1.30 – JCB Triumph Hurdle Grade 1
Fast and furious with seventeen horses going to post. The top stables all represented and the market lead by Nicky Henderson’s Rolling Star, Paul Nicholls’ Far West and Dessie Hughes’ Irish hot pot, Our Conor. They have the best form in the book . What’s interesting to note is that 18 out of the last 20 winners had their prep race in February and the last 14 had all been tested at a mile and a half on the flat. Preference is for the Henderson runner, who’s prep race was winning the trial in the final week of January
Nicky Henderson is looking for the 50th Festival winner of his career
2.05 Vincent O´Brien County Handicap Hurdle
A very competitive race with many horses having their campaigns planned around it. Discoteca is interesting at 25-1 with good amateur jockey Jane Mangan taking the ride and could grab a place. Manyriverstocross is another at 33-1 who could bely his long odds.
2.40 Albert Bartlett Novices´ Hurdle
This should be all about At Fishers Cross , who has been improving all season and could given connections yet another win in the race. O’Faolains Boy could run well at bigger odds.
3.20 Betfred Cheltenham Gold Cup Chase
The feature race of the festival and this looks set to be a cracker. Paul Nicholls will be hoping Silviniaco Conti can step forward now that the great Kauto Star has retired, whilst Irish hopes will be with Sir Des Champs, trained by Willie Mullins. However, they could all be chasing home Bobs Worth, who has won on every start at the course and proved his metal when winning the Hennessy in the autumn. Previous winner Long Run will be sporting cheekpieces for the first time in the hope to brush up his jumping. It’ll be close, but Bobs Worth has that brilliant course form in the bag.
The ultimate prize in the sport – the Gold Cup
4.00 CGA Foxhunter Chase Challenge Cup
It’s advisiable to side with a recent winner in this race and this should come down to a dual between two horses in top form – Chapoturgeon and Salsify, with the latter coming home the victor and defend the title he won last year.
4.40 Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys´ Handicap Hurdle
Trainers have been preparing horses for this race in the hope to give one of their younger jockeys a Festival winner. Ma Filleule is the stand out each way bet, although Art Professor could run well again at 25-1. Gevrey Chambertin will rightly be popular.
5.15 Johnny Henderson Grand Annual Chase
Named after Nicky Henderson’s father and the Lambourn trainer will be eager to win this race again. Howver, ready preference is for the Tom George improver Rody , who’s recent win has been franked and then some. At 10-1, he looks an outstanding each way bet.