Sportsmail provides all the tips ahead of the fourth day of the Cheltenham Festival with selections and dangers in the JCB Triumph Hurdle, McCoy Contractors County Handicap Hurdle, Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle, Wellchild Cheltenham Gold Cup. St. James’s Place Festival Hunters’ Chase, Mrs Paddy Power Mares’ Chase and the Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle.
Sportsmail provides all the tips ahead of the fourth day of Cheltenham Festival on Friday
1.55 Edwardstone (nap)
3.05 A Plus Tard (nb)
4.50 Galopin Des Champs
1.55 Gowel Road
2.30 Barbados Buck’s
3.05 Al Boum Photo
3.40 Staker Wallace
4.15 Elimay (nap)
4.50 Gentleman De Mee (nb)
1.20 JCB Triumph Hurdle
ZANAHIYR has looked the best juvenile either side of the Irish Sea since switching to hurdles and he has the perfect platform to vindicate that opinion. He boasts the perfect blend of speed and stamina on the evidence to date while Quilixios is improving at a rate of knots so may prove the chief danger.
Zanahiyr boasts the perfect blend of speed and stamina for the JCB Triumph Hurdle
1.55 McCoy Contractors County Handicap Hurdle
A trio of unexposed novices in the shape of Ganapathi, Third Time Lucki and You Raised Me Up will have their supporters, while Champagne Gold is also feared given the week his connections have enjoyed. However, EDWARDSTONE is hardly exposed over hurdles himself as this will be just his eighth start and it is also one of the first opportunities for him to tackle his favoured sound surface.
Danger: CHAMPAGNE GOLD
2.30 Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle
Hurdling experience has been a valuable asset in this race in past renewals and FAKIERA can call on the knowledge accrued from seven previous starts over obstacles here. He had an eye-catching race at the Dublin Racing Festival when staying on late in the Grade One won by Gaillard Du Mesnil. Threeunderthrufive lacks Graded form but is a likeable stayer with some class.
A Plus Tard can continue astonishing run for trainer Henry De Bromhead this week
3.05 Wellchild Cheltenham Gold Cup
Al Boum Photo will strive to add his name to a roll call of National Hunt greats by completing a momentous third Gold Cup win.
Golden Miller, Cottage Rake and the legendary Arkle preceded this century’s achievements of Best Mate in winning the marquee chasing feature three or more times. And, following an identical preparation to last year, confidence will be high within Team Mullins that the nine-year-old can pull off an historic hat-trick.
However, a select band of improving chasers lie in wait for Mullins’ horse, led by A PLUS TARD for whom victory would leave trainer Henry De Bromhead as the only handler in history to have completed the Champion Hurdle, Champion Chase and Gold Cup treble. De Bromhead has a handy second string in Minella Indo, but it is Savills Chase winner A Plus Tard which is the primary pick for a team who have barely put a foot wrong all week.
His Leopardstown win in December answered any stamina queries, as the seven-year-old took nearly all of the venue’s straight to overhaul two rivals who looked to have got away from him. The form of De Bromhead has been little short of astonishing from the word go this week, with Honeysuckle simply spellbinding in Tuesday’s Champion Hurdle, before Bob Olinger, Put The Kettle On and Telmesomethinggirl impressed in their respective challenges, so it would seem folly to take on the yard.
Champ certainly won’t mind the drying ground and proved at Newbury in the Game Spirit Chase over two miles that he can jump at pace, so he may emerge as A Plus Tard’s most serious threat.
Selection: A PLUS TARD
Champ proved at Newbury in the Game Spirit Chase over two miles that he can jump at pace
3.40 St. James’s Place Festival Hunters’ Chase
Six of the last 11 winners finished in the first five the year before, so it makes sense to concentrate on last year’s renewal and respect winner It Came To Pass, runner-up BILLAWAY and Staker Wallace (third). Given Billaway cosily beat Staker Wallace at Naas last time, he narrowly gains the nod.
Danger: STAKER WALLACE
4.15 Mrs Paddy Power Mares’ Chase
This may be a new race, but it appears to have a familiar look with Willie Mullins holding all the aces courtesy of ELIMAY and Colreevy. The former is narrowly preferred as she is a little less ground dependent than her stablemate
Danger: REALLY SUPER
4.50 Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle
GALOPIN DES CHAMPS caught the eye at the Dublin Racing Festival with a fine effort in the Grade One event won by stablemate Appreciate It. That form and his style of racing suggested that a step up in trip could see him nicely handicapped. The last three winners of this race have all carried top weight, so Floueur is an interesting contender.
Selection: GALOPIN DES CHAMPS
AL BOUM PHOTO has won the Gold Cup for the last two years and has been primed for this shot at history. He remains the one to beat. Nothing that has happened in the last 12 months has changed that.
None of Al Boum Photo’s rivals have managed to better his form over the last two years. Consequently, I expect him to notch a hat-trick of victories today and join an elite group of top-class jumpers.
1.20 – Tritonic
1.55 – Cayd Boy
2.30 – Adrimel (Nap )
3.05 – Al Boum Photo
3.40 – It Came To Pass
4.15 – Elimay
4.50 – Fire Attack
1.20 – Zanahiyr
1.55 – Fifty Ball
2.30 – Stattler
3.05 – Al Boum Photo
3.40 – Bob And Co
4.15 – Elimay
4.50 – Langer Dan (NAP)