In yesterday’s column, Vautour did what we thought he was capable of if on a going day, and pulverised a classy looking field in the JLT Novice’s Chase, producing the performance of the week and in the process producing a small profit on the day. Don Cossack made a couple of shuddering mistakes which halted his momentum, and in the circumstances, did very well to motor home into third. The highlight of day four is the Gold Cup, but like with a few of the major races, this year’s renewal looks sub-par.
1.30 JCB Triumph Hurdle
Run over 2miles1f, this race is confined to 4year olds and a big field of 17 goes to post. Willie Mullins is mob handed, but on paper at least, does not appear to have a stand-out performer. The race is statistically horrific for favorites, with just one market leader winning in the last eighteen years. Peace And Co has the poisoned chalice of being at the top of the betting, but he could hardly have been more impressive in two UK runs so far. Crucially, has course and distance form when winning a grade two contest and is rated 8lbs clear of anything in the field. The negative favourites’ trend has to be broken one day, and Nicky Henderson’s horse could be the one to do the business. Available at +250 with William Hill and Coral.
Beltor left his flat career rated 76, showing solid form but nothing to suggest he would be contesting grade one races over hurdles. Has been ultra-impressive in two starts, hacking up last time out at Kempton in a grade two. There is plenty of rain forecast overnight, and that should not be an issue for son of mud-lark Authorized. Only slight question mark is the fact trainer is putting on the first time hood – presumably the horse has been working well in the headgear, but it is an unknown. Bet365 are currently offering this horse at +650 , which looks a good each way price.
3.20 Cheltenham Gold Cup
This race has seen the likes of Kauto Star, Denman and Long Run light up Prestbury Park with scintillating performances, and whilst there might be an exciting finish and plenty of drama, there does not look to be a standout performer.
Bob’s Worth won the 2013 running of this contest, but ran flat in the 2014 running and bombed out on only appearance since. If he could recapture the form of two years ago, would waltz this, but there has to be a question mark over that, and softening ground probably wouldn’t help. Can be backed at attractive odds of +1400 with a plethora of firms including Ladbrokes and William Hill and at the prices, cannot be completely ruled out.
On current official ratings, and recent performances, Silviniaco Conti is the best horse in the race. Rated at 174, he is 7lbs clear of nearest rival. Finished 4th last year after looking the likely winner turning in, and in the 2013 renewal, fell when travelling smoothly. Went from the front last time out at Kempton, winning the King George VI Chase in eye-catching fashion. Hasn’t been since and should have been freshened up by the break. Main concern with this runner is that he may be stretched by the Gold Cup distance with the steep hill stamina sapping. Is the class act and should be going best approaching two out, so could be one for the trading boys. Available at +500 with PaddyPower.
Holywell could be the each way shout in the race. Comes alive at the festival, having won twice in March at the course and showed recent well-being when winning at Kelso. Needs to improve to win a Gold Cup, but as mentioned this doesn’t look the best race and sits handily. Available at +1100 with PaddyPower.
Bet – 0.25 points – EW – Holywell – +1400 – PaddyPower
1.30 – JCB Triumph Hurdle – 1 point – win – Peace And Co –
William Hill, Coral
1.30 – JCB Triumph Hurdle – 0.5 points – EW – Beltor – +650 – Bet365
3.20 – Cheltenham Gold Cup – 0.25 points – EW – Holywell – +1400 – BetVictor
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