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Cheltenham Festival tips day four: Can Native River land a famous Gold Cup?

Richard Marsh | 15 March 2019

Preview and odds for Gold Cup day

And so it’s come to this. Gold Cup day and the final seven races of the 2019 Cheltenham Festival.

We’ve already enjoyed three brilliant days of racing, and mercifully the expectant stormy weather has largely eased off.

But how does it end? Does defending champ Native River get the better of Presenting Percy in the Gold Cup? And does Sir Erec deliver on his promised potential? It’s your guide to day four of the Cheltenham Festival…

1:30 JCB Triumph Hurdle – Sir Erec

It’s been an unusual Festival in a way, in that we’ve been short of rock-solid bankers. But many will be hoping our tip Sir Erec can do the business in the opener.

And rightly so. The JP McManus-owned charger has been nothing short of superb over the last seven months, racking up four wins from five races.

His most recent run at Leopardstown was arguably his best yet, romping away to the Grade 1 Spring Hurdle by 6l from Gardens Of Babylon, who opposes again here.

This is looking like the start of something special for Sir Erec, and a Festival win would be the perfect way to justifiably up the hype.

3.30 Cheltenham Gold Cup – Kemboy

With several realistic winners in the field, this promises to be a belting showpiece.

Can Native River become the first runner since Best Mate to win successive Gold Cups? Two so-so races this season will have rivals fancying their chances, however.

None more so than Presenting Percy, who wins according to form. But will there be enough cut in the ground for Patrick Kelly’s mud-happy charger? 

Clan Des Obeaux has impressed this season, beating both Native River, 2018 runner-up Might Bite and Thistlecrack to win the King George on Boxing Day, while Kemboy comfortably had the better of Bellshill at Leopardstown in December.

It’s the latter we’re going with. Kemboy offered little in the JLT Novices’ Chase 12 months ago, but comes into this one with far better form having won his last four races by a total of 23l.

Willie Mullins’ raider also heads to Cheltenham with a longer rest than last year, and that could work in his favour.

Mullins has never won the Gold Cup, but there is Gold Cup success in the family with father Paddy landing the race with legendary Dawn Run in 1986.

4.10 St James’s Place Foxhunter Chase – Shantou Flyer

The seven-year-old Stand Up And Fight is favourite, but the Foxhunter Chase has been dominated by more seasoned runners in recent years.

Eight of the last nine races have been claimed by horses eight years or older. Experience is key for this 3m 2f challenge. And that’s why we’re looking at Richard Hobson’s Shantou Flyer as our tip.

The nine-year-old was a fine second in the Ultima Handicap Chase 12 months ago, beaten a neck by Coo Star Sivola.

He underwent wind surgery in the summer, and returned with a solid run on season debut at Warwick in January. A pair of wins in February suggests Shantou Flyer should be in the hunt for the big one.

Cheltenham Racing Tips

1:30 JCB Triumph Hurdle – Sir Erec

2:10 Randox Health Handicap – Ch’tibello

2:50 Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle – Commander Of Fleet

3:30 Cheltenham Gold Cup – Kemboy

4:10 St James’s Place Foxhunter Chase – Shantou Flyer

4.50 Grand Annual Chase – Not Another Muddle

5:30 Martin Pipe Hurdle – Pym e/w

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All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing