Ed Quigley is back for four final swings on Cheltenham Day 4.
The 2022 Cheltenham Festival has had a very interesting cat put amongst the pigeons; an absolute deluge of rain. Within 6 hours on Wednesday, the ground moved from bordering on Good ground to Heavy. So punting has a massively different dynamic to it.
I am taking on the “big two” in the Triumph Hurdle, as I think Fil Dor will absolutely thrive in conditions, and the New Course can bring all his stamina into play.
I expect him to be ridden positively and try and run the sting out of Vauban and Pied Piper.
He looks to have rock-solid claims.
The potential joker in the pack could be Doctor Parnassus for the Dan Skelton team. Admittedly, his form is nowhere near the level required yet, but he hasn’t been given the chance to try and strut his stuff at the top level.
The opposition didn’t see which way he went at Taunton last time out and I think he could be a real player here.
Ground riding on the soft side should hold no fears for him and I wouldn’t be shocked if he was at least the best of the “home team”
I envisage a decent day for the Dan Skelton team, and Protektorat can run a big race in the Gold Cup.
The unexposed seven-year-old pulverized the opposition at Aintree back in December, and although the form in the strictest sense is questionable, he did it so effortlessly that he gives the impression there is so much more to come, and testing ground should hold no fears.
If anything, he looked as though he thrived for soft ground and a proper trip last time out, and I think he is right in the mix here with far less miles on the clock than others.
In the finale, it is hard not to be attracted to the Gordon Elliott trained Hollow Games, who will love the ground, stays all day, and takes a big drop in class here.
Under rules, he has form figures of 1113 on Soft/heavy ground, with the latter of those coming in the Grade 1 Lawlor’s Of Naas.
In context, that looks very smart form, and off an official mark of 143, he really can make his class tell in this Conditional Jockeys’ event.
The excellent Jordan Gainford takes the ride, and I think the stamina demanding nature of this race will suit Hollow Games to a nicety for the stable that have won this a couple of times in recent years.
- Triumph – Fil Dor (win)
- Triumph – Doctor Parnassus (win/place)
- Gold Cup – Protektorat (win/place)
- Martin Pipe – Hollow Games (win/place)