THE FINAL COUNTDOWN

THE FINAL COUNTDOWN
March 19, 2021 Lee Bolingbroke

Back to the musical headline today, with thanks to Europe for their 1986 hit, which, as an aside, reached the Number One slot in 25 different countries.

Round three of the Cheltenham Festival definitely went in our favour with two double figure priced winners and we hope to deliver the knockout blow today.

The Wellchild Cheltenham Gold Cup at 3.05 is the obvious place to start, with a field of 12 headed by the three-peat seeking Al Boum Photo at 5-2.

It’s just 7 runs ago that Al Boum Photo was soundly beaten in the Punchestown Gold Cup by today’s opponent Kemboy, which, for once, appears to have had a trouble free preparation for today’s race and is the mount of yesterday’s hero Danny Mullins.

On this ground and assuming Danny-Boy can get the fractions as spot on as he did on Flooring Porter yesterday, we think Kemboy has a cracking chance and is our each way selection at 18-1.

The day’s action starts with the JCB Triumph Hurdle, a race which would appear to revolve around the first three in the betting.

Tritonic is the big hope of the home team after wins at Ascot and Kempton, beating Casa Loupi each time, latterly by a much bigger margin. Visually Alan King‘s charge looked impressive, but its victim failed to win a Novice hurdle at Plumpton (of all places) next time and looked beaten before a saddle slip late on.

We again (yawn) prefer the chances of the two Irish trained runners, both of which are ex-Gordon Elliot. There are interlocking form lines between Zanahiyr and Quilixios, which points us towards the latter, now in the safe hands of Henry & Rachel. Have a win bet at 5-2.

The County Handicap Hurdle at 1.55 is a simple 26 runner affair, but we have no hesitation in nominating Eclair De Beaufeu as our selection.

This 7-y-o may well have pouched this race two years ago, but for unseating at the last and is back for another go. Rated a stone higher over fences, EDB warmed up for this with a ‘tender’ staying on 6th of 22 at Leopardstown last month and Jack Kennedy can do the biz this afternoon. Have an each way bet at 9-1.

The Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle comes along at 2.30 and, if you’ve not tried Albert‘s Crinkle Cut Chips yet, you should – available from Waitrose.

(“Get on with it!” “Yes, sorry”)

Our pick for this 3m contest is another ex-Gordon Elliot runner, name of Fakiera.

This 6-y-o looks all about stamina and its first try at the trip will, hopefully, be a winning one. We recommend a win bet at 7-2.

Hunters take centre stage at 3.40 for the St James’s Place Festival Challenge Cup and we put up two against the field, starting with the favourite Billaway, which can be backed at 5-2.

Also favourite for last year’s race, when beaten by a 50-1 poke, Mr Mullins‘ horse has improved since and is on a roll – not to be lightly opposed.

One from the ‘home’ contingent now – have a bit each way on Salvatore at an artisan 33-1. This 8-y-o is a 10 time Point winner and beat the highly rated Alcala at Musselburgh last month without turning a hair, a run which gives it more of a chance than its odds would suggest.

Finally we come to the Mrs Paddy Power Mares’ Chase at 4.15, which will be won by Willie Mullins (There’s a surprise).

Of his two runners, we are in favour of Colreevy, unbeaten in three this season and still on the improve. Have a win bet at 3-1 to turn over the odds-on fav.

And so, for now, we say farewell.

Summary:

Kemboy 3.05 Cheltenham 1pt e/w @ 18-1 (4 places)

Quilixios 1.20 Cheltenham 2pts win @ 5-2

Eclair De Beaufeu 1.55 Cheltenham 1pt e/w @ 9-1 (6 places Bet365)

Fakiera 2.30 Cheltenham 2pts win @ 7-2

Billaway 3.40 Cheltenham 3pts win @ 5-2

Salvatore 3.40 Cheltenham 1pt e/w @ 33-1 (4 places)

Colreevy 4.15 Cheltenham 2pts win @ 3-1

 

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