CHELTENHAM Gold Cup day is finally upon us and what a cracker we have install.
Although the race is without the likes of Thistlecrack, last year’s winner Don Cossack, 2015 champion Coneygree and the late Vautour, it still should be a competitive renewal.
There would be no more popular winner than Cue Card in the race (3.30pm). The son of King’s Theatre has raced at the very top since winning the Champion Bumper in 2010 and he was travelling a dream before falling three fences out in the Gold Cup last year.
But he’s an 11-year-old now and a young protagonist may be better suited.
Djakadam has been runner-up for the last two years and with Willie Mullins firing on all cylinders yesterday, it may finally be the son of Saint Des Saints’ year. His run in the Lexus Chase at Leopardstown was a decent effort and Ruby Walsh would love this race to turn into a stamina test up the Cheltenham hill.
The Triumph Hurdle (1.30pm) opens the card and Charli Parcs’ last run when he fell at Kempton should be forgiven.
Nicky Henderson thinks the absolute world of this horse and given the talent that has passed through the gates at Seven Barrows, it has to be a testament to how good the four-year-old is.
The Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle (2.50pm) has become a graveyard for favourites in recent years. Death Duty could buckle that trend but Wholestone has done nothing wrong this term having won over course and distance twice already this term and looks a cracking each-way bet.
The final race is the Grand Annual Challenge Cup (5.30pm). It was two years ago when Dodging Bullets won the Champion Chase but his form has significantly tailed off since. However, Paul Nicholl’s charge has dropped to a handicap mark of just 151 and is still just nine.
Dodging Bullets takes a significant drop in class having run behind the likes of Altior and Un De Sceaux this season, both of whom have won Grade One’s this week.
Tips for each race
1.30pm - Charli Parcs
2.10pm - Ivanovich Gorbatov
2.50pm - Wholestone each-way
3.30pm - Djakadam
4.10pm - On The Fringe
4.50pm - Battleford
5.30pm - Dodging Bullets