It’s a fact of life that all good things come to an end, and unfortunately that’s the case with the Cheltenham Festival too, upon which the curtain will fall on Friday.
But what a finale we have to look forward to: a couple of classy renewals (Triumph Hurdle, Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle) before the biggie; the Gold Cup.
So if you have a decent bankroll burning a hole in your pocket, or are down to the bare bones looking fo a pick-me-up, hopefully these Day 4 betting tips will bring home some bacon!
Defi Do Back This Horse
The Triumph Hurdle gets things underway on Friday, and for our money it is the favourite – Defi Du Seuil – is the smart punt at 9/4.
This French horse came to the UK under the stewardship of Phillip Hobbs, and he has enjoyed a fine campaign to date.
The obvious standouts were nine and thirteen-length victories in JCB Triumph Trial Juvenile Hurdle and Future Champions Finale Juvenile Hurdle respectively, and with spots of rain expected on Thursday and Friday hopefully the ground will soften suitably.
Owner JP McManus has an outstanding record in this renewal; can Defi Du Seuil extend that yet further?
Friday’s second race also offers an opportunity for favourite-backers. The Foxhunters’ Chase has been won by On The Fringe for the past two years in a row, and an incredible hat-trick appears to be in the offing.
This isn’t a sentimental pick either: the 12-year-old genuinely deserves his position at the head of the market. He has shown his mettle at big Aintree and Punchestown meetings and is far from a one-trick pony, despite dominating this renewal since his 17-length triumph in 2015.
He finished second in his only start in 2017 but stayed well, and with Cheltenham specialist Jamie Codd on board another fantastic showing is expected.
At Death’s Door
Continuing the ‘back the favourites’ theme – and this isn’t a cop-out, it is a genuinely good day for the most-backed – is Death Duty, who looks well primed for the Albert Bartlett Novices Hurdle.
Four starts, four wins over hurdles for Gordon Elliott’s charge; the trainer who has enjoyed as much success as anybody else at Cheltenham 2017. He has been singing the praises of Death Duty, saying he’s as good as any horse he has trained over hurdles, and that is recommendation indeed.
To back a Grade 1 winner in a thin field like this is an unmissable opportunity.
Rivers of Gold
Then finally it’s the one they all came for: the Cheltenham Gold Cup, the 3m 2f jaunt that has delivered some of National Hunt’s most treasured moments and created legends. Former champions of this race include Kauto Star, Best Mate, Long Run and Bob’s Worth, so nobody is under any illusion as to what is at stake.
The sheer nature of the Gold Cup dictates that the very best generally rise to the top, with only one winner in the past ten years priced at 10/1 or longer. As such, we’re looking to the head of the market for inspiration and there we find Native River, who has jockeyed for favouritism with Djakadam in the past week or so.
For now, the seven-year-old has nipped ahead with most bookmakers at 7/2 and we’re happy enough with that; this is a two-time major winner this term.
He’s not finished outside the top two in a year, with a pair of high profile victories in the Hennessy Gold Cup and the Welsh Grand National. Should the rain come as expected, the ground will soften quite quickly and really play into the hands of this powerhouse, who will appreciate the stodgy conditions ahead of the fleet-footed Djakadam and the ageing Cue Card.
A 7/2 winner; what a fine way to sign off Cheltenham 2017.