THESE BOOKMAKERS
0.5 PTS EACH WAY BET ADVISED AT 10/1 WITH SKYBET WHO ARE PAYING 5 PLACES
I have been dropping hints all week on Twitter that the Henry De Bromhead trained 7 year old gelding A Plus Tard was going to be my selection and my Nap in the Gold Cup. He has course form having finished 3rd to Min in the Ryanair last year and he won the Close Brothers by 16 lengths here in 2019. He stayed on really well over 3-miles to beat Kemboy in a Grade 1 at Leopardstown back in December appearing to be helped by first-time cheek-pieces (retained) and taking his form to a whole new level. He has the assistance of Rachel Blackmore in the saddle, goes well fresh, and looks likely to improve again for the step up to 3m2f. You can see here I tipped Santini at 14/1 as part of an Ante Post Cheltenham Festival Each Way Lucky 15. It is easy to forget he only went down by a neck in this last year to Al Boum Photo and his Cheltenham form reads 13212. The sneaked suspicision is he may not be good enough to win but he had drifted out to a very backable price so looked well-worth an each way interest.
3.40pm Cheltenham – 3m2½f (3m2f70y) (New) St. James’s Place Festival Challenge Cup Open Hunters’ Chase (Class 2) (5yo+)
BOB AND CO (nb)
0.5 PTS EACH WAY BET ADVISED AT A GENERALLY AVAILABLE 9/2 WITH MANY BOOKMAKERS PAYING 4 PLACES
I have had my eye on the Paul Nicholls trained 10 year old gelding Bob And Co for this for a while now. He appeared to have been helped by wind surgery when winning impressively by 17 lengths in a Hunters’ Chase over 2m6f at Kelso 27 days ago. He has won over this trip, he has won on Good to Soft, he rates well, and has the assistance of Sean Bowen in the saddle. He is my Next Best (nb) bet of the day.
4.15pm Cheltenham – 2m4½f (2m4f127y) (New) Mrs Paddy Power Mares’ Chase (Registered As The Liberthine Mares’ Chase) (Grade 2) (GBB Race) (Class 1) (5yo+)
1 PT WIN BET ADVISED AT A WIDELY AVAILABLE 7/2
I think the betting markets have got this Mares’ Chase right guys as it looks to be between the Willie Mullins trained pair of Elimay and Colreevy. There is little value in betting Elimay, who admittedly was very impressive last time, at 4/5 and I know Willie Mullins fancies Colreevy to give her a good run for her money so I’m happy to tip her up at 7/2. The selection easily beat yesterday’s runaway Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Challenge Cup Handicap Chase winner Mount Ida by 12 lengths at Thurles back in January so there is cause for optimism.
4.50pm Cheltenham – 2m4½f (2m4f56y) (New) Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle (GBB Race) (Class 2) (4yo+ 0-145)
GENTLEMAN DE MEE
0.5 PTS EACH WAY BET ADVISED AT 3/1 WITH BETFRED PAYING 6 PLACES
0.5 PTS EACH WAY BET ADVISED AT 9/2 WITH BETFRED PAYING 6 PLACES
Of course, we end what in my opinion has been a brilliant 2021 Cheltenham Festival with a 24-runner handicap. However, I honestly don’t give too many winning chances and again think the market has got this right. So, in a very unusual move for me, I am advising you bet both Gentleman De Mee and Gabynako each way in the hope one of them wins and the other places giving us decent returns. There is no point or value betting a horse to win in a 24-runner race when there are so many firms paying 5 or 6 places (SKYBET are paying 6 as well but at shorter odds). The J P McManus owned and Willie Mullins trained 5 year old gelding Gentleman De Mee is a typically unexposed one of his who could be anything. He has been Favourite for this for a while after winning comfortably at Naas last month, a first-time hood will help him focus, and he is expected to be well-suited by today’s step up to 2m4.5f for the first time. Trainer Gavin Cromwell’s horses finally came good yesterday with Flooring Porter winning the Grade 1 Paddy Power Stayers’ Hurdle and his 6 year old gelding Gabynako could add to that tally. His 3rd to Bob Olinger two starts back is looking like pretty good form now in the context of this race, he looks on a fair mark, and back up in trip shouldn’t be far away. Good luck!
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