1.30 JCB Triumph Hurdle
Yet another cracking race. 17 runners is about average for this race and its a race where you need stamina and speed and a sound jumping technique. A tough ask for four year olds. I get this down to five horses. Devilment who looks to have any amount of potential and for that reason worries me given he is a 94 rated hurdler, Beltor, so impressive last time out that he threw a real spanner in to the ante post backers thinking and has a hood on tomorrow to keep him calm, Hargam a course and distance winner, who has put most away this year, Pain Au Chocolat who best performance was his latest and Peace & Co who blitzed his opponents in his run one back and then in a steadily run race race still triumphed at Cheltenham in January. I think he will like the speed of the race, I think he stays and I think he will win.
2.05 Vincent O’Brien County Hurdle.
Just what we need after the Triumph, a 26 runner handicap where we find out which trainer has cheated best. Don’t think I have ever backed the winner of this race. Probably wont this time. Here are my four against the field. Wicklow Brave, Princely Conn, Cheltenian and Sort it Out. If Max’s Dynamite wins then I am giving up completely.
2.40 Albert Bartlett Novice
I like this race a lot. Not sure what happens to these horses when they run here, probably potential National candidates when they grow up but for this race it’s great. Blaklion looked like the winner of this race in December but then he got beat, Definitely Red has won over this course and distance and needs to be respected, No More Heroes looked likely at Navan when he disposed of Shaneshill who ran so well on Tuesday and Despite a bad ride Value at Risk looked all heart when he was narrowly beaten in January.
3.20 The Betfred Gold Cup
No we are really talking, firstly what magnificent horses these are, secondly I cant wait. I have never see an 18 runner Gold Cup. It’s just amazing. If you have your heart set on backing any of them, except the French Runner, then I would’nt put you off it. I love Silviniaco Conti but I just don’t think he gets this trip and track. Boston Bob, Sam Winner and On His Own may just be slightly below what we need to win. Many Clouds has done everything right this year and Lord Windemere brought his best game here last year when he won and maybe will do it again. I have settled on these two against the field. I thought earlier in the year Road to Riches showed outstanding determination to win and he will be fresh tomorrow and AP McCoy told me when I interviewed him at Bangor that if we had good ground he would win on Carlingford Lough. Surely we can’t ignore that.
4.00 St James’s Place Foxhunter
I have one horse that I think wins this, that horse is Aerial. I respect On the Fringe and surely Nina Carberry deserves a bit of luck after the Cross Country and how can you ignore the claims of Current Event. Its always a tough race to predict but I am going to wade in with the best jockey and the best horse.
4.40 Martin Pipe Conditional
Only one favourite has won this race since its inception 8 years ago. Interestingly weight appears to be little barrier and its more about an improving profile. Forethefunofit sticks out as a possible, Roi Des Francs needs a careful look as does On Tour who only has one blot on his copybook. Its a fiendishly diffcult race and it would be churlish to think we have the definitive answer so lets back two for interest.
The perfect ending to this festival is Tony McCoy riding Ned Buntline to victory on his last race at Cheltenham and I’m not prepared to bet against him. He just does this stuff. I love irony as well and there would be a massive does of this if Bold Henry won, which is one of his employers other rides of which he would have had a choice. Problem is I cant get away from Grumetti. Just keeps looking out at me from the page. So our last bet for this amazing meeting is: