Timeform: Our Lucky 15 for Gold Cup day at Cheltenham

The number-crunchers in the Timeform office have given us four picks from Gold Cup Friday...


The last horse trained in Malton to win the Cheltenham Gold Cup was Forgive n’ Forget in 1985 and, in the shape of Brian Ellison’s Definitly Red, the town has arguably its best chance of winning the race since. In the spirit of forgiving and forgetting, however, the one to ‘definitly’ beat at 15:30 in the Timico Gold Cup is Might Bite  if you can see past his wayward antics when winning last year’s RSA Chase. The nine-year-old looked far more professional when winning the King George at Kempton last time and can cap a fine week for Nicky Henderson.

Shakira’s 2009 single She Wolf features the lyrics “there’s a she wolf in disguise, coming out, coming out, coming out”. Apple’s Shakira reportedly disguises herself as a seller on the gallops at home according to Henderson, but she certainly comes alive on the course, with three wins from three starts for the yard, all at Cheltenham. A hot favourite for the Triumph Hurdle at 13:30, she is expected to stalk her prey coming down the hill and can bring up the four-timer with a defeat of Redicean and Mr Adjudicator.

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Judging by his books, Cheltenham regular John Francome enjoyed plenty of summer romances in his riding years, a trait he shares with Love Island’s Chris Hughes, one of many reality stars to have flocked to the course this week.

Hughes is currently in training at Jonjo O’Neill’s yard for a charity race at York in June, and will surely be siding with Chris’s Dream in the Albert Bartlett at 14:50. He has leading form claims, too, having won a Grade 3 by a remarkable 64 lengths at Clonmel last time, and Henry de Bromhead’s charge won’t be inconvenienced if this develops into the usual slog. Chef des Obeaux and Santini are the most obvious dangers in what looks a tricky puzzle to solve.

Hughes could probably do as good a job as many of the jockeys set to line up for the Foxhunter Challenge Cup at 16:10, but Sam Waley-Cohen has one thing that few professionals can lay claim to, a Gold Cup on his mantelpiece. CEO of Portman Dental Care by trade, his company has probably done many a reality star’s veneers over the years, but all his attention will be on Wonderful Charm here. He was a close second 12 months ago and appears to hold sound claims of going one better, with Burning Ambition feared most under top amateur Jamie Codd.

Bet Summary

  • Apple’s Shakira – Triumph Hurdle 13:30
  • Chris’s Dream – Albert Bartlett 14:50
  • Might Bite – Gold Cup 15:30
  • Wonderful Charm – Foxhunters Chase 16:10
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