Cheltenham Festival: Friday race order, start times and Ruby Walsh’s tips

It's Gold Cup day, so who are you backing?

Al Boum Photo Gold Cup Willie Mullins Paul Townend Cheltenham March 2020

*All prices are bang up to date with our snazzy widget, while in-copy odds are accurate at the time of publication but subject to change

The 2021 Cheltenham Festival concludes with Gold Cup day – the pinnacle of the Jumps season.

While the Cheltenham Gold Cup is undeniably the headline event, with Al Boum Photo hoping to seal a hat-trick of wins in the blue riband contest, there is plenty of other action to keep punters entertained at home.

The JCB Triumph Hurdle kicks off the card while we’ve also got another Grade 1 in the form of the Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle to look forward to.

If that wasn’t enough, there is also the County Handicap Hurdle, the St James’ Place Festival Challenge Cup and the Mrs Paddy Power Mares’ Chase before the Martin Pipe Conditional Jockey’s Handicap Hurdle (with professional riders this year) brings the curtain down on another world class meeting.

You can check out all the day’s runners and riders by taking a look at our snazzy racecards and don’t forget, you can watch all 28 races at this year’s Festival live on and through the Paddy Power app.

Friday March 19 – Gold Cup Day

13.20 – JCB Triumph Hurdle (Grade 1) 2m 179y

Ruby Walsh: “I’m a huge Zanahiyr fan and he’s the horse I would ride but I’m going to leave him on the betting front and say you should back QUILIXIOS because he has to run in this.”

13.55 – County Handicap Hurdle (Grade 3) 2m 179y

Ruby Walsh: “Willie Mullins’ GANAPATHI and CIEL DE NEIGE are my two selections against the field in a hugely competitive County Hurdle .”

14.30 – Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle (Grade 1) 2m 7f 213y

Ruby Walsh: “BARBADOS BUCKS did well at Kempton and Farouk Dalene also did well to hang on at Limerick over Christmas. The latter has a squeak, but this is an even more open race than the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle.”

15.05 – Cheltenham Gold Cup (Grade 1) 3m 2f 70y

Ruby Walsh: “AL BOUM PHOTO could be hard to beat and he could potentially join illustrious company and become a triple Gold Cup winner.”

15.40 – St. James’s Place Festival Challenge Cup 3m 2f 70y

Ruby Walsh:BILLAWAY is in great order and is a better horse now than he was last year. Bob And Co looks the obvious danger.”

16.15 – Mrs Paddy Power Mares’ Chase (Grade 2) 2m 4f 127y

Ruby Walsh:ELIMAY is tiny but a real character, as brave as a lion. I think she’ll love the trip and the track. I do fancy her.”

16.50 – Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle 2m 4f 56y

Ruby Walsh:I thought GALOPIN DES CHAMPS ran well at Leopardstown behind Appreciate It. He was close enough to the pace all the way, turned in with a chance and faded from the last when Hook Up, Irascible and Blue Lord ran past him. Going up in trip will really suit him. He’s an each-way play for me.”

*Paddy will be all over your telly box throughout the Cheltenham Festival sponsoring ITV’s live coverage from Prestbury Park – and you can get free and exclusive tipping columns EVERY DAY from Ruby Walsh, Matt Chapman and Mick Fitzgerald here on PP News.

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