Triumph Hurdle, Friday, 1.30pm
I ride Clan Des Obeux who got bogged down a little on bad ground at Cheltenham the last day and should have improved a bit for that. The better ground should help him also and he could have an each-way squeak.
I don’t think Aidan O’Brien’s Ivanovich Gorbatov deserves to be the price he is – even if he improves for better ground. He’ll need to brush up his jumping too and they’ll be going a lot quicker here than the races he’s been involved in so far. There won’t be any time to recover if he misses a hurdle.
Trainer Alan King has a good record in this race and his pair of Who Dares Wins and Sceau Royal in particular look the type of tough four-year-olds that will be suited by this contest.
County Hurdle, 2m, 2.10pm
Paul Nicholls seems pretty sweet on All Yours in the County Hurdle. This Grade One novice hurdle winner should improve on the better ground and the stable have a good record in this. Team Ditcheat got off the mark with Diego Du Charmil in the Fed Winter Handicap Hurdle on Wednesday.
Yorkhill’s win in the Neptune Novice Hurdle adds a bit of value to the form of the Betfair Hurdle in February. He danced all over Agrapart in the Tolworth Hurdle at Sandown (beat him 10 lengths) and that one went on to win the Betfair Hurdle from Starchitect, who was making his seasonal debut.
The third-placed Flying Angel at Newbury subsequently won the Imperial Cup at Sandown on Saturday so David Pipe’s runner must have a great chance.
Albert Bartlett Novices Hurdle 3m, 2.50pm
Barters Hill is unbeaten but I think he has his work cut out to stay unbeaten on this quicker ground.
I was a little disappointed with him at Doncaster – even though he won. His jumping was sloppy and he won’t get away with that here.
On better ground, going half a gear quicker, his jumping could fall apart – think his winning run will come to an end on Friday.
Shantou Village would be idea of the one that can capitalise. He put in a good run behind Yanworth on Trials day and his subsequent second-place finish to Yorkhill on Wednesday is still strong form, even if Yanworth was considered one of the English bankers.
Shantou Village will appreciate better ground and has been crying out for this step up in trip to 3m.
I’ll ride UknowwhatimeanHarry but he could do with the ground having some juice in it. He’s won his last four though so if the rain comes he’d have a big chance for the Harry Fry stable.
Cheltenham Gold Cup, 3m 2f, 3.30pm
I ride O’Faolains Boy for Rebecca Curtis. He should stay ok as he beat Smad Place a head in the 2014 RSA Chase but has had a lot of injury problems since.
But with Vautour not running here – and his performance in the Ryanair Chase yesterday not being too shabby –everything may play into Cue Card’s hands.
Bryan Cooper has chosen Don Cossack but he’s been to Cheltenham twice and flopped twice. I’d be worried that he doesn’t like the hustle and bustle of these big races and could be better on a flat track.
Djakadam could need more dig in the ground and has fallen two of the last three times he’s been to Cheltenham – although his second place to Coneygree last year could be one of the best form lines on offer.
But the ground had turned very soft by the off in the Gold Cup day last year.
Smad Place will take them along and has place claims but I’d be surprised if he was good enough to win it.
The big question about Don Poli is whether he’ll have the pace to win a Gold Cup. They’re unlikely to stop up front and if he’s too far behind when the race hots up, he won’t be able to close on them too easily.