Expert Cheltenham 2014 tips for Friday 14th March and race preview for every race shown live on Channel 4 for day 4 of the Cheltenham Festival starting from 1.30pm.
Gold Cup day, those three words alone are more than enough to send a tingle of anticipation through any racing fan, a fitting end to the finest four days jump racing on offer anywhere in the world.
1.30 Triumph Hurdle Betting Tip
It's the young hurdlers who kick off the final day in what is traditionally a fast run race taking half the field well out of their comfort zone early. Calipto (7/2 bet365) has been favourite for this race since a runaway effort at Newbury last month. He is faced with very different underfoot conditions here but, if they are no hindrance, he must go close.
Guitar Pete (8/1 BetVictor) and Lindenhurst (16/1 Coral) have form together with one victory each over the other. The former has the better form in the book but the latter is more likely to appreciate the quick ground and could be overpriced.
PEARL CASTLE (11/1 Stan James) struggled on soft on his hurdling debut but has improved massively since. This is a big step up in class but trainer John Quinn knows what it takes to win this race. TIGER ROLL (9/1 BetVictor) has looked green on both his hurdling starts thus far but has shown a decent level of form. Less exposed compared to most of these he can play a big part in the finish.
1.30pm Betting Tips – PEARL CASTLE (WIN) (11/1 Stan James)
– TIGER ROLL (E/W) (9/1 BetVictor)
2.05 County Hurdle Betting Tip
The last large field handicap on Channel 4 is the County Hurdle, another race where it's advisable to take more than one against the field.
Diakali (25/1 Coral) was beaten less than three lengths by Champion Hurdle hero Jezki on his most recent start. That form is as strong as this race offers and, although it won't be easy for this perennial front runner to dominate his field, he must be respected. Flaxen Flare (16/1 Ladbrokes) doesn't know how to run a bad race. He has been thereabouts in some big handicaps this season and despite being higher in the weights may still finish in the places once again.
UPAZO (25/1 Stan James) didn't seem to act on the soft ground in a Grade 1 at Kempton last time but, back on a sounder surface, can resume the promise he showed when bolting up at Fairyhouse. ARTIC FIRE (7/1 William Hill) ran a massive race in The Royal Bond in December when keeping on all the way to the line in a strong race. Unexposed he should prove much better than this mark and could be the answer.
Cheltenian (10/1 Coral) ran a stormer on his handicap debut at Newbury where the ground wouldn't have been ideal. A former Festival winner, he is entitled to plenty of respect.
Alaivan (16/1 Stan James) has been the subject of a gamble on more than one occasion this season with the money staying in bookies satchels. He is worth monitoring in the betting once more having squeezed in at the bottom of the weights.
2.05 Betting Tips – ARCTIC FIRE (WIN) (7/1 William Hill)
– UPAZO (E/W) (25/1 Stan James)
2.40 Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle Betting Tip
Briar Hill (5/4 Coral) comes here with a massive reputation to uphold having bolted up in the bumper last year. Unbeaten in five starts under rules he has only beaten three rivals in two starts this season but is the one to beat.
The Challow Hurdle has thrown up some decent winners in the past, Captain Cutter (12/1 Stan James) being the most recent victor in the race. That was on heavy ground and he is unproven over the trip but he does have a verdict over KINGS PALACE (4/1 Coral) in an Ascot bumper 15 months ago.
David Pipe's charge has been massively impressive this season running decent fields into the ground on the last two occasions here. It's hard to know how good he might be but will be the strongest opponent Briar Hill will have faced.
Urban Hymn (25/1 BetVictor) is unproven on this sort of ground both has enough form in the book to give him a solid each way chance if he can handle conditions.
2.40 Betting Tip – KINGS PALACE (WIN) (4/1 Coral)
3.20 Gold Cup Betting Tip
The big one, it's finally time for the best three mile chasers to clash at Prestbury Park, an electric atmosphere and season long expectation combine for the pinnacle of the National Hunt season.
BOBS WORTH (7/4 Betfred) arrives in an attempt to retain his title with an all important confidence booster behind him at Leopardstown over Christmas. He has win on good ground though might ideally prefer it softer but we know he does nothing but gallop all the way to the line.
First Lieutenant (11/1 BetVictor) has two ways of running, two excellent efforts this season and the other pair below par. If in the form of his Lexus Chase effort he looks a good each way bet, however, if on an off day like at Down Royal the time before he could be beaten out of sight.
King George winner Silviniaco Conti (3/1 bet365) looks to be the main threat to Bobs Worth. Still travelling well when falling three out in this last year he has the chance to redeem himself. Like Bobs Worth he has won on good ground but it may not be ideal for him.
A horse who will love the quick ground is Hennessy winner Triolo D'Alene (10/1 Ladbrokes) who has improved leaps and bounds in the past year. He still has a lot to find to trouble the principals but if they run below par on this quick surface he may be the one to mop up the pieces. There has been sustained each way support for him although he hasn't run well either start here.
3.20 Betting Tip – BOBS WORTH (WIN) (7/4 Betfred)
4.00 Foxhunters Chase Betting Tip
The Amateur Gold Cup over the same C&D as the big one can often seem an anticlimax to some but to the connections this is the biggest race of their year.
BERTIE'S DREAM (16/1 Ladbrokes) has only won a couple of point to points this season but when we last saw him under rules he was a big priced fifth in the Pertemps Final last year. The winner of that race, Holywell, has followed up at this years festival so this old stayer looks a shade overpriced.
CERTAIN FLIGHT (20/1 Betfred) has won plenty of points and could hardly have made a more impressive start under rules at Huntingdon last month. This is a massive step up in grade but the market may have easily underestimated him. Harbour Court (9/2 BetVictor) stays very well and relishes good ground as he showed when bolting up here last May. This has been the target for a long time and whilst he is young enough to still be improving is short enough on what he has actually accomplished.
On The Fringe (7/2 Stan James) and Tammy's Hill (7/1 Coral) are Ireland's two main hopes and they have a record of one win each against the other this season. The former may just be the one to act slightly better on this surface and is preferred of that pair.
Oscar Delta (10/1 Betfred) is a standing dish in this race, running well on more than one occasion. Now 11 years-old he is past his prime but the big day brings out the best in him and he may yet be set for one last hurrah. Pearlysteps (12/1 BetVictor) was formally a very useful handicapper and has taken to Hunter Chases well winning both starts this season. He won on good ground in his youth but this might be a little quick for him these days.
4.00 Betting Tip – BERTIE’S DREAM (WIN) (16/1 Ladbrokes)
– CERTAIN FLIGHT (E/W) (20/1 Betfred)
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