Cheltenham Day 4 Lays: Take on Percy n' Erec

Presenting Percy Cheltenham
Presenting Percy may have Festival form, but it's slow Festival form
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Including his largest bet of the week so far, Jack Houghton is going after two big names on the last day of the Cheltenham Festival...

"Quiz question for you. According to my speed ratings, which horse is the slowest over fences in this year's Gold Cup?"

Five out of nine successful lays this week, with what was hopefully a helpful lay-to-back recommendation on Wednesday in the shape of Altior in the Champion Chase. Hopefully we can find a few to go after on Friday's card too, but if you're new to laying, check out our guide first.

Sir Erec's form does not stand up to scrutiny in the Triumph

It's easy to view a Grade One hurdle win and Group Two flat placing in a horse's form and think, in the context of a race like the Triumph, that you're dealing with a different class of animal when compared to the rest of the field. Looking beyond the bare race classifications, though, a different story emerges: the form of Sir Erec's group placing on the flat was not especially strong (and the time was slow), and his hurdle win came in a seven-runner race, again run unhurriedly.

A closer look still at his form shows that a rival here - Tiger Tap Tap - was only a closely fought neck behind on the pair's hurdling debut, so it's hard to understand the odds discrepancy. In what is my biggest bet of the week so far, I'm laying Sir Erec at [2.08], expecting longer-priced horses like Quel Destin and Nelson River to feature more prominently than the market expects.

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Buzzers at the ready for some Gold Cup trivia...

Quiz question for you. According to my speed ratings, which horse is the slowest over fences in this year's Gold Cup? Drum roll... Presenting Percy. Strange, perhaps, that last year's RSA Chase winner should have returned such a paltry speed rating - after all, races at the Festival are so competitive that winners are usually guaranteed a stand-out time figure - but, for whatever reason, that particular race was slowly run.

Now, if including hurdling form, Presenting Percy looks a much faster horse - his Pertemps Hurdle win at the 2017 Festival helps him there - but it's still an oddity to have the favourite for racing's most competitive chase without a standout piece of clock form in their record. I'll be going after him in the Gold Cup place market at [2.40].

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