Climax of the Cheltenham Festival arrives at 3.30 this afternoon, with the Magners Cheltenham Gold Cup, which has a field of 16.
Favourite at an uneasy 4-1 is the Patrick Kelly trained Presenting Percy, winner of the RSA at this meeting last year. In an unusual preparation, PP has appeared only once since that victory and that was a spin over hurdles in January (won it), so at least it arrives as fresh as paint.
Second favourite is the rapidly improving Clan Des Obeaux, described by Paul Nicholls as ‘twice the horse’ this season, having taken the King George in December,before dishing out weight and a thrashing to Terrefort at Ascot.
Such is the confidence oozing from Dicheat, we recommend an each way bet at 5-1.
Action commences with the JCB Triumph Hurdle at 1.30 which sees the appearance of the Banker of the meeting in Sir Erec. Or is it??
Although unbeaten in both starts over hurdles, we just have a niggling doubt that this horse’s jumping will stand the test and, at odds-on, we’ll take it on.
Have each way bets on Quel Destin at 8-1 and Pentland Hills at 20-1 – you just never know.
At 2.10 the Randox Health County Handicap Hurdle has a field of just 26, so this should be easy, then.
Let’s throw three each way darts at it, without boring explanations, and hope for the best:
Leoncavallo @ 20-1; Crooks Peak @ 11-1; Monsieur Lecoq @ 8-1.
The Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle follows at 2.50 and the two we like against this 20 runner field are Commander Of Fleet at 15-2 and Derrinross at 12-1, both each way de rigeur.
At 4.10, it’s the turn of the Hunters, with the St James’s Place Foxhunter Challenge Cup over the Gold Cup distance. This is the race that traditionally has an Irish trained favourite and an English trained winner and we hope this trend continues today.
Pacha Du Polder has won this race for the past two years, but tempus fugits and all that, so we will place our faith in Caid Du Berlais at 7-1 and the prolific Hazel Hill at 5-1.
Here endeth the Cheltenham previews – a lie down in a darkened room beckons.
Clan Des Obeaux 3.30 Cheltenham 2pts e/w @ 5-1 (4 places)
Quel destin 1.30 Cheltenham 1pt e/w @ 8-1
Pentland Hills 1.30 Cheltenham 1pt e/w @ 20-1
Leoncavallo 2.10 Cheltenham 1pt e/w @ 20-1 (6 places)
Crooks Peak 2.10 Cheltenham 1pt e/w @ 11-1 (6 places)
Monsieur Lecoq 2.10 Cheltenham 1pt e/w @ 8-1 (6 places)
Commander Of Fleet 2.50 Cheltenham 1pt e/w @ 15-2 (4 places)
Derrinross 2.50 Cheltenham 1pt e/w @ 12-1 (4 places)
Caid Du Berlais 4.10 Cheltenham 2pts e/w @ 7-1 (4 places)
Hazel Hill 4.10 Cheltenham 1pt e/w @ 5-1 (4 places)