2016 CHELTENHAM FESTIVAL – DAY FOUR – Who’ll Be Landing ‘Gold’ At Cheltenham On Friday?
2016 Cheltenham Festival Free Tips – DAY FOUR – Where has this week gone? We are now heading into the final day at the Cheltenham Festival this Friday, but it’s possible that the best has been saved for last. Yes, all eyes will be on Victoria Pendleton, who rides Pacha Du Polder, in the Foxhunters (good luck to her), but, of course, the day’s feature race is the Gold Cup – Can top Irish trainer, Willie Mullins, who has saddled the runner-up for the past three years, finally grab a win in the meetings showcase race?
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13:30 JCB Triumph Hurdle 2m 1f
THATSBETTINGTIPS VERDICT: So onto Day Four and we get started – as always – with the ultra-competitive Triumph Hurdle, a race that has produced many decent horses over the years. In terms of the stats then with 18 of the last 22 winners winning last time out this is a good place to start, plus 9 of the last 11 winners came from the top 4 in the betting. The Aidan O’Brien yard will be looking for a rare win over the sticks here with Ivanovich Gorbatov, but the horse was only fourth last time out so despite being one of the market leaders falls down on not having won last time out. Nicky Henderson is by-far the best recent trainer in the race – he’s landed the pot six times in all and three times since 2009 (including 12 months ago). The Spring Hurdle, run at Leopardstown last month, has often been a good guide, with 3 of the last 4 winners having run in that race. The Willie Mullins-trained Footpad (e/w) took that race – beating Ivanovich Gorbatov – with a bit to spare, so it’s odd that he’s almost three time the price. However, the Adonis Hurdle at Kempton is another good trial and with that in mind the Paul Nicholls-trained ZUBAYR is the main pick here. He won that race by 3 ¼ lengths on his British debut after coming over from France and with his being just his fourth career run there should be a fair bit to come. The Nicholls camp are also no strangers to winning this day four opening race – having laned the prize in 2008 with Celestial Halo, and more recently in 2011 with Zarkandar. This horse ticks a lot of the main trends, including winning last time out, winning a good trial race, lightly-raced, being high in the betting and from the powerful Nicholls yard – so everything looks in place for a massive run!
- 18 of the last 22 winners won last time out
- 9 of the last 11 came from the top 4 in the betting
- Respect Henderson, Nicholls, and King runners
- 7 of the last 12 first ran over hurdles in November
- 8 of the last 10 winners returned 13/2 or shorter
- The Spring Juvenile Hurdle is a good guide
- 4 of the last 7 winners had run in France before
- Nicky Henderson has trained 6 winners in the race
- Take on horses that have won at 2m2f or further in the past
- Avoid horses that last ran 56 days or longer ago
- Avoid horses that had run 3 or more times over hurdles
- Be careful of horses rated 138 or lower – no winner in the last 10
14:50 Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle 3m
THATSBETTINGTIPS VERDICT: Jonjo O’Neill and the Irish have won 6 of the last 10 runnings of this race so take that into account, but that might change this year as the Ben Pauling-trained BARTERS HILL looks to be a big player here. This 6 year-old has won all his career starts to date (4 NH Flat, 3 Hurdles), and despite not being that impressive last time out the Cheltenham track should suit this strong galloper right down to the ground – if that’s the case there should be more to come. Horses that finished first or second last time out have a great record, and although it’s a surprising stat the Willie Mullins yard are currently 0 from 18 in the race. Shantou Village should not be too far away and has done little wrong this season, including when winning here back in November, while the improving Uknowhatimeanharry is another CD winner that seems to be going the right way – but does still have a bit to find on these terms with Barters Hill and Shantou Village.
- The Irish have won 7 of the last 9
- The last 10 winners were rated in the 130’s
- 8 of the last 10 winners were aged 5 or 6 years-old
- 9 of the last 10 winners were priced in double-figures
- Look for Mullins, Martins & Nicholls runners
- Respect the Imperial Cup (Sandown Park) winner
- Ruby Walsh has ridden 4 winners in the last 12
- 9 of the last 15 winners came from the top 5 in the betting
- 11 of the last 12 winners were 1st or 2nd season hurdlers
- Strangely previous course winners have a bad record
- Since 1960 only 3 winners carried more than 11st 2lb
- Avoid runners that hadn’t raced at least 4 times that season
15:30 Betfred Cheltenham Gold Cup Chase 3m 2½f
THATSBETTINGTIPS VERDICT: It’s a shame when we don’t’ get the chance to see the current champion defending his title as Coneygree was ruled out of this race a while ago. That said, we still look set for a ‘crackerjack’ of a race – one top Irish trainer Willie Mullins will be hoping to win for the first time. He’s had the runner-up for the past three years though, so to say he’s been knocking on the door is a massive understatement. He’ll have Don Poli, Vautour and Djakadam running under his name and all three head with huge chances. Vauttour was a classy winner of the JLT at the festival last year and wasn’t disgraced when finishing second to Cue Card in the King George. A lot of people think he didn’t stay that day, but his connections are sure he will get home over this extra distance and if that’s the case rates a big player. Djakadam was runner-up 12 months ago at just 6 years-old and with another year on his back looks sure to go well too. He was going well when falling in the Cotswold Chase here in January though – a race Smad Place went onto win. If that tumble hasn’t left its mark he should not be far away, but might still just have a bit to prove in this grade and agasint the very best staying chasers. Colin Tizzard’s Cue Card will be chasing the £1 million bonus after winning the Betfair Chase and King George, but at 10 years-old he’ll be looking to become the first horse since Cool Dawn (1998) to win at that age. DON COSSACK bounced back to form with a good win at Thurles last time out after falling when in with a huge shout in the King George the time before. He can race a bit lazy at times, but the stiff Cheltenham finish should suit and he’s the call. Yes, he was only third in the Ryanair last year, but looking back that trip was probably on the sharp side for him and over this 3m2f distance, and providing he can stay in touch, should be ruinng on when others have cried enough. Don Poli, last year’s RSA winner, is the final one worth a mention. He’s unbeaten at the track after also winning the Martin Pipe Hurdle race in 2014 – he heads here in cracking order after wins at Aintree and Leopardstown. He will be another looking to give Willie Mullins his first win in this famous race, but it could also be a first for one of the other top Irish yards as we’ll be sticking with Gordon Elliott’s Don Cossack here.
- 14 of the last 16 winners ran in the Lexus or King George that season
- 13 of the last 15 finished 1st or 2nd last time out
- 11 of the last 15 had won or placed 2nd at the festival before
- 14 of the last 15 winners hailed from the top 3 in the betting
- 14 of the last 15 winners had raced no more than 12 times over fences
- 15 of the last 19 winners were bred in Ireland
- 7 of the last 10 winners won last time out
- 4 of the last 10 favourites won
- ALL of the last 16 winners were aged 9 or younger
- Non Grade One winners are 0 from the last 16 runnings
- No winner older than 10 years-old since 1969 (0 from 65)
- Horses rated 166 or less are only 3 from last 15
- Avoid horses that had run on ‘heavy’ ground that season (0 from 65)
- Horses wearing headgear are 0 from 35
- Willie Mullins is yet to win the race, 0 from 14 (had last 3 seconds though)
Best Of The Rest: The County Hurdle at 2.10 has been a great race for the Irish in recent years – having won 7 of the last 9, while the last 10 winners were all rated in the 130’s. Ruby Walsh has a good recent record in the race too, while Willie Mullins, Tony Martin and Paul Nicholls runners must be respected. 8 of the last 10 winner were aged 5 or 6 years-old so based on those trends the two that stand-out are the Paul Nicholls-trained MARRACUDJA (e/w) and the Dan Skelton-trained SUPERB STORY (e/w). The Foxhunter Chase at 4.10 will revolve around the Victoria Pendleton-ridden Pacha Du Polder. It will be a remarkable effort if she can win it and on the ratings would seem to have a chance. On The Fringe took the race 12 months ago, but is 11 years-old now and with 23 of the last 25 winners aged 10 or younger that’s a huge trend against this horse. 23 of the last 30 won last time out, and 9 of the last 10 ran in the last 34 days – with those in mind, MENDIP EXPRESS, who is also a past CD winner, is the call. This Philip Hobbs-trained 10 year-old is still lightly-raced (12 runs) despite his age and comes here having won both his Hunter Chase races. The Martin Pipe race at 4.50 looks a tough race to call this year, but Willie Mullins is 3 from 8 here so anything he runs should be noted, while 6 of the last 7 winners finished in the top four last time out – 5 & 6 year-olds have also won ALL 7 renewals. Moving onto the final race of the 2016 Cheltenham Festival – the Grand Annual at 5.30 and really here you want a horse with less than 11-0, that had run at the festival in the past. JP McManus has owned 3 winners and had 8 more placed. EASTLAKE (e/w) was runner-up in the race 12 months ago to Next Sensation – who looks another big player again – but the Jonjo O’Neill-trained Eastlake is a few pounds lower this year and despite some poor races this term has a decent overall track record. He’s sure to make another bold bid to give his popular owner – JP McManus – another winner in this curtain closing contest.
Enjoy Day FOUR
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