We have a fantastic race with some classy looking juveniles to kick off the final day of the festival this year, and my selection to take the win in the opener is the unbeaten Quilixios.
He has gone from strength to strength and has already won a Grade 1 over in Leopardstown, where he easily saw off the likes of Saint Sam and Youmdor, both out of the Mullins camp. His bare form alone would see him going very close here. The time figures back up all of his performances and he is yet to have been asked a question by his jockey in any of his races.
He travels very strongly, making me believe there is also a big turn of foot behind this animal that we have not yet seen, because no one has managed to get close to him. Rachael Backmore takes the ride on what could be another huge day for the super jockey after already notching up four of the Grade 1’s at this year’s festival. She can only be a positive to the first of our Cheltenham Day 4 tips.
Zanahiyr looks like another with a big future, and was impressive when dominating in a recent Grade 3, but still has to show he is up to this level. He travels like a powerhouse but this is by far his toughest task to date and may want a bit further than this in time.
The Irish again have a strong hand in this and have a few at the top of the market. I have backed Stattler ante post for the event ,but he is too short in the market now for our Cheltenham Day 4 tips.
It may be a good opportunity for the home team to get a winner on the board, and I am now leaning towards the Paul Nicholls trained Barbados Bucks. He is a very scopey type who will relish the conditions of Cheltenham and is guaranteed to stay.
Paul Nicholls has been very bullish about his chances here, and has a striking profile for this type of contest. Three from three in novice hurdles over 3 miles this season, he looks a very solid option in a wide open race.
I would like to mention the Fergal O’Brien trained Alaphilippe, who is the battle hardened winner of a Grade 2 most recently, and is another likely to relish this test. He comes with high hopes from a stable that isn’t blessed with the usual big owners of the game. It would be nothing more than they deserved as a team if he was able to do the business here. He’s not without a chance and has assured stamina in his arsene!
WIN:- BARBADOS BUCKS
My Nap of the festival, and the last of my Cheltenham Day 4 tips, comes in the mouthwatering Cheltenham Gold Cup. It looks like a race that could set many a headline this year, with Al Boum Photo lining up trying to win his third successive Gold cup in what would emulate this likes of Arkle and Best Mate.
You also have Rachael Blackmore due to saddle A Plus Tard – and she has already won four of the Grade 1’s ran at this years festival. She was the first female Jockey to win the Champion Hurdle on Tuesday, and could be the first female to win the Gold Cup also come Friday.
We have 2018 Gold Cup winner Native River set to take his place after an impressive all the way victory last time out in the Cotswold chase. We have the ultra progressive Royal Pagaille set to take his chance after a series of wins on soft and heavy ground. All of these come here with great chances, but the later two will not find the drying conditions a benefit.
My Nap of the Festival this year however comes in the form of the aptly named Champ, who won the RSA at last years Festival. He comes here after running a blinder in the 2 miles Game Spirit chase, where he surprised many by getting to within 2 lengths of speed specialist Sceau Royal.
Trainer Nicky Henderson was criticised heavily before the race about the route he had taken with our selection, however it is now starting to look like a bit of a genius move. It blew all of the cobwebs away for Champ following his wind surgery and showed us that he retains all of his ability from last year. He would have very much needed that run and will come on buckets for it. There was an excellent show of jumping last time out and he is extremely well suited to Cheltenham’s track. He has some tough rivals however our selection will be crowned Champ by name and Champ by nature!!
E/W:- A Plus Tard
That’s it for our Cheltenham Day 4 tips – best of luck and stay tuned for our festival summary following all of the action on the final day!