2020 Cheltenham Festival day four tips – Gold Cup day tips
Jon Vine takes a look through the card on Gold Cup day and provides readers with his 2020 Cheltenham Festival day four tips on Friday 13th March.
What a fascinating renewal of the Gold Cup attendee’s have to look forward to this week, with as many as six or seven top chasers coming into the Cheltenham Festival with genuine winning claims. Along with the Festival highlight, we have a fascinating renewal of the Triumph Hurdle to take in on day four, and punters will sink their teeth into several wide-open handicaps.
I’ve taken a look at every race on Gold Cup day and thrown up my Cheltenham Festival day four predictions and tips.
Cheltenham Festival Day Four Tips
Triumph Hurdle Tips
At the head of the market we find four very smart looking juveniles. All four have shown a real appetite to make the running, which should ensure this year’s Triumph Hurdle is run at a furious pace. Ordinarily, I would look for a fast closer who could pick up the pieces if the race falls apart. A Wave Of The Sea would fit the bill in that respect. Yet, I think the top four are so far clear of their rivals in terms of class, I won’t be looking beyond them in my Cheltenham Festival tips.
The one who looks least likely to adapt his bold tactics is Goshen. Gary Moore’s charge has also shown a tendency to jump out to his right, which isn’t a big issue around Sandown and Ascot, but it would be extremely detrimental at Cheltenham. Aspire Tower would probably have won the Spring Juvenile had he not fallen at the last and Henry De Bromhead seemed confident his star had recovered during his recent stable tour. Yet, I cannot bring myself to back Aspire Tower on the back of that hefty tumble.
On ratings, Solo has a stone in hand on his rivals. If the handicapper is to be believed, then 888Sport’s 11/4 favorite will be hard to beat. Paul Nicholls’ charge has won two of his three starts on the bridle and looks a fantastic prospect moving forwards. The only thing that worries me is his first start in France. Solo was still on the bridle approaching the last but found very little when push came to shove and went down to a 141-rated rival in Stratagem.
ALLMANKIND is the only runner out of the top four who’s shown he can respond when asked for a serious effort. Dan Skelton’s charge quickened clear of Botox Has and three other future winners when winning the Triumph Trial here at Cheltenham in November. Cerberus then sprung from the pack to push Harry Skelton’s mount in the Summit Juvenile at Chepstow, but Allmankind swatted his rival away with ease and was pulling further clear as he crossed the line.
I was so impressed with the extra gear Allmankind found on heavy ground that day. The time of that Grade One was nine seconds quicker than the two-mile bumper run on the same day – the winner of which has come out and won very well over hurdles since. Skelton has freshened his mount up for this Cheltenham Festival Day four assault, and we all know how good the Skelton team are at prepping a runner for a big objective. Allmankind will be the first of my Cheltenham Festival day four tips in the Triumph.
County Hurdle Tips
Such is the unpredictable nature of this race, trying to find the winner of the County Hurdle is very hard. I was lucky enough to tip Mohaayed when he won as a 33/1 shot two years ago. He was one of seven winners in the last 12 years who went off at 20/1 or longer. Taking that into account, I’m going to take a punt on two carrying lengthy prices.
The first of my Cheltenham Festival day four tips in the County Hurdle will be STOLEN SILVER. Nigel Twiston-Davies was left cursing his luck at Newbury, as Stolen Silver was left behind a little after the standing start and flew home to finish just outside the place.
Prior to that handicap debut, Stolen Silver had registered some excellent results in novice hurdles. Following a smart victory on his second start, Sam Twiston-Davies’ mount came up just a length short of Chantry House at Cheltenham. Stolen Silver then powered down the centre of the track to beat Edwardstone in the Rossington Main at Haydock. He brings Grade Two-winning form to the table and has run well at the course. Stolen Silver would be an ideal candidate when bookers roll out Cheltenham Festival offers and extra places.
If the ground was to come up good-to-soft, then I think SCARAMANGA could mount a challenge. Paul Nicholls’ five-year-old has shown flashes of real ability over hurdles. Most recently at Wincanton in December, where Scaramanga powered to an impressive victory in a competitive 15-horse handicap.
Like my first Cheltenham Festival tip, Saglawy, Scaramanga has never run around Cheltenham racecourse before. Course form isn’t vital in the County Hurdle though, and he could outrun his odds on favorably good ground.
Albert Bartlett Tips
Thyme Hill and Latest Exhibition are clearly very good, and Monkfish looks a big staying chaser in the making. However, like the County Hurdle before it, the recent history of the Albert Bartlett is littered with upsets. The average winning SP in this Grade One over the last 15 years is a staggering 17/1.
I’ve had to change both of my initial each-way Cheltenham Festival tips, as Longhouse Poet and Decor Irlandais both took their chances in the Ballymore. So, I’ve taken another look through the confirmed field and come up with two more to side with at each-way prices.
The first of my Albert Bartlett tips will be SEMPO, who finished a staying-on sixth behind Envoi Allen in last year’s red-hot Champion Bumper. A couple of mistakes gave Joseph O’Brien’s charge little-to-no chance on his first start over hurdles. Sempo then made eye-catching late progress as Cobbler’s Way won at Leopardstown, flying home with a wet sail to finish a two-length runner-up.
Another step up in trip saw Sempo claim his first victory last time out, making all over 22-furlongs to win with apparent ease. O’Brien’s contender clocked an RPR of 146 that day, and looked to have plenty left in the tank. He looks tailor-made for this test of stamina.
I’m also going to take a chance on REDFORD ROAD as the second of my each-way Cheltenham Festival tips. Nigel Twiston-Davies’ novice ran out a worthy winner of the Albert Bartlett Trial back in December, staying on gamely up the hill to win by half-a-length. Redford Road was then beaten over a shorter trip on New Years’ Day, where he was giving plenty of weight to capable rivals like Coral Cup contender Protekorat and Imperial Alcazar.
Sam Twiston-Davies’ mount has been freshened up since then and brings valuable course form to the table. He looks a solid each-way proposition in another wide-open renewal of this three-miler.
Gold Cup Tips
Nicky Henderson used his stable tour to talk up Santini’s chances and he’s been backed into 10/3 favouritism with Betway. I, however, couldn’t have him on my mind. Bristol De Mai gave Santini at least a length at practically every obstacle in the Cotswold Chase, and Henderson’s charge still had to grind hard to win by just three-lengths. He’ll see out the trip fine, I just don’t think he’s as classy as some of the horses behind him.
Kemboy hasn’t looked anything like the horse he was last spring, and I’m not sure the track at Cheltenham suits him. There are also question marks about the course next to Clan Des Obeaux’s name. Paul Nicholls’ charge was super impressive in the King George. He did, however, simply outstay two two-and-a-half-milers that day, and Harry Cobden’s mount is yet to win in five starts at Cheltenham.
I greatly respect Al Boum Photo based on what he did here last year, and Willie Mullins’ charge is sure to be a popular pick in Cheltenham Festival free bet offers. Delta Work has progressed brilliantly this term too and cannot be discounted.
That being said, LOSTINTRANSLATION was my Gold Cup tip earlier in the season and I see no reason to suggest Colin Tizzard’s star. He’ll be the star man in my Cheltenham Festival Day four tips.
Lostintranslation was the Gold Cup favourite after he beat Bristol De Mai in the Betfair Chase. Yes, Santini beat Nigel Twiston-Davies’ charge by slightly further. There is, however, a big difference between beating the two-time Betfair Chase winner around his favourite track, and getting the better of Bristol De Mai after a terrible round of jumping at Cheltenham.
Robbie Power, who barely flinched until he asked Lostintranslation to win at Haydock, never looked comfortable in the King George. Power was already throwing out distress signals at the end of the first circuit, and was hard at work on his mount when he made that race ending error at the fourth-last.
Colin Tizzard and his team have had plenty of time to get to the bottom of that problem. A minor wind-op could make a big difference too. I’m sure Power still regards Lostintranslation as one of his best rides at the meeting, and I’m confident this talented eight-year-old will prove any doubters wrong on the grandest stage of them all. He’s my sole Gold Cup tip.
Foxhunter Chase Tips
Hazel Hill may have been beaten last time out, but he’s still a strong favourite to retain his crown. Minella Rocco beat Hazel Hill at Wetherby. Jonjo O’Neill’s former National Hunt winner and Gold Cup runner up has plenty of Festival form next to his name too.
Billaway looks a big danger and Shantou Flyer cannot be discounted either. In fact, I could include any number of runners in my Cheltenham Festival Day four tips. So, with the race looking decidedly open, I’m inclined to take a chance on the evergreen TOP WOOD claiming a richly-deserved Festival win in the Foxhunter Chase.
Kelly Morgan’s teenager placed in this race for the second time 12 months ago, before going on to win nicely in the equivalent race at Aintree. Top Wood has been thrown into Class Two Handicaps twice this season and hasn’t looked out of place, finishing second to Militarian at Ascot, before heavy ground took its toll at Haydock. Top Wood goes well fresh and he clearly enjoys the track. He looks an excellent each-way Cheltenham Festival tipping sitting on 16/1.
Grand Annual Tips
All of the past five winners of the Grand Annual had previously run in the race, a trend which would give hope to the connections of Gino Trail and Theinval. However, five of the top six spots in the betting are occupied by novices, so it seems to be worth siding with a first-season chaser in this year’s renewal.
Lisp is a consistent sort and makes a strong case for selections. As does the progressive Greaneteen. Adrrastos appeals at a big price, but the one I want to include in my Cheltenham Festival day four tips is ÉCLAIR DE BEAUFEU.
Gordon Elliott’s charge was running really well in the County Hurdle 12 months ago before coming down at the last. Elliott has got plenty of chasing experience into his novice this term and Éclair De Beaufeu comes into this on the back of a snug victory over Paloma Blue at the Dublin Racing Festival. He could be a massive player under a manageable burden of 11-6.
Martin Pipe Tips
When I covered this handicap last month, I tipped up Front View at 20/1. Joseph O’Brien’s youngster has since been backed into 6/1 favouritism with Paddy Power and I wouldn’t put anyone off backing this talented youngster.
Of all the races at the Cheltenham Festival, though, this handicap is one Gordon Elliott specifically targets. Named in honour of his old mentor, Elliott has saddled two of the previous three Martin Pipe winners, and looked on-course for a 1-2 last year, until Early Doors came through and passed both Dallas Des Pictons and Defi Bleu.
So, while Front View looks a worthy favourite, I’m placing all of my faith with COLUMN OF FIRE, and he’ll be the last of my Cheltenham Festival Day four tips.
Column Of Fire has really progressed and strengthened up as the season has gone on. Elliott’s charge placed behind Elixir D’ainey and Longhouse Poet, who’ve both proven themselves in Grade One company since, on his opening couple of starts. He then bounced back from a fall with a bloodless triumph at Punchestown two weeks later, before proving his stamina with a strong third in a Pertemps Qualifier.
I’m sure Gordon Elliott, one of the most successful trainers in Cheltenham history, will have no trouble getting one of the top conditional jockeys to ride Column Of Fire. He definitely looks to be his number one runner in this year’s Martin Pipe. Along with The Conditional in the Ultima and The Storyteller in the Pertemps, Column Of Fire would be one of my most confident Cheltenham Festival tips in the handicaps.