RACE one on day four is the Triumph Hurdle, run over two miles one furlong and is for four-year-olds only. The last ten winners of this race had their last run in January or February.
Charli Parcs – Nicky Henderson 17-2 10bet
After more time to study this race I am pretty confident this will be one of my bets of the meeting and probably for JP McManus as well if going for this race which isn’t guaranteed. I suppose it all depends on whether the other JP McManus horse Defi Du Seuil runs or not. In December Charli Parcs beat Master Blueyes by eight lengths and then in February when renewing their rivalry Charli Parcs fell. My view of the race after watching it many times is that Charli Parcs would have outfought Master Blueyes. We will never know and many people disagree with me but that’s my view. Currently favourite for the JLT and one of my antepost selections but with all that is going on in the Mullins yard, will he still run in this? Well at least we are NRNB so that takes the pressure off – not that there should be any pressure. Yorkhill is two from two over fences and looking impressive to me if not with others.
Defi Du Seuil – Philip Hobbs 13-8 10bet
Five from five and if running here will be the JP McManus number one on paper. He is antepost favourite but for me his jumping is poor and certainly not as good as Charli Parcs'. He has however got the best form and is the worthy favourite but I think Charli Parcs has more improvement.
Master Blueyes – Alan King 13-2 10bet
Won his last two races and does look to be improving but as I said we will never know if he would have won if Charli Parcs hadn’t fallen. Take nothing away from the horse though, you have to jump, not out of this if improving.
Meri Devie – Willie Mullins 14-1 10bet
Good win at Leopardstown in December when beating Housesofparliament but did take a step backwards on last run when beaten by some decent horses. Although all Mullins horses have to be respected, I can’t see this winning.
Bapaume – Willie Mullins 10-1
Finished in front of Meri Devie last time and although being beat by Mega Fortune by 3 1/2 lengths I can see this horse running well. What impresses my about this horse was the way he won at Leopardstown on Boxing Day, the speed round the final bend and then digging deep to out battle Landofhopeandglory.
- CHARLI PARCS 17-2 10bet
RACE two on day four is the County Hurdle which is always a difficult one to work out as it’s a big field handicap and you probably want a lightly raced horse.
North Hill Harvey – Dan Skelton 7-1 10bet
Good form but I would worry about the lack of a run. His win at Cheltenham in November is working out really well and the Cheltenham form is a plus, the lack of a run however could just be connections knowing what they have and just keeping his handicap mark down.
Peace and Co – Nicky Henderson 10-1 10bet
Touted as a Champion Hurdle winner after his win in the 2015 Triumph Hurdle, his form dipped after that win and on his last run he was pulled up in last year's Champion Hurdle. Clearly out of his depth he hasn’t been seen since, he has the Cheltenham form but not for me.
Tombstone – Gordon Elliott 7-1 10bet
If running this horse must on form have a serious chance. Fourth in last year's Supreme Novices Hurdle beat by Altior, Min and Buveur D’air is good form on its own but on his last run beating Jezki by four lengths is more than enough to win a competitive County Hurdle.
Golden Spear – AJ Martin 10-1 10bet
When you look at the form of this horse to that of Tombstone there is no comparison and 10/1 is really poor value, his last run at Leopardstown behind Ice Cold Soul and Tudor City is ok but it’s not standout form and others at better prices have better chances
Ballyandy – Nigel Twistob-Davies 10-1 10bet
His two seconds to Moon Racer put him right up there if he runs here. That’s pretty decent form and even his win last time at Newbury is right up there, it was pretty impressive against some good horses.
Movewiththetimes – Paul Nicholls 10-1 10bet
Another with a good chance, Barry Geraghty says we haven’t seen the best of him yet and his close second to Ballyandy was good form and puts him right up there.
- TOMBSTONE 7-1 10bet
RACE three on day four is the Albert Bartlett Novices Hurdle, run over three miles.
Death Duty – Gordon Elliott 9-4 10bet
Four from four this season and while he hasn’t run over two miles four furlongs he does look a guaranteed stayer for three miles. Watching this horse run screams he wants further and is a worthy favourite. His jumping has been superb and he travels well in his races, one question though where there are different answers from different people is “would Augusta Kate have beaten him if not for falling?” I for once am unsure.
Augusta Kate – Willie Mullins 6-1 10bet
She has to be the value of the race even though I advised her at bigger odds. Fell when still having a chance against Death Duty,
Augusta Kate has pretty high-profile owners in Ant and Dec, Andrew “Chubby” Chandler, Lee Westwood, Alan Shearer and Graham and Andrea Wylie who also bred the horse. She was advised by me at 14-1 but is now a lot shorter and I still like her chances.
After falling on hurdling debut he has won his last two and again he looks a horse that needs this more stamina testing distance. His last run was his best against some good rivals and can’t be ruled out of this.
West Approach – Colin Tizzard 11-2 10bet
With Thistlecrack missing at Cheltenham the owners will be hoping for a win with this horse but he is also entered in the Stayers Hurdle, this being the more likely target though. Last time he was behind Unowhatimeanharry and Cole Harden would give him a great chance in the Albert Bartlett.
Wholestone – Nigel Twiston-Davies 6-1 10bet
We have known for a long time now that this is his target, four from five this season with his only defeat a second to Peregrine Run. With three of those wins and his one-length second all coming at Cheltenham and twice won over 3 miles at Cheltenham we can say that course and distance are fine.
- AUGUSTA KATE 6-1 10bet (already advised at 14-1)
RACE four on day four is the meeting's big one – the Cheltenham Gold Cup. No Thistlecrack for our 20-1 antepost bet but he has already rewarded us twice at the same odds.
Bristol De Mai – Nigel Twiston-Davies 20-1 10bet
One of my antepost selections at 50-1 and I still like him. In my opinion people are too quick to dismiss horses, what they have to realise with this horse is that he has only just turned six, a lot of his races can be forgiven for different reasons especially last time out when he ran to within 9 lengths of Native River and did that injured. It has been said on here numerous times that he won’t get the Gold Cup distance but he has won over three miles on soft ground, second to Black Hercules in last year's JLT. I had to advise him for the Gold Cup straight away as I saw a horse I thought would relish an extra mile, big player in my opinion especially eachway.
Djakadam – Willie Mullins 4-1 10bet
Second in the last two Gold Cups and looking to give his trainer his first win in this race, he impressed lately in a racecourse gallop and two decent runs this season for horse that obviously likes the Gold Cup but for me he will again find at least one too good for him.
Native River – Colin Tizzard 3-1 10bet
Not my idea of a Gold Cup horse and in my mind has yet to prove himself. The odds at the moment are laughable for him and I must be the only person that hasn’t been impressed but it’s not the first time. There are plenty of holes in his form but it is a weaker Gold Cup this year.
Cue Card – Colin Tizzard 3-1 10bet
Will he have a better chance of winning? If he is going to win then it has to be this year but for me his age is going to scupper his chances. Although he does run like a younger horse I just think the Cheltenham hill will take its toll on the 11yo.
Outlander – Gordon Elliott 9-1 10bet
He looks to be even better this season although his For has been a mixed bag with a win, couple of seconds and a fall when he would have won if staying up. But I still have the view that Gordon Elliott can’t train for a certain race and his horses run well enough all season unlike Mullins who gets them ready for Cheltenham. Has a chance but not for me.
Zabana – Andrew Lynch 33-1 10bet
This horse has been relatively under the Gold Cup radar for most people but I see him as a serious contender although this season could have been a lot better. Second in the 2015Cup and unseated the jockey at the start of last years JLT, he is a horse that suits Cheltenham and will love the distance. The trainer has also said that he is just keeping the horse ticking over just now and should come to life at Cheltenham whether in the Gold Cup or Ryanair.
- BRISTOL DE MAI 20-1 10bet (already advised at 50-1)
RACE five on day four is the Foxhunters Chase and there's no Victoria Pendleton this year as she is still on crutches.
On The Fringe – Enda Bolger 11-8 10bet
2015 & 2016 winner and gambled on both times. On my trip to Ireland to the Auctions I got to speak to a lot of people in racing from the press to owners to trainers to agents and the vast majority were not convinced this year. I am worried about this horse but the Irish just don’t fancy the horse because of age. Trainer Enda Bolger though is very happy with the way preparations have gone and thinks he is in great shape. Nina Carberry is unable to ride this year but leading amateur Jamie Codd isn’t a bad replacement. On the Fringe has had one prep race and it was a good second to Foxrock.
Ask The Weatherman – Jack Barber 5-1
This was my selection last year until injury ruled him out and he is an exciting horse. Doing most of his racing in point to points I have seen this horse a few times now and I like him a lot. I think he is guaranteed to be placed and a good chance of winning. He had his first race under rules in February when beating Rebel Rebellion pretty comfortably as led all the way and jumped well. I liked him last year and I like him again this year.
Wonderful Charm – Paul Nicholls 4-1 10bet
Katie Walsh will be on as Will Biddick has chosen Ask The Weatherman over this one. I have never been keen on rules horses going hunter chasing but this horse does look like he has adapted well and cannot be ruled out.
- ASK THE WEATHERMAN 5-1 10bet
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16:20 Perth - Race: 8
16:25 Kilbeggan - Race: 3