Friday at Cheltenham - The Gambling Times

Friday at Cheltenham

We preview the final day of Cheltenham 2019 – Gold Cup Day.

The seven race card begins with the Grade 1 Triumph Hurdle but it is Gold Cup that is the race everyone will be waiting for.

Don’t forget any non-runners you can keep up-to-date via our Non-runners tool

We have detailed run through of every race, including our picks and also from BetVictor’s Charlie McCann.

Gold Cup Day – Friday, March 15 (New Course)

1.30pm JCB Triumph Hurdle (Grade 1) 2m 179y £125,000

The JCB Triumph Hurdle was first run at Hurst Park in 1939 and transferred to Cheltenham in 1965 on the closure of the London course. The race originally took place at Cheltenham’s April Meeting but was moved to The Festival in 1968.

It is the leading event in the National Hunt calendar to be exclusively contested by juveniles.

2019 field and odds from BetVictor:
12 Sir Erec 11/10
Joseph P O’Brien / M P Walsh
10 Quel Destin 9/1
P F Nicholls / H Cobden
13 Tiger Tap Tap 9/1
W P Mullins / R Walsh
9 Pic D’Orhy 10/1
P F Nicholls / Sam Twiston-Davies
5 Gardens of Babylon 11/1
Joseph P O’Brien / B J Geraghty
1 Adjali 16/1
N J Henderson / D A Jacob
8 Pentland Hills 16/1
N J Henderson / Nico de Boinville
3 Coeur Sublime 20/1
G Elliott / D N Russell
6 Hannon 40/1
J C McConnell / David Noonan
11 Runrized 40/1
W P Mullins / D J Mullins
14 French Made 40/1
W P Mullins / P Townend
2 Authorizo 50/1
G Elliott / J W Kennedy
4 Ecco 50/1
P F Nicholls / Harry Skelton
7 Nelson River 50/1
A W Carroll / Harry Bannister

TGT says: Sir Erec should be winning this opener and we think it will.

Expert view from BetVictor’s Charlie McCann: The card starts with the Triumph Hurdle and you must ask yourself why did Joseph O’Brien’s juvenile Band Of Outlaws not run in this Grade 1 contest given the ease with which he won the Boodles – Fred Winter Handicap – earlier in the week?

Step forward stablemate Sir Erec who is unbeaten in two starts over timber and was last seen on the flat running third to Stradivarius in the Long Distance Cup on Champions Day.

The selection is 11/10 at BetVictor but jumps, stays will enjoy the ground and we know the yard are in terrific form. An each way alternative is French import Pic D’Orhy who is held in high regard at the Paul Nicholls yard – 10/1 at BetVictor – and is fitted with a tongue tie for the first-time on his British debut.

2.10pm Randox Health County Handicap Hurdle (Grade 3) 2m 179y £100,000

The first County Hurdle was run in 1920 and won by Trespasser, ridden by George Duller, who until 1973 also had a race named after him at Cheltenham’s premier meeting. The Mullins family have an exceptional record, with brothers Tony (2007 Pedrobob), Willie (2010 Thousand Stars and 2011 Final Approach) and Tom (2012 Alderwood) all having trained winners of the race.

For many years the County Hurdle was traditionally the last race to be run at the Festival. However, a new running order was announced ahead of the 2009 meeting, and it is now the second race on the final day.

2019 field and odds from BetVictor:
7 Whiskey Sour 6/1
W P Mullins / R Walsh
5 Ch’tibello 15/2
D Skelton / Harry Skelton
21 Monsieur Lecoq 11/1
Mrs J Williams / Lizzie Kelly
4 Mr Adjudicator 12/1
W P Mullins / P Townend
13 Crooks Peak 12/1
P J Hobbs / R Johnson
16 Eclair De Beaufeu 12/1
G Elliott / J W Kennedy
14 Capitaine 14/1
P F Nicholls / H Cobden
3 Western Ryder 16/1
W Greatrex / Harry Teal
15 Cut The Mustard 16/1
W P Mullins / N D Fehily
8 Leoncavallo 20/1
Dr R D P Newland / Sam Twiston-Davies
19 Countister 20/1
N J Henderson / B J Geraghty
6 Lisp 25/1
A King / Wayne Hutchinson
1 Mohaayed 28/1
D Skelton / Bridget Andrews
2 We Have A Dream 33/1
N J Henderson / D A Jacob
11 Pingshou 33/1
C L Tizzard / R M Power
12 Sternrubin 33/1
P J Hobbs / M G Nolan
17 Due Reward 33/1
H De Bromhead / Rachael Blackmore
22 Thistle Do Nicely 33/1
Jamie Snowden / G Sheehan
23 Magic Dancer 33/1
Kerry Lee / Richard Patrick
25 Ar Mest 33/1
G L Moore / J E Moore
10 Mitchouka 40/1
G Elliott / D N Russell
18 Storm Rising 40/1
Dr R D P Newland / Charlie Hammond
20 High Expectations 40/1
G Elliott / D F O’Regan
24 Brex Drago 66/1
G P Cromwell / J B Kane
9 Mister Fizz 100/1
Miss I Pickard / Lorcan Williams
26 Chieftain’s Choice 100/1
Kevin Frost / Sam Coltherd

TGT says: Capitaine looks good value to add to Paul Nicholls’s good week.

Expert view from BetVictor’s Charlie McCann: In the County Hurdle Countister would have been the selection on better ground, but she failed to get home behind Laurina in the Mares’ Novices Hurdle on similar ground 12 months ago when she looked sure to finish second two out.

My two against the field are BetVictor’s 6/1 market leader Whisky Sour – third in this race 12 months ago – and Western Ryder with the latter getting the each way nod for Warren Greatrex at 14/1 with BetVictor who are betting five places. The selection has run a number of good races in defeat so far this season and talented conditional Harry Teal takes off a valuable 5lbs with regular pilot Richard Johnson claimed for the Hobbs-runner Crooks Peak who would prefer faster ground. Note the selection is blinkered for the first-time today.

2.50pm Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle (Grade 1) 2m 7f 213y £125,000

The Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle is run over three miles and was added to The Festival in 2005 when the meeting expanded to four days.

The Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle has proved to be a good pointer to the RSA Chase in recent years. Bobs Worth and Weapon’s Amnesty, who captured the Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle went on to win the RSA Chase the following season.

2019 field and odds from BetVictor:
4 Birchdale 11/2
N J Henderson / B J Geraghty
13 Lisnagar Oscar 13/2
Miss R Curtis / Sean Bowen
6 Commander Of Fleet 15/2
G Elliott / J W Kennedy
1 Allaho 8/1
W P Mullins / R Walsh
9 Dickie Diver 8/1
N J Henderson / Aidan Coleman
8 Derrinross 11/1
J P Dempsey / L P Dempsey
10 Dinons 12/1
G Elliott / D N Russell
16 Rhinestone 14/1
Joseph P O’Brien / M P Walsh
20 Salsaretta 22/1
W P Mullins / P Townend
5 Cap York 25/1
N Meade / B J Cooper
15 Nadaitak 28/1
B Pauling / Nico de Boinville
18 Stoney Mountain 28/1
H D Daly / R Johnson
2 Ask Ben 33/1
G McPherson / Kielan Woods
11 Dorrells Pierji 33/1
W P Mullins / N D Fehily
12 First Approach 33/1
N Meade / S W Flanagan
14 Minella Indo 33/1
H De Bromhead / Rachael Blackmore
17 Rockpoint 33/1
C L Tizzard / T Scudamore
3 Aye Aye Charlie 40/1
F O’Brien / P J Brennan
19 Alsa Mix 50/1
A King / Wayne Hutchinson
7 Darlac 80/1
C L Tizzard / R M Power

TGT says: We like the look of Allaho to give Ruby another Cheltenham success.

Expert view from BetVictor’s Charlie McCann: Nicky Henderson’s unbeaten Birchdale is the mount of Barry Geraghty in the Albert Bartlett but I just favour his stablemate Dickie Diver who is 8/1 with BetVictor and is another each way selection – 4 places. Aidan Coleman takes the ride on the inexperienced gelding who has a bit to find with Lisnagar Oscar on Chepstow running earlier in the season but can improve past Rebecca Curtis’s horse who may prefer better ground.

3.30pm Magners Cheltenham Gold Cup (Grade 1) 3m 2f 70y £625,000

The first horse race known as the Cheltenham Gold Cup took place in July 1819. It was a flat race and it was contested over 3 miles on Cleeve Hill which overlooks the present venue.

The Cheltenham Gold Cup was first run as a jumps race on 12 March 1924.

2019 field and odds from BetVictor:
13 Presenting Percy 4/1
P G Kelly / D N Russell
12 Native River 9/2
C L Tizzard / R Johnson
5 Clan Des Obeaux 5/1
P F Nicholls / H Cobden
3 Bellshill 10/1
W P Mullins / R Walsh
10 Kemboy 11/1
W P Mullins / D J Mullins
11 Might Bite 14/1
N J Henderson / Nico de Boinville
1 Al Boum Photo 16/1
W P Mullins / P Townend
8 Elegant Escape 16/1
C L Tizzard / T J O’Brien
14 Thistlecrack 16/1
C L Tizzard / T Scudamore
2 Anibale Fly 22/1
A J Martin / B J Geraghty
16 Shattered Love 22/1
G Elliott / J W Kennedy
4 Bristol De Mai 25/1
N A Twiston-Davies / D A Jacob
9 Invitation Only 33/1
W P Mullins / Mr P W Mullins
6 Definitly Red 50/1
B Ellison / Danny Cook
7 Double Shuffle 80/1
T R George / J J Burke
15 Yala Enki 100/1
Miss V Williams / Charlie Deutsch

TGT says: Some have forgotten just how good Native River is – he will make himself a Cheltenham legend with back-to-back wins.

Expert view from BetVictor’s Charlie McCann: The Cheltenham Gold Cup is the feature race on the final day of the Cheltenham Festival and the reigning champion Native River will ensure there is no hiding place. The likelihood of soft or perhaps even heavy ground is the key to the chances of the Colin Tizzard-trained chaser who is bidding to become the first horse since Best Mate to win the Blue Riband of jumps racing back-to-back.

The great Willie Mullins has never saddled the winner of the big race and he has four representatives led by Irish Gold Cup winner Bellshill, but it is fellow Irish raider Presenting Percy who gets the each way vote.

The selection has won at the last two Festivals but has not run over fences since running away with the RSA Chase at Cheltenham 12 months ago. Some have knocked that form with runner up Monalee a non-stayer over 3m and I would have liked Al Boum Photo to have stayed on his feet with the latter having fell at the last when staying on in third.

The selection (4/1 fav with BetVictor) looked in good fettle when scoring over hurdles on his belated reappearance last month. Note there has not been anything wrong with the gelding’s preparation, but the ground has just been too quick in Ireland for connections to let him run over the larger obstacles. Some will tell us that you can’t win a Gold Cup without having jumped a fence in public for 12 months, but he is trained by Patrick Kelly who, believe me, knows the price of fish!

4.10pm St James’s Place Foxhunter Chase 3m 2f 70y £45,000

The event is contested over the same course and distance as the Gold Cup and it is sometimes referred to as the “amateur Gold Cup”. It was established in 1904.

Qualification for entry in the Foxhunter Chase is based on a horse’s previous performances in certain types of race within a specific period.

2019 field and odds from BetVictor:
20 Stand Up And Fight 9/2
E Bolger / Mr Derek O’Connor
24 Ucello Conti 5/1
G Elliott / Mr J J Codd
11 Hazel Hill 6/1
Philip Rowley / Mr Alex Edwards
4 Caid Du Berlais 8/1
Mrs R Loxton / Mr W Biddick
15 Road To Rome 8/1
J J O’Shea / Mr S Waley-Cohen
17 Shantou Flyer 8/1
Richard Hobson / Mr D Maxwell
14 Pacha Du Polder 18/1
P F Nicholls / Miss H C Tucker
10 Haymount 22/1
T Ellis / Miss G Andrews
23 Top Wood 28/1
Miss Kelly Morgan / Miss T Worsley
3 Balnaslow 33/1
G J McKeever / Mr P W Mullins
6 Coastal Tiep 33/1
S R B Crawford / Mr B G Crawford
19 Southfield Theatre 33/1
Mrs Sara V Bradstock / Miss L Bradstock
22 Timewaitsfornoone 33/1
A Fleming / Mr R Deegan
5 Chosen Dream 40/1
G J McKeever / Mr M J O’Hare
7 Cousin Pete 40/1
Mrs Brown / Mr N Phillips
2 Asockastar 50/1
Daniel Bourne / Mr B O’Neill
18 Some Are Lucky 50/1
S Curling / Mr G A Spain
9 Double Whammy 80/1
I Jardine / Mr T Hamilton
2 Just Cause 80/1
J P Owen / Mr J Andrews
16 Samanntom 80/1
P M J Doyle / Miss S Doyle
21 Sybarite 80/1
Miss V Collins / Miss L M Pinchin
1 Ardkilly Witness 100/1
Miss K Smith / Mr W Thirlby
8 Dont Do Mondays 100/1
Mrs L Lawson / Mr O Wedmore
13 One Conemara 100/1
Mrs C Coward / Mr J Dawson

TGT says: Cheltenham specialist Jamie Codd on Ucello Conti is one to watch for us, but we have always loved Pacha Du Polder who is good each-way value.

Expert view from BetVictor’s Charlie McCann: The Foxhunters’ is the Gold Cup for amateur riders. The ground has gone against Road To Rome but last year’s Ultima runner up Shantou Flyer will love the ground and has every chance.  Hazel Hill has been my antepost selection for the race since his facile Warwick success but will het get home in the ground?

I have jumped ship and now feel Ucello Conti will give the prolific combination of Jamie Codd and Gordon Elliot another winner. The selection has failed to complete the course in two Grand Nationals and has largely flattered to deceive throughout his career, but I feel he will have the race run to suit and can reward each way support – 4 places – at 5/1 with BetVictor.

4.50pm Johnny Henderson Grand Annual Handicap Chase (Grade 3) 2m 62y £110,000

The Grand Annual is the oldest race at the Festival, and it is also the oldest chase in the present National Hunt calendar. It was first run in April 1834.

The running order of the races at the Cheltenham Festival was altered slightly in 2009, and the Johnny Henderson Grand Annual Chase was the last event on the final day but it is now the penultimate race.

2019 field and odds from BetVictor:
4 Magic Saint 9/2
P F Nicholls / H Cobden
18 Not Another Muddle 6/1
G L Moore / J E Moore
8 Whatswrongwithyou 9/1
N J Henderson / Nico de Boinville
3 Le Prezien 10/1
P F Nicholls / B J Geraghty
13 Mind’s Eye 10/1
H De Bromhead / Rachael Blackmore
19 Brelan D’As 14/1
P F Nicholls / Bryony Frost
5 Bun Doran 16/1
T R George / P J Brennan
16 Marracudja 16/1
D Skelton / Harry Skelton
2 Gino Trail 18/1
Kerry Lee / R Johnson
11 Top Gamble 18/1
Kerry Lee / M A Enright
9 Caid Du Lin 20/1
Dr R D P Newland / Sam Twiston-Davies
14 Mr Medic 22/1
R Walford / James Best
1 Forest Bihan 25/1
B Ellison / Danny Cook
6 Diakali 33/1
G L Moore / Joshua Moore
7 Tree Of Liberty 33/1
Kerry Lee / Richard Patrick
10 Theflyingportrait 33/1
Jennie Candlish / Sean Quinlan
12 Champagne At Tara 33/1
Jonjo O’Neill / Jonjo O’Neill Jr.
15 Theo 33/1
Dr R D P Newland / Charlie Hammond
20 All Set To Go 40/1
Kevin Frost / G Sheehan
17 Croco Bay 50/1
B I Case / Kielan Woods

TGT says: Le Prezien is a good horse and it gets the nod here.

Expert view from BetVictor’s Charlie McCann: I’m not convinced Whatswrongwithyou has the experience for the Grand Annual and the each way vote goes to Marracudja who has hinted at a return to form of late and has had a wind operation since finishing second – beaten a nose – in the Castleford Chase from a 4lbs lower mark over Christmas. That form has been franked by the winner – Cracking Find – and the selection might be a tad overpriced at 20/1 with BetVictor (5 places).

5.30pm Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle (0-145) 2m 4f 56y £70,000

Run for the first time in 2009, the Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle is named after one the greatest trainers of modern times, who retired at the end of the 2005/06 season.

The race was moved to become the Festival finale this year.

2019 field and odds from BetVictor:
6 Dallas Des Pictons 7/2
G Elliott / D Meyler
1 Early Doors 13/2
Joseph P O’Brien / Jonjo O’Neill Jr.
14 Cartwright 11/1
G Elliott / Fergus Gregory
9 Defi Bleu 12/1
G Elliott / C Brassil
5 Getareason 14/1
W P Mullins / L P Gilligan
2 Acapella Bourgeois 16/1
W P Mullins / R A Doyle
10 Pym 18/1
N J Henderson / Richard Patrick
11 Daybreak Boy 18/1
H De Bromhead / D J McInerney
3 If You Say Run 20/1
P F Nicholls / Bryony Frost
16 Big Time Dancer 20/1
Jennie Candlish / Ross Chapman
13 Discordantly 22/1
Mrs J Harrington / Conor Orr
4 Mr Antolini 25/1
N A Twiston-Davies / J Nailor
18 Not That Fuisse 25/1
D Skelton / William Marshall
21 Burrows Park 25/1
Miss V Williams / H F Nugent
15 Mount Mews 28/1
D McCain Jnr / Danny McMenamin
20 Doctor Dex 28/1
T R George / Lorcan Williams
7 Coolanly 33/1
F O’Brien / Connor Brace
8 Style De Garde 33/1
N J Henderson / Ned Curtis
17 Le Musee 33/1
N J Hawke / Tom Buckley
24 Champagne Court 33/1
J Scott / Rex Dingle
12 Garo De Juilley 40/1
Mrs S Leech / Sean Houlihan
19 Sakhee’s City 50/1
P A Kirby / Thomas Dowson
22 Casa Tall 50/1
T R George / Kieron Edgar
23 Kapgarry 50/1
N A Twiston-Davies / Stan Sheppard

TGT says: Defi Bleu looks well placed to bring down the curtain on the 2019 Festival.

Expert view from BetVictor’s Charlie McCann: Dallas Des Pictons was beaten just 3l by Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle winner City Island earlier in the season and I know there are many who believe the selection is a Graded winner in waiting. He is only 7/2 with BetVictor for the concluding Martin Pipe Hurdle but I would be disappointed if he didn’t run a very big race in the “Getting Out Stakes”. At a bigger price Mount Mews (28/1 at BetVictor) reverts to timber and looks well treated for Donald McCain if returning to something like his best form.

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