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Cheltenham Festival – Day 4 Preview

10 Mar 2023
Read our final Cheltenham Festival preview as we take a look at three key races from Day 4, including the Triumph Hurdle, Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle, and the feature race of the week – the Cheltenham Gold Cup.

Triumph Hurdle
 
In a race that the Irish have dominated in recent years, they look to have a pretty good stranglehold on the race again, with the top four in the betting all trained across the Irish Sea.
 
Blood Destiny has been the horse all the money has come for in recent weeks, and it’s not hard to see why. He beat Sir Allen at Cork back in December on his first start for Willie Mullins, then improved on that even further when winning by 18-lengths at Fairyhouse in January.
 
There’s no doubt that this will demand much more than the races that Bloody Destiny has been competing in of late, and the fact he’s only raced on testing ground raises another question mark – one big enough to pass him over at the 15/8 currently available.
 
The improving Gala Marceau is another to consider after her victory at the Dublin Racing Festival. She showed a smart level of form over in France before joining Willie Mullins and has more than transferred that ability since moving to Closutton.
 
She’s likely to be a strong contender once again, and looks a very fair price at 5/1, but I’ve been very keen on LOSSIEMOUTH for this race for a very long time, and I can certainly see her reversing the Dublin Racing Festival form with her stablemate Gala Marceau.
 
Not much went right for Lossiemouth at Leopardstown, but she was still able to finish second and get within a couple of lengths of the winner despite being hampered at a crucial stage of the race. She’ll surely get a smoother passage here, and if she does, she still looks the one they’ll all have to beat.
 
Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle
 
The Albert Bartlett looks like one of the most open Grade 1 Novice hurdles of the week, and as usual, an extremely tricky puzzle to try and solve.
 
Emmet Mullins’ Corbetts Cross wasn’t a name on many people’s lips for this up until recently. He’d shown some good form in some modest maidens in Ireland through the winter before taking another step forward to win a handicap at Fairyhouse in January. That prompted connections to step him up in class for the Grade 2 Johnstown Novice Hurdle at Naas, where despite only winning by a head, he went into plenty of people’s notebooks, none more so than JP McManus’, who has since bought the progressive six-year-old.
 
Willie Mullins’ Embassy Gardens is a horse there’s been plenty of money around for lately, and while his 35-length victory at Thurles last time was certainly impressive, this contest is clearly a much sterner test. Three Card Brag and Hiddenvalley Lake are other interesting contenders who bring plenty of potential, but with 8 of the last 9 winners of this going off at a double-figure price, it could once again pay to look away from the head of the market.
 
Syd Hosie is a young trainer who’s had notable success with his small string so far this season, and his horse ROCK MY WAY could be ready to give the team their biggest win to date. He ran a stormer on his first start over hurdles when a 66/1 second here on New Year’s Day, finishing 23-lengths clear of the third, and proved there was no fluke about that performance when getting off the mark in Grade 2 company later that month.
 
Rock My Way has given the impression that he’ll be even better when upped to 3 miles, so the Albert Bartlett test should suit him down to the ground, and I think he’s capable of running a huge race in this. The 20/1 currently available looks great value in what is admittedly a very open race, but it would be no surprise were he to be right in contention jumping the last.
 
Cheltenham Gold Cup
 
The blue riband event of the week once again looks an absolute cracker, with plenty of old favourites locking horns with the new kids on the block, and it's the youngsters that have dominated the betting for this from a long way out.
 
Galopin Des Champs has been at the head of the market for this all season, and many had him down as a future Gold Cup winner last year despite agonisingly coming down at the last in the Turners Novices’ Chase when seemingly having the race at his mercy.
 
He quashed any stamina doubts people might have when doing his best work late on in the Irish Gold Cup at Leopardstown last time, and he seems to be settling into his race much more now, so he looks a solid contender for Willie Mullins.
 
We know how good A Plus Tard is on his day, and for that reason, he can be forgiven from his disappointing run when pulled-up in the Betfair Chase at Haydock earlier in the season. Last year’s winner has an outstanding record at the festival, so despite his absence being somewhat of a negative, I wouldn’t be in a rush to rule out Henry De Bromhead’s nine-year-old.
 
Paul Nicholls has been pretty bullish about Bravemansgame in recent weeks, and although he seemingly stayed well in the King George, the extended 3m2f in the Gold Cup is a different test all together, and I still have my doubts as to whether he’s the strongest stayer at this sort of trip.
 
Noble Yeats, Conflated and Stattler are just a few more who can’t be ruled out in what is a very open looking Gold Cup, but almost every year something at a big price hits the frame in this, and the horse to do that this year could be ROYALE PAGAILLE.
 
He’s only been seen once this season when a respectable second behind Bravemansgame in the King George at a course that won’t have played to Royale Pagaille’s strengths at all. We’ve seen in the past how a quiet campaign can be a huge benefit when we get to the Gold Cup, and that’s exactly what Venetia Williams has given this horse.
 
Realistically, he'll need testing ground if he’s to get seriously into contention, but there is plenty of rain forecast at Cheltenham next week, and one thing is for certain, if it’s soft/heavy come Gold Cup Day, Royale Pagaille will be nowhere near the 50/1 currently available

Lewis Knowles, Coral PR Executive

Did you miss any of the other Cheltenham Festival daily previews? Click below to read

Cheltenham Festival –
Day 1 Preview
Cheltenham Festival –
Day 2 Preview
Cheltenham Festival –
Day 3 Preview
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