Cheltenham Festival Day 4 Preview

By Peter Moore 7th March 2024

The final day of the four day Cheltenham Festival takes place on the Friday, with the highlight of the day the Gold Cup which is run at 3.30.

The opening race on the card is the JCB Triumph Hurdle, a race that has seen the Irish sweep up in the last four years with Willie Mullins saddling three winners.

If the Irish dominance of the event is to be ended this year, then Sir Gino could be the one to wave the flag for the home contingent.

The Nicky Henderson trained four-year-old produced a stunning victory at this course in January on trials day and looks the one to beat despite Henderson’s yard not firing at the present. However, having said that the Lambourne trainer has won this race seven times.

Another English trained horse could also be involved in the shake up. The Gary Moore trained Salver was an impressive winner in the Finale Juvenile Hurdle and followed up in the Victor Ludorum, but he is a horse who will relish heavy ground and if the ground dries out he may wait for Aintree.

The Albert Bartlett Novices Hurdle ran over 3m sees Willie Mullins with three of the top four in the betting including Grade 1 winners Reading Tommy Wrong and Dancing City along with High Class Hero.

Harry Fry heads the British line up with Gidleigh Park, who also has the option of running in the Baring Bingham.

Britian’s only Grade 1winner in the field is the Paul Nicholls trained Captain Teague who will relish this stiff trip in distance.

Undoubtedly the highlight of the four day festival is the Boodles Gold Cup run over 3m 2f.

Last year’s winner Galopin Des Champs looks the horse to beat in this once again. Following a couple of blips, he is clearly back to his ultimate best. Bouncing back in the grand manner in the Savills Chase before beating his old rival Fastorslow in the Irish Gold Cup.

The home team will be headed by the Nicky Henderson trained Shiskin, who has been unpredictable this season. The ten-year-old would surely have won the King George at Kempton had it not been for a slip after jumping the second last, but quickly got back to his best when winning the Denman Chase at Newbury last month.

Last years runner up Bravemansgame hasn’t looked the same this year while the Venetia Williams trained L’Homme Presse was beaten at Ascot over 2m 5f last time out, a distance that doesn’t suit him being too short and also a right handed track isn’t to his advantage but a left handed one at Cheltenham will suit him at a venue where he is unbeaten in two runs including the Brown Advisory back in 2022.

The Mrs Paddy Power Mares Chase is headed in the market by the Wille Mullins trained Dinoblue, with another Mullins trained horse Allegorie De Vassy second in the market along with a couple of Gavin Cromwell hopes Limerick Lace and brides Hill dominating in a race that looks likely to go to a runner from across the water.

The final race of the festival  Martin Pipe Handicap Hurdle is an intriguing contest with the lightly raced Doddiethegreat looking well handicapped on a mark of 132 and ran a super race at Newbury, running on beaten 8 and a half lengths by Iberico Lord in heavy ground.

The Gavin Cromwell trained six-year-old Encanto Bruno tends to run well when fresh and has a fine track record of two wins from three starts. Dan Skelton’s Nurse Susan is an improving sort along with last years second No Ordinary Joe who ran well at Kempton recently.