Daniel Hussey is back one final time for a look at Day 4 of the Cheltenham Festival.
Flooring Porter was a nice winner under a perfectly judged front-running ride from Danny Mullins.
One more day so let’s take a look at Cheltenham Friday.
13:30 Triumph Hurdle
Vauban was a talking horse prior to the Spring Juvelile Hurdle at Leopardstown, given his form with Piep Piper who won so impressively at Cheltenham in January.
He subsequently won very impressively and is now clear favourite for the Triumph.
I think he can justify the confidence in the market here, with a small hope that we could see an Our Conor or Goshen (sorry for the reminder) style performance.
If you want one at a price, Il Etait Temps was very impressive on debut in that same race at Leopardstown, and if taking to the track here, could outrun his odds on just his second start.
14:10 County Hurdle
State Man has long been targetted at a handicap at the Cheltenham Festival and takes his chances in the ultra-competitive County Hurdle.
Trainer Willie Mullins has a great record in the race and I think this is the right trip to see this horse at his best.
Expect him to go very close.
14:50 Albert Bartlett Novices Hurdle
Shantreusse is a horse that has come late to the party this season into a potential contender for the Albert Bartlett.
I backed him for this race before he won last time out on Clonmel.
While the form isn’t much to go on, he was visually impressive and having that form in heavy ground over 3 miles should suit him going around the New Course at Cheltenham.
An exciting prospect for the future.
15:30 Boodles Cheltenham Gold Cup
Minella Indo is a horse I’ve had on my mind for back-to-back Gold Cups for a while.
I’m not going to desert him now, and his run at the Dublin Racing Festival – after a disappointing run in cheekpieces in the King George – was the showing we needed to see ahead of his title defence.
This horse comes alive in the Spring – particularly around Cheltenham – and I’d expect him to be in the mix turning from home.
Tornado Flyer is a horse I just can’t let go unbacked at the current prices.
He won that King George at Kempton where Minealla Indo disappointed and pounced on what was admittedly a pace collapse upfront.
However, with Mullins expecting his horse to be well suited to the step-up in trip, this unexposed type could outrun his odds and would be one to play win and place.
16:10 Hunters Chase
Not a race I have a stong opinion on to be honest so happy to leave it from a betting point of view.
Billaway is probably a worthy favourite so hopefully he can finally get his Hunters Chase after two consecutive runner-up finishes.
16:50 Mares Chase
I’ve found this race very tough but given Concertista is the bigger of the three prices here, I’m going to side with her.
She has done nothing wrong over fences and handles the track very well with her form reading 2-1-2 over the last three Festivals.
17:30 Martin Pipe Handicap Hurdle
Langer Dan was backed off the boards to complete the Imperial Cup and Cheltenham Race double for a bonus before bumping into future Grae 1 chaser Galopin Des Champs in this race last year.
Following an early setback during this season, connections decided to target this race once again.
Unbelievably, he was dropped 3lb y the English handicapper for his prep run, leading him on a mark of 137 – which is just 2lb higher than his mark in 2021.
Should go very close (unless we bump into a Mullins machine again!!).
Cheltenham Day 4 Tips
- 13:30 Vauban, Il Etait Temps
- 14:10 State Man
- 14:50 Shantreuuse
- 15:30 Minella Indo, Tornado Flyer
- 16:10 No bet
- 16:50 Concertista
- 17:30 Langer Dan
Double: Minella Indo & Langer Dan
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