Cheltenham Festival Day Four – Through The Card Selections

The feature race of the entire Festival, The Cheltenham Gold Cup takes centre stage on Friday with a host of leading chances looking to take home the illustrious prize. Here are our through the card selections on day four of the Cheltenham Festival.

Vauban (JCB Triumph Hurdle)

We could be set for another mouthwatering clash in Friday’s opener with Pied Piper and VAUBAN dominating at the head of the market. 

Pied Piper accounted for Willie Mullins’ latest French recruit on debut at Punchestown before blowing his rivals away with a taking performance in a Grade 2 trial over Friday’s course and distance. 

Vauban, however, was quick to make amends for that opening defeat at the hands of Pied Piper with an equally impressive win in the Spring Juvenile Hurdle at Leopardstown, defeating the previously unbeaten Fil Dor by a comfortable 3l. 

Touted as a potential Champion Hurdler in the making, Willie Mullins’ charge is fancied to come out on top this time around.

State Man (County Hurdle)

Once again the County Hurdle looks wide-open with most of the 26 runners holding claims in some shape or form. However, STATE MAN is the selection as the five-year-old appears to be a Graded horse running in a handicap. 

Although falling on stable debut on Boxing Day at Leopardstown, State Man travelled noticeably well before coming to grief two from home and would have gone close to winning that particular event. 

He then returned and made amends in February at Limerick, quickening away smartly in the style of a useful prospect to win by 12l on the bridle. The five-year-old fits the profile of previous winners of the County, namely Saint Roi who took this race for Willie Mullins as a five-year-old in 2020 on just his third start over hurdles. 

State Man could blow apart a rating of 141 on Friday and there’s every reason to think he could be in a different league to some of these in time. 

Ginto (Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle)

Henry Daly holds Hillcrest in the highest regard and although the imposing seven-year-old commands respect, it’s hard to see past GINTO in the third race on day 4. 

Unbeaten so far in three starts over hurdles, Ginto has improved with each outing this year and has chalked up some impressive displays in the process, which included a dominant success at Grade 1 level in the Lawlor’s Of Naas back in January.  

The manner of that latest victory over 2m4f suggests a step up to 3miles will suit this former winning point-to-pointer, and Gordon Elliot’s talented novice hurdler can maintain his unbeaten start over hurdles with another fluent victory. 

Galvin (Cheltenham Gold Cup)

The Irish look to hold sway in the Friday feature with the market dominated by their representatives. 

Henry De Bromhead capped off a wonderful Cheltenham Festival with a 1-2 in last year’s prestigious contest and will look to repeat the trick once again as both A Plus Tard and returning champion Minella Indo take their spot in the Friday feature. 

Don Cossack took the Gold Cup for trainer Gordon Elliot in 2016 and the yard appears to have a solid contender in GALVIN this season. The talented stayer is a three-time course winner and after starting the campaign as a potential Grand National prospect for the yard, the eight-year-old now finds himself at the table amongst the top staying chasers anywhere in Britain and Ireland. 

After cosily winning on seasonal reappearance at Punchestown, the eight-year-old ran a career-best to finish a close second behind Frodon in the Ladbrokes Champion Chase at Down Royal before defeating the well-fancied A Plus Tard to land a first win at Grade 1 level in the Savills Chase over Christmas at Leopardstown. 

The recent rain that has fallen on Prestbury Park will be very much In Galvin’s favour on Friday and with stamina and jumping technique, not an issue, the eight-year-old can take the illustrious prize back across the Irish Sea. 

Dubai Quest (Festival Challenge Cup Open Hunters’ Chase)

Many to consider in here but perhaps it’s worth taking a chance on DUBAI QUEST who has comfortably won his opening two starts for the yard since joining from the point-to-point field a couple of seasons ago. 

Faced with a simple task on stable debut, the eight-year-old ran out a ready winner of a Hunter’s Chase at Fakenham before making it 2 from 2 with a smart performance against previous National Hunt Challenge Cup winner Le Breuil at Wetherby.

Although Dubai Quest faces his stiffest task to date on Friday, there is a suspicion that he has plenty more to offer and after readily beating a former Festival winner last time out, he could be up to the task. 

Mount Ida (Paddy Power Mares’ Chase)

MOUNT IDA was a remarkable winner of the Kim Muir at last season’s Festival and connections will be confident the talented mare can record another win on the biggest national hunt stage in the Mares’ Chase.

Yet to taste defeat this season, Gordon Elliot’s talented mare was a ready winner on reappearance in Listed company at Clonmel before taking the slight rise in grade in her stride, staying on well to defeat Elimay in Grade 3 company at Fairyhouse back in January. 

Her jumping may well be tested on Friday as she does have the tendency to jump out to her right, but Mount Ida appears to have improved this season and is a confident selection to keep her unbeaten record going this campaign. 

Adamantly Chosen (Martin Pipe Hurdle)

The step-up in trip could be the making of ADAMANTLY CHOSEN who has already shown a decent level of form for the Irish champion trainer. 

Winner of the valuable Goffs Land Rover Bumper at Punchestown last season, the five-year-old filled the runner-up spot on his first two outings over hurdles but was quickly off the mark in February at Thurles, making all and spread-eagling the field to win by a whopping 27l.

The five-year-old should have little stamina concerns on the first try beyond 2miles, being a half-brother to twelve times 2m4f winner Kylecrue and there is every reason to believe that Willie Mullins runner could thrive now his stamina is drawn out further.