Cheltenham Day Four Preview: Photo to deliver the Boum factor in Gold Cup

The fourth and final day of top class action from the Cheltenham Festival concludes another brilliant week of thrills and spills at Prestbury Park.

Thursday, 18th March 2021, 4:36 pm
Paul Townend riding Al Boum Photo celebrates winning last year's Magners Cheltenham Gold Cup Chase. Photo: Dan Mullan/Getty Images

Friday’s meeting features jump racing’s Blue Riband event, the WellChild Cheltenham Gold Cup in which Al Boum Photo is bidding to emulate Best Mate as the second three-time winner of the contest this century.

We have once again previewed the action with our race by race guide.

1.20pm Grade One JCB Triumph Hurdle

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A fascinating renewal of the juvenile event. Zanahiyr is unbeaten in three starts over hurdles and impressed with victory over the Festive period, whilst Adagio is a proven G1 winner for David Pipe. However, Tritonic was talented on the Flat and has taken his form to a new level over hurdles, getting the job done in game fashion at Ascot, before showing a decisive turn of foot last time out at Kempton in the Adonis Hurdle and gets the vote.

Selection: Tritonic 9/4

1.55pm County Hurdle

As always, a very competitive renewal of the County Hurdle. Willie Mullins could hold the key with a progressive type. Blue Lord won his maiden hurdle for Cloustton maestro and has since gone on to finish in the placings in two G1 events. He clearly is the class angle to the race and a mark of 145 looks fair. However, Dan Skelton has won this race three times in five years and runs the progressive Third Time Lucki. He was arguably disappointing when only fourth at Musselburgh last time out, but had previously looked a smart performer. A handicap mark of 143 could be very workable.

Selection: Third Time Lucki 10/1

2.30pm Grade One Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle

This looks a wide open contest in which a number of connections will be fancying their chances. However, Stattler looks as if he is crying out for this trip. Third in Grade One company at Leopardstown on his latest start, he had been prominent throughout on that occasion and should relish the three miles here.

At a bigger price, Farouk D’alene is another name to note who has won two of his three starts over hurdles and will relish this test of stamina.

Selection: Stattler 9/2

3.05pm Grade One WellChild Cheltenham Gold Cup

The feature contest of the meeting. Al Boum Photo is chasing a place in sporting folklore as a three-time winner of the contest and looks primed to go close having followed the same route to this year’s contest with success at Tramore on New Year’s Day. However, there are plenty of dangers including 2020 RSA Chase winner Champ who stormed up the Cheltenham hill and ran a race full of promise over two miles on his return at Newbury.

Royale Pagaille is another to note if connections decide to target this race following his impressive win at Haydock last time out along with King George winner Frodon and Savills Chase hero A Plus Tard. Others who also warrant a mention include 2018 winner Native River and last year’s second and third Santini and Lostintranslation. However, Al Boum Photo just looks solid. He has a perfect profile for the race and etch his place in history.

Selection: Al Boum Photo 5/2

3.40pm St. James's Place Festival Challenge Cup Open Hunters' Chase

A very tricky race to call. Billaway may well have won this event last year if closer up to the pace and can exact his revenge on It Came To Pass given both are proven over the distance.

Selection: Billaway 3/1

4.15pm Mares’ Chase

A new race for this year’s meeting and one in which Elimay looks a leading player for Willie Mullins. She chased home Allaho at Thurles last time out before easily dismissing her rivals in a Listed event at Naas last time out. She jumps for fun and is already proven over this trip making her a leading player.

Selection: Elimay 7/4

4.50pm Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle

The final race of this year’s Cheltenham Festival. However, Willie Mullins could once again hold the key. Gentleman De Mee was an easy winner on his first start for the Irish handler at Naas and he looks absolutely thrown in here off a rating of 139. Stable companion Ganapathi could also be of interest. Also successful on his first start for Mullins, he was a good second in Graded company at Punchestown before finding the trip too far at Leopardstown in February. He looks extremely well handicapped off a mark of 140.

Selection: Gentleman De Mee 6/1

Tips and analysis via Betting Expert