Delta Work (12/1) lit up the day! In a thrilling finish, driven out by brilliant Davy Russell, won the day, and the week. Back in the profit, and with less races to come than needed to erode the accumulated profit, it’s already, before the final day, a profitable week. Now the question is: is a noteworthy profit or pocket money? On to Gold Cup Friday….
14:10 Cheltenham – County Hurdle
The trend horse, the sexy horse…. the winner? Smaoineamh Alainn must go close. This lightly raced six year old has won all his hurdle starts and got up here at Cheltenham over this trip in December – a piece of form that has worked out incredibly well.
Eight pounds higher than that day; he seems very well handicapped. Connections opted against from running him again. It certainly protected his handicap mark.
With the track and trip not imposing any fear, the ground shouldn’t either. He’s won on very soft ground already.
10pts win – Smaoineamh Alainn @ 16/1 Skybet
14:50 Cheltenham – Albert Bartlett Novices Hurdle
I take a swing at two pic prices: Fabulous Saga wasn’t right when last seen at Leopardstown. Leaving that form out he won a Grade 2 and Grade 3 on the bounce over this sort of trip on deep ground.
Mulcahys Hill went desperatly close in a the Grade 1 Challow Novices’ Hurdle. Can be a tricky character and bombed the next, but that may came too soon. Step up to 3m should be perfect and ground is in his favour.
5pts win – Fabulous Saga @ 33/1 VC
5pts win – Mulcahys Hill @ 54/1 Matchbook
15:30 Cheltenham – Gold Cup
As open a Gold Cup as I can remember in a while. Personally I don’t trust Might Bite yet. He has to show it here that he stays professional and can get home in a competitive top class field in the noisy environment that Gold Cup Day at Cheltenham is.
That means, without a clear cut favourite, you can make cases for plenty in the field. I give Our Duke a big chance. However, he’s not a price I want to get involved in. Simply because I feel Killultagh Vic nearly double the price is much better value.
The question is how he has mentally recovered from the crashing fall in the Irish Gold Cup. We won’t find out until he runs. That says, without being able to say for sure whether he would have won, given Edwulf, the eventual winner that day, travelled strongly approaching the last fence too, it’s fair to say Killultagh Vic would have gone almighty close.
Despite his age of nine, the Willie Mullins charge has only nie starts to his name and only three over fences, of which he won two, and the other one the mentioned Leopardstown race.
That means Killultagh Vic may still have a bit of improvement left. That he is up to Grade 1 standard he showed last month. The ground is sure to be to his likening. So, if he has recovered from his fall, he must rate a huge runner.
Another interest I have is American. Not for win purposes. He’s likely not good enough, however, will relish the ground conditions. He has been supplemented for the race and his runner-up performance behind Definitely Red here in the Cotswold Chase at the end of January is a fair piece of form.
He travelled really well for most parts of the race, however might have done a bit too much too early, I felt. So there is a chance he could finish closer to Definitely Red on another day. That should be good enough to see him in the mix. He’s also one who is still open to progress.
5pts win – Killultagh Vic @ 10/1 VC
5pts Place – American @ 8/1 Matchbook
16:10 Cheltenham – Foxhunter Chase
Foxrock can make this a true test for the hype horse of the race: Burning Ambition. It’s true, in the past Foxrock didn’t enjoy the best of runs at this venue. However, in my mind, it was down to bad jumping. He’s older now, wiser, a better jumper and this not as good a race as those he used to run in.
Says, the ten year old is still class. He won four times in this sphere last season and had a fine reappearance at Thurles in January when runner-up behind Gilgamboa. Both jumped the last locked together, but Foxrock got very tired, as he was entitled to after his break in bad ground as it was that day.
Trip and ground conditions will be ideal for him here. Hope he can make it third time lucky – he certainly is the price of the race in my eyes.
10pts win – Foxrock @ 8/1 WH