Cheltmental’s Day 4 Through-The-Card Selections
It’s the fourth and final day of the 2023 Cheltenham Festival and there’s still plenty to play for, including the big one – the Cheltenham Gold Cup.
Racing expert Dave Young (A.K.A. Cheltmental) gives his through-the-card picks for the final day of the Festival.
1:30 – Triumph Hurdle
This looks a really exciting renewal and one that’s hard to be truly confident with external factors at our disposal. Paul Townend got it wrong on Facile Vega, Energumene & LOSSIEMOUTH in their prep races for Cheltenham, yet he shown this week that he knows who the best horse in the yard is, which is why him opting to ride Lossiemouth should be telling. I thought Blood Destiny was impressive in each of his two runs this season and should Paul have chosen him I’d be much more confident than I am in Lossiemouth with him riding but she’s getting the vote.
Selection – LOSSIEMOUTH
Cheltmental's Triumph Hurdle Tip1:30 pm Friday March 17
- Bookmaker Odds Betting Tip
- 7/4 LOSSIEMOUTH
2:10 County Handicap Hurdle
Paul Townend again is to the front of mind because he doesn’t always ride in handicaps but the fact he’s chosen to ride Hunters Yarn here for owners Munir & Souede suggest they’re expecting a big run. He is well found in the market as is stable-mate SHARJAH who is almost always the mount of Patrick Mullins. Sharjah has only once run in a Handicap, which he won, but has notched up two Champion Hurdle second places which is miles clear of what anything else in this field could ever hope to achieve. His mark of 155 isn’t unsurmountable in my opinion so he takes the vote.
BALLYADAM will be the lively outsider and he ran a blinder at The Dublin Racing Festival to finish second to Gaelic Warrior and comes here off just a 6lb higher mark. He was second in a Supreme here on soft ground and won his Grade 1 on the same going but he’ll handle quicker too so he’s versatile and looks to be back in some sort of form. He looks grossly overpriced if he’s able to back up that last run which may well have been a target but just imagine if it was actually a prep for this.
Selection – SHARJAH
Cover – BALLYADAM
Cheltmental's County Hurdle Tip2:10 pm Friday March 17
14:50 – Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle
DAWN RISING has long looked to me like a typical Albert Bartlett type. Flat bred might not initially scream out 3m Novice hurdler but often winners of this race have at least shown solid 2m speed and Penhill is a recent example of a flat bred excelling over 3m’s, both as a Novice and in Open company.
Dawn Rising doesn’t have the 2m hurdle exposure in his form but what he does have is a Grade 3 win to his name (arguably fortunate but I think he’d have won anyway) and he stayed on well in the Lawlors of Naas to suggest that he really wants this step up in trip. The win and that last run both came on soft ground but he won’t mind if it rides better than that so I think we’ve not seen the best of him yet and he’s a monster price in my eye.
Given the openness of this race I’m keen to put up another selection and that’s SEARCH FOR GLORY. He was not far behind in defeat at Clonmel the last day and his maiden run behind Good Land reads better now. That last run was his first crack at the trip but it was in testing enough conditions so better ground here could see him in an even better light.
I’ll chuck up one more who is an 80/1 shot at the time of writing. AFFORDABLE FURY doesn’t help himself with his jumping but is desperate for this trip and his 2m6f win 3 starts ago would be enough to see him involved.
Selection – DAWN RISING & SEARCH FOR GLORY
Lively Outsider – AFFORDABLE FURY
Cheltmental's Albert Bartlett Tip2:50 pm Friday March 17
15:30 – Gold Cup
There won’t be any surprises in this race from my view as I think GALOPIN DES CHAMPS is as good a favourite as you’ll see all week and his price is only held because of the magnitude of this race.
He wins, but if anything is capable of downing him then it’s last years winner A PLUS TARD who would have to be forgiven for his run earlier this season and has bounced back before
Selection – GALOPIN DES CHAMPS
Cover – A PLUS TARD
Cheltmental's Gold Cup Tip3:30 pm Friday March 17
16:10 – Hunters Chase
Wouldn’t be my specialist subject the hunter chase division but favourite VAUCELET’s chance is clear for all to see with his form in this sphere of the last 2 years and him reaching the age to peak.
The Storyteller was an interesting runner in this race who’d I’d ordinarily give a chance too but I’ve mentioned some information I was passed a few times so want to do that again in that he suffers with spinal arthritis and there a question mark about how much they will push the horse when needed.
One against the favourite I think is a fair price is SECRET INVESTOR who was a very good who peak when beating Clan Des Obeaux in the Denman Chase. Paul Nicholls does well in here and his jockey knows who to ride well but rain lessens his chance
Selection – VAUCELET
Lively Outsider – SECRET INVESTOR
Cheltmental's Hunters Chase Tip4:10 pm Friday March 17
16:50 – Mares’ Chase
Having only it’s third running, the Mares Chase is as deep as I’ve seen it yet the market would suggest it’s a two horse race. I think you’d be hard pressed to completely rule anything out of this but money does typically speak volumes in this divisions and both Allegorie De Vassy & Impervious have been strong for a while now yet they are both novices.
I’m reluctant to side with either of those so I’m going to take a swing on ZAMBELLA who was a beaten favourite last time out. Connections stated that this race wasn’t her main target last year but she came with every chance at the last, so this season I’m sure this will be the focus. That’s why I’m able to forgive her defeat the last day and while she’s another who’s jumping isn’t always the best, I think if she can limit those mistakes she’ll definitely make the frame and looks an each play.
Selection – ZAMBELLA
Cheltmental's Mares' Chase Tip4:50 pm Friday March 17
- Bookmaker Odds Betting Tip
- 20/1 ZAMBELLA
17:30 – Martin Pipe Handicap Hurdle
A couple I had on my radar for this race from a while out haven’t been declared to taking a fresh look at the field and I’m drawn to two runners at the prices. The first is MIGHT I who sports a first time tongue tie. His novice hurdle form behind the likes of Constitution Hill, Jonbon & Three Stripe Life is by far the best recent form on offer here and he was only narrowly denied here back on Trials Day. Up 3lbs for that doesn’t seem harsh especially as this trip would be more suitable.
The second is FIRM FOOTINGS for Gordon Elliott with Shane Fitzgerald taking the ride. Shane has been used in lots of big pot handicaps and often rides a horse who has been laid out. This is a race where most will have been laid out but in Firm Footings you have a horse bred to achieve his best at a trip yet the last twice was sent back to 2 miles.