On The Cards: Today at Cheltenham
Gold Cup day begins with the Triumph Hurdle at 1.30 with the market headed by the Paul Nicholls-trained Calipto. He was a comfortable winner at Newbury last time and the form of his debut victory at the same course has worked out well.
The consistent Guitar Pete looks the best of the Irish raiders and holds Tiger Roll and Plinth on Leopardstown form. John Quinn saddles a promising duo in Pearl Castle and Rutherglen.
The Vincent O’Brien County Hurdle at 2.05 looks a real minefield for punters. The best backed horses this week have been Arctic Fire and Cheltenian. Lac Fontana and Flaxen Flare are others that should run well in a wide open contest.
The Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle at 2.40 has produced a very hot contest. David Pipe has his horses in fine form this week and Kings Palace has been at the head of the market since winning here in December.
The unbeaten Briar Hill won the Champion Bumper last season and remains unbeaten over hurdles. He has been less impressive than Kings Palace and may have preferred a bit more cut in the ground.
The Cheltenham Gold Cup at 3.20 looks likely to become a duel between last year’s winner Bobs Worth and the King George winner Silviniaco Conti. The Paul Nicholls-trained runner was an unlucky faller three out last year when seemingly full of running and it could be close between the pair.
The firm ground may just favour Bobs Worth who was particularly impressive at Leopardstown. Stable companion Triolo D’Alene could be good enough to take third place and line up a Grand National bid.
Tammys Hill could be the answer to the Foxhunter Chase at four o’clock. He was slightly disappointing when only third at Fairyhouse but may prove too strong for Oscar Delta and On The Fringe.
Pipe’s Vieux Lion Rouge is his only representative in the race named in honour of his father. However, Nicky Henderson’s Full Shift looks a progressive type and could have sneaked in with a favourable weight.
The closing Grand Annual Chase could go to Alan King’s Raya Star who was a high class hurdler. He is gradually improving over fences and could deny Henderson’s French Opera and Tanks For That.
Selections: 1.30 Guitar Pete, 2.05 Cheltenian, 2.40 Kings Palace, 3.20 Bobs Worth, 4.00 Tammys Hill, 4.40 Full Shift, 5.15 Raya Star