Cheltenham tips: Frank Hickey’s best bets for Gold Cup day at Cheltenham

Frank was speaking on the latest episode of our From the Horse's Mouth podcast.

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Comments

1.30pm TRIUMPH HURDLE – ASPIRE TOWER @ 6/1

I think Goshen being top of the market is fair. I don’t think Solo should ever have been there. For me he should be around fourth in the odds, and I can see him drift on the day.

Goshen has a massive engine. If he jumps cleanly and the ground is soft then I think he’s the one to beat, but I’ve been a big fan of Aspire Tower all season ever since his win at Punchestown first time out where he was so impressive. He’s won a graded race at Leopardstown by 18 lengths since then as well.

He fell last time out, but I think he’d have won if he’d stayed up. I think Rachael Blackmore was just teaching him to run at a more even tempo. Providing his jumping stands up I think he’ll pull up to Goshen. If you fancy each/way at 6/1 I think he’s a fair enough bet. Goshen is the only one that could beat him I think.

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2.10pm COUNTY HURDLE – YOU RAISED ME UP @ 16/1

Ciel De Neige has only gone up two pounds from his Betfair Hurdle run, he could still be very well treated.

I’m going to give one at a price a chance – You Raised Me Up for Martin Brassil. He ran a cracker in the Ladbroke Hurdle at the Dublin Racing Festival on his handicap debut. It’s only his second handicap start, he’s unexposed, and I can see him running well.

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2.50pm ALBERT BARTLETT NOVICES’ HURDLE – JANIDIL @14/1

There’s been some big-price winners in this one over recent years from 11/1 to 50/1, and I think that suggests the market latches on to the wrong type of horse.

It regularly latches on to a sexy, bridle type, who is winning relatively uncompetitive races by wide distances and hasn’t really been battled-hardened.

I wouldn’t be surprised if a hardy type wins this. A lot of people are latching on to Ramses De Teillee, but one of Willie Mullins’ others, Janidil, has plenty of experience and is flying under the radar here. He’s a second-season novice who has won two good handicaps and his last three altogether.

They were both over two miles, and he’s stepping up to three miles here. If there can be some more improvement he’s a big player. I think he’s rated 145 and if the step up in trip suits he’s a fair price.

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3.30pm CHELTENHAM GOLD CUP – AL BOUM PHOTO @ 7/2

I still think there’s value in Al Boum Photo at 7/2. A lot of people are saying it’s very difficult to win two consecutive Gold Cups, but not many seven-year-old’s win it and get the chance to come back fit and healthy to defend.

Best Mate is the last one to do it, and he was kept fresh every time he came back. I think Willie Mullins has done the right thing here. He was very impressive last year, and there’s every chance he’ll improve being only aged eight. He’s the same age as Santini and I think at 7/2 he’s a big price. I think he’ll be very difficult to beat.

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For an outsider to fight their way into a place… I thought Bristol De Mai ran a cracker in this race last year and you regularly see horses come back and hit the frame on more than one occasion. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him place.

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    4.10pm FOXHUNTER CHASE – STAKER WALLACE @ 5/1

    It could be significant that Derek O’Connor is on Minella Rocco.

    But Nina Carberry has been very strong on the claims of Staker Wallace. She said he wasn’t fully fit at Naas when second to Billaway. He probably won’t want the ground to dry out too much, but when it comes to the Foxhunters I’ll listen to Nina Carberry over myself and follow her lead on Staker Wallace.

    4.50pm GRAND ANNUAL CHASE – TWO TAFFS @ 18/1

    Greaneteen is the big talking horse. Paul Nicholls seems to think he’s a Grade One horse of the future.
    If that’s the case, he would be winning off a mark of 150, which is a tough mark for a novice. He could go off at around 9/2.

    I’d take a chance on one at a price – Two Taffs for Dan Skelton. He’s run well at the Festival previously, albeit over two-and-half miles. He caught the eye after a bit of a break last time out at Warwick, where he finished in second.

    A really strongly run two miles here might suit. He does travel well and he could be around the 20/1 mark. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him hit the frame.

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    5.30pm MARTIN PIPE HANDICAP HURDLE – FRONT VIEW @ 6/1

    Its very competitive at the front in this one. I wouldn’t be surprised if the market latches on to one and one goes off short.

    Front View is one I’ve had on my mind for this for a long time. I think he was given an ‘educational ride’ behind Five O’Clock on his last outing. I think his mark of 139 is decent enough. He was second to Envoi Allen at Down Royal in early November and then won at Cork. He was second at Thurles on his last run in February.

    He’s definitely holding something back from the handicapper at the moment. The other big plus is he’s got Jonjo O’Neill Jr riding him, who is probably the best rider in the race. He’s around 6/1 so not a great price, but he’s difficult to look beyond I think.

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