Full trends preview and Gold Cup betting tips for the championship race on day 4 of the Cheltenham Festival 2014 at 3.20pm.
Friday is the last day of the Festival and the big race is the eagerly anticipated Betfred Cheltenham Gold Cup which is a chase over 3m2f. Normally recognised as the pinnacle of the Festival and steeped in a grand history, this is the race we’ve all been waiting for. This year's renewal looks to be a great contest with the reigning champion – Bobs Worth, back to defend his crown against the likes of Silviniaco Conti, First Lieutenant and Last Instalment to name but a few. Here are the all important trends to help with your selection.
10 out of the last 10 winners had won a Grade 1 chase.
10 out of the last 10 winners were sent off 8/1 or shorter.
10 out of the last 10 winners were aged between 6 and 9.
10 out of the last 10 winners had raced at the Festival previously.
10 out of the last 10 winners had won at least 3 times over fences.
10 out of the last 10 winners were French or Irish bred.
9 out of the last 10 winners had run between 2 and 5 times that season.
9 out of the last 10 winners had an OR of at least 166.
8 out of the last 10 winners had won on thier latest start.
8 out of the last 10 winners had won a Grade 1 chase over 3m.
Starting with the outsiders of the race, Venetia Williams saddles two in the form of Houblon Des Obeaux (100/1 bet365) and Katenko (100/1 BetVictor). Both are high class horses and have been running big races in graded contests so deserve their spot but the trends say they need to markedly improve to have a chance. Knockara Beau (66/1 William Hill) is an old warrior and deserves a shot after lowering the colours of Big Buck’s over hurdles and any transition of that form will give him a chance but despite that his chase rating is lower and he will have a lot to find. Cloudy Too (66/1 Betfred) is rated far inferior to the market principles and should be dismissed.
Teaforthree (50/1 BetVictor) has been a great horse at a level just lower than this but it is well known that this race is being used more as a prep for the National. The first two from the RSA last year are both returning to the Festival and Lord Windermere (33/1 Coral) and Lyreen Legend (40/1 bet365) could produce a shock. The trends slightly favour Lord Windermere but on recent form they have a lot to make up with some of the market principles. On His Own (20/1 William Hill) also comes over from Ireland and has been in good form with two wins recently, a victory in a Grade 2 looking particularly impressive. Again like many others, the trends say it will be tough and the horses' form at Cheltenham is a big negative.
Of those who are more likely to claim victory, we start with the two representatives of Gigginstown Stud – Last Instalment and First Lieutenant. First Lieutenant (11/1 BetVictor) finished as the runner-up in the Ryanair last year and was also the runner-up to Bobs Worth in the RSA in 2012. The horse has shown great form but three wins from 18 races over fences is pretty disconcerting and he will need to produce his best to enter contention here. LAST INSTALMENT (8/1 Betfred) suffered a bad injury earlier in his career but has come back and destroyed a strong field at Leopardstown on his latest run. A reproduction of that form will put him right into contention here and, if all is well with the horse, he should every chance, even though he lacks a great deal of experience.
The Giant Bolster (16/1 Ladbrokes) has finished second and fourth in the race and could well place again after a good win in the Argento chase over C&D. He will be facing far stiffer opposition today and will probably need to improve to challenge the market principles.
Of those at the head of the market, Silviniaco Conti (3/1 Coral) is Paul Nicholls runner and the horse has every chance of adding another victory to Nicholls' impressive tally. He smashed a good field in the King George which is normally a good trial for this race. It’s hard to know if he would have won when falling in last years Gold Cup but if the horse runs up to his best form then he will have a great chance, something which is backed up by the trends.
Nicky Henderson saddles the reigning champion Bobs Worth (7/4 Betfred) as well as Triolo D’Alene (10/1 Ladbrokes). Triolo D’Alene has been gambled on since being entered for the race and if running up to his Hennessy form he would have a chance, but this is a far greater ask. It is though, hard to find many chinks in the armour of the reigning champ Bobs Worth. Despite faltering in the Betfair chase he was back to his brilliant best at Leopardstown in December and the trends are very much in favour of the reclaiming his title. Undoubtedly Nicky Henderson will have made sure that the horse is primed to run another great race.
Despite a good quality field, the trends focus on only three runners – Bobs Worth, Silviniaco Conti and LAST INSTALMENT. Between the three, the value lies with Last Instalment whose last win was superb when crushing First Lieutenant and a repetition of the form will give him every chance to claim victory and at the prices, he is the best bet in the race.
LAST INSTALMENT (WIN) (8/1 Betfred)
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