Cheltenham Festival 2018 – Day 4
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We have reached the final day of another incredible Cheltenham Festival, and we finish with Gold Cup Day. The Irish have dominated the week again, with Gordon Elliott and Willie Mullins both returning 6 winners each over the week so far. However, Nicky Henderson is on the verge of landing an historic treble if Might Bite can land the Gold Cup and give him an unprecedented clean sweep of Cheltenham’s big three races. Buveur D’Air won the Champion Hurdle on Day 1, before Altior secured the Queen Mother Champion Chase on Day 2. Now if Might Bite can land the Gold Cup, it will go down as Henderson’s biggest achievement.
13.30 – 2m1f JCB Triumph Hurdle (Grade 1) (Class 1) (4yo)
A number of these runners arrive with unbeaten records, but Apple’s Shakira has won her last three races all at this track – the last two over C&D. At 7/4, she looks a good price and can get the day off to the perfect start for Nicky Henderson. Redicean brings a record of 3-3 over hurdles, the latest a convincing Grade 2 success. Can be in the mix and looks a solid each-way bet at 5/1.
Apple’s Shakira – Win 7/4
Redicean – E/W 5/1
2.10 – 2m1f Randox Health County Handicap Hurdle (Grade 3) (Class 1) (5yo+)
Twenty-six runners line up for this Grade 3 Hurdle race and it is a wide-open field. The selection is Chesterfield who won big-field handicaps at Aintree and Ayr last year and looks to be peaking for this at the right time. His odds of 16/1 look very generous. Flying Tiger won the Fred Winter here last year, goes off a decent mark and looks a solid each-way bet at 12/1, whilst Smaoineamh Alainn has won all three starts over hurdles since switching to hurdles for his new stable and looks to have an each-way chance at 16/1.
Chesterfield – Win 16/1
Flying Tiger – E/W 12/1
Smaoineamh Alainn – E/W 16/1
2.50 – 3m Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle (Grade 1) (Registered As The Spa Novices’ Hurdle) (Class 1)(4yo+)
Another big line-up of 20 runners, where Chef Des Obeaux clearly has leading claims. Won comfortably against a very good field at Haydock in a Grade 2 latest and can be too good again. Beyond The Law looks an interesting prospect at 40/1 having won easily at Clonmel and Limerick, before disappointing at Thurles. Has had a wind operation since and could prove to be a real stayer.
Chef Des Obeaux – Win 5/1
Beyond The Law – E/W 40/1
3.30 – 3m2½f Timico Cheltenham Gold Cup Chase (Grade 1) (Class 1) (5yo+)
Can Might Bite land the dream treble for Nicky Henderson and win the Gold Cup? We think so despite his quirks, evident when nearly throwing away the RSA at this meeting last year. He’s certainly one of the very best chasers around and is surely the one to beat. Definitely Red looks a great each-way price at 12/1 after wins at Aintree in a Listed contest, before his latest win here in a Grade 2.
Might Bite – Win 4/1
Definitely Red – E/W 12/1
4.10 – 3m2½f St. James’s Place Foxhunter Challenge Cup Open Hunters’ Chase (Class 2) (5yo+)
Twenty-four runners for this one in another competitive race. The votes goes to Foxrock who boasted a record of 4-4 in hunter chases last year. Runner-up to a very good rival on reappearance at Thurles and is sure to be a major player at 8/1. Volnay De Thaix is now 2-2 for his new trainer and is an interesting each-way prospect after a 250-day break at odds of 20/1.
Foxrock – Win 8/1
Volnay De Thaix – E/W 20/1
4.50 – 2m4½f Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle (Class 2) (4yo+ 0-145)
A long list of potential winners for the penultimate race of the Festival. Carter McKay was placed in a Grade 1 at Leopardstown last time out and remains on the same mark for handicap debut, so is of obvious interest at 14/1. Brillare Momento has a solid course record, including a C&D win, and picked up a decent Towcester win last time out. Good each-way price at 33/1.
Carter McKay – Win 14/1
Brillare Momento – E/W 33/1
5.30 – 2m½f Johnny Henderson Grand Annual Challenge Cup Handicap Chase (Grade 3) (Class 1)(5yo+)
The final race of the 2018 Festival sees 24 runners trying to claim the final prize of the week. Rock The World finished third in this race in 2016 and won it last year off a 6lb lower mark. Has shown he can win this and looks tempting at 16/1. Forest Bihan has a good 2m novice chase record and is an obvious threat – a good each-way chance at 20/1,
Rock The World – Win 16/1
Forest Bihan – E/W 20/1