A win bet and an e/w tip from Kevin Blake for Day 4
Fancies Gala Marceau to see off rivals in the Triumph
16/1 Piper will have race run to suit in County Hurdle
This is the thing at the Cheltenham Festival. We spend months and months building up to it, then it's over before we know it.
The fourth and final day of the meeting is upon us and it's the last chance to make it pay at the greatest arena in National Hunt racing. Let's make it count.
Gala can confirm form with stablemate
13:30 Cheltenham - Gala Marceau @ 4/1
The action on day four will be kicked off by the Triumph Hurdle (13:30) and Willie Mullins has a grip on the market in a manner very rarely seen in a Grade 1 race at this meeting.
He is responsible for the first four in the betting and the shortest price non-Mullins contender is 20/1. It will be a major shock if he doesn't supply the winner, but which one will it be?
Much of the pre-race focus will be on Lossiemouth and Blood Destiny, but my own preference is for Gala Marceau.
Prior to the Spring Juvenile Hurdle at the Dublin Racing Festival, Lossiemouth looked set to be a short-priced favourite for this race, but she met with serious interference in running and couldn't make up the lost ground in the closing stages, with Gala Marceau seeing her off by 2½ lengths.
The widespread analysis of that race has concluded that Lossiemouth was particularly unlucky, but I'm not so sure.
There is no doubt that Lossiemouth suffered a range of interference and was unquestionably better than the bare result suggests, but it shouldn't be overlooked just how well Gala Marceau won the race.
She pulled notably hard, but jumped slickly and travelled powerfully to the front at the second-last flight before putting the race away without too much fuss. For all the trouble that Lossiemouth met, she never seriously threatened to catch Gala Marceau.
While Gala Marceau had finished behind Lossiemouth at Leopardstown's Christmas meeting, she was reportedly in need of the run and was sprung from cover much earlier than ideal at the third-last flight.
She appeals as having loads of pace and may well be best covered up as long as possible in a well-run race.
A strong pace is no longer guaranteed in the Triumph Hurdle, but Danny Mullins will have learned a lot from his two outings on her and will be well armed to execute the optimal tactics.
The market has been quite disrespectful of Gal Marceau's winning performance in the Spring Juvenile Hurdle, but I won't make the same mistake. I think she has a much better chance of winning the Triumph Hurdle than her current odds imply.
Piper set to thrive in strongly-run race
14:10 Cheltenham - Pied Piper E/W @ 16/1
The McCoy Contractors County Handicap Hurdle (14:10) is always one of the toughest races of the week, but we'll have a crack at it. It generally pays to stick to the younger, less exposed types in this race and the one I like is the Gordon Elliott-trained Pied Piper.
The five-year-old was one of the leading juvenile hurdlers of last season, finishing a close third in the Triumph Hurdle. He began this season with authoritative wins at Cheltenham and Down Royal to put himself in the picture of the open Grade 1 scene, but his season hit a bump when he came back clinically abnormal after the Matheson Hurdle at Leopardstown's Christmas meeting.
He got back on track with a very good run in the face of a tough task in the Irish Champion Hurdle and that run might well put him spot on for this.
While he has a lot of weight to carry, the main appeal with him is that he has always appealed as being one that will thrive in a strongly-run race with plenty of cover available to him, a scenario that he has yet to meet.
The rain that has arrived will hold no fears for him and with Davy Russell's riding style being ideal for this type of race, he is selected to run a big race.
Racing... Only Better. Watch the Cheltenham Day 4 preview here.