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All good things must come to an end… and sadly the finishing post for the 2022 Cheltenham Festival is in sight. The good news, however, is that we’ve got seven super contests to enjoy before the curtain comes down.
Of course, the Cheltenham Gold Cup at 3.30pm is the big one on the final day of the fiesta as the slickest stayers in the game attempt to win the most prestigious prize in National Hunt racing. Minella Indo faces 10 rivals as last year’s winner attempts to defend his crown but a stiff test is expected from stablemate A Plus Tard, Savills Chase scorer Galvin and leading British challenger Protektorat.
There are two more Grade 1s on Friday’s card including the opener, the Triumph Hurdle, as Willie Mullins’ Vauban takes on Gordon Elliott pair Pied Piper and Fil Dor. The Irish trainers also boast live chances in the Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle but Henry Daly’s Hillcrest is a course winner.
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The Grade 2 Mrs Paddy Power Mares’ Chase is set to see eight go to post at 4.50pm, the County Hurdle looks set to be a typical blood-and-thunder affair, the amateur jockeys take centre stage in the Hunters’ Chase, while the meeting is rounded off by the Martin Pipe Handicap Hurdle at 5.30pm.
We’ve got all the information you could possibly need about today’s contests over on our snazzy Racecards page including the runners and riders, weights, odds and horse-by-horse analysis.
You can head over to the Racecards tab at the top of page now to start swotting up, otherwise, you’ll find the Cheltenham Friday race schedule, start times and Timeform’s tips below.
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1.30: Triumph Hurdle (Grade 1)
VAUBAN won the Spring Juvenile in impressive fashion on just his second start over hurdles, and that looks the best piece of form in the division on either side of the Irish Sea, so he’s fancied to prove too strong with further improvement on the cards. The Elliott-trained pair Pied Piper and Fil Dor are fancied to follow him home in that order, while Doctor Parnassus makes appeal at bigger odds.
2.10: County Hurdle (Grade 3)
Unsurprisingly, claims can be made for a host, including Nigel Twiston Davies’ I LIKE TO MOVE IT. Already a 3-time winner over hurdles, he improved again and shaped really well when second in the Befair Hurdle latest, going down by a short head. This stiffer test will suit and he earns the vote. Irish raiders Top Bandit and State Man are next best, ahead of West Cork and Surprise Package.
2.50: Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle (Grade 1) (Registered As The Spa Novices’ Hurdle)
GINTO made light of the further step up in grade when completing the hat-trick in a Grade 1 at Naas in January, maintaining his unbeaten record over hurdles in the process. There’s a good chance that this longer trip will bring out further improvement, so he makes plenty of appeal. Hillcrest and Minella Cocooner are both highly progressive so rate the main threats.
3.30: Cheltenham Gold Cup (Grade 1)
It could be another 1-2 for Henry de Bromhead but in a different order, with A PLUS TARD, who should be in his prime at 8, taken to turn the tables on last year’s winner Minella Indo. The latter has yet to really fire this term but he’s always saved his best for this meeting (2 wins and a second) and can provide a bigger threat than Galvin, who pipped the selection at Leopardstown over Christmas.
BOB AND CO was still going well when unseating 3 out in this last year and he went on to make amends when edging out Billaway in the Champion Hunters at Punchestown in April. Paul Nicholls charge made a respectable return when second in a steadily-run race at Haydock and shades the vote over Billaway, who’s been second in the last 2 renewals. The up-and-coming Winged Leader is another to consider.
4.50: Mrs Paddy Power Mares’ Chase (Registered As The Liberthine Mares’ Chase) (Grade 2)
ELIMAY had to settle for second behind a very classy stablemate in the inaugural running of this but can go one better now. Mount Ida beat the selection at Fairyhouse in January but there is a worry she’ll jump out to her right back on a left-handed track. She got away with it in the Kim Muir last year but may not do so against an opponent of Elimay’s calibre. Concertista is best of the rest.
ADAMANTLY CHOSEN is highly progressive and goes through his races like one who will be suited by the nature of this event, so he gets the nod in front of Chemical Energy, who fits a similar mould. Needless to say, there’s a whole host of other interesting contenders from Ireland, while Langer Dan (second in last year’s renewal) looks the pick of the British contingent.
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