Cheltenham Live Blog: Market movers, tips and fast results from Day 4 at the Festival
It's the most exciting day as the Cheltenham Festival comes to an end. Will there be more fairytale stories to come on Gold Cup Day? Get the latest from the markets, our ambassadors and tipsters here...
"Ch'tibello has to be the play in the County Hurdle. This race has been mapped out for him - it's a race the yard have an excellent record in - he's the beneficiary of a wind-op and his latest piece of form suggests that he has half a stone to play with."
18:02 - And that's your lot
The curtain falls on another superb Cheltenham Festival. A nice end to a very difficult day for Joseph O'Brien as Early Doors landed the Martin Pipe. Thanks for joining us here on the live blog, it's been a blast.
17:58 - Martin Pipe result
Winner: Early Doors
Betfair Starting Price: [7.50] (ISP [6.00])
Antepost High of Winner: [23.0]
Notable In-Running Highs and Lows: Early Doors [25.0]; Dallas Des Pictons [1.50]; Cartwright [3.0];
Comments: Last chance for punters to get out of trouble and many will be going home happy after Joseph O'Brien's top weight was too strong at the finish for the Gigginstown pair. The dust will soon be settling for another year and it will be time to reflect on a week which produced thrills and spills, never failing to entertain.
17:20 - Who to back in the Lucky Last?
And so to the final race of another enthralling Cheltenham Festival, the Martin Pipe. Tony Calvin is backing Mr Antolini (pictured) at a big price, while David Cleary told us earlier today that he was having a speculative dabble on Burrows Park. The two favourites in the market - Dallas Des Pictons and Early Doors - are saddled by Betfair Ambassador duo Gordon Elliott and Joseph O'Brien respectively.
17:10 - Grand Annual Handicap Chase result
Winner: Croco Bay
Betfair Starting Price:[180.0] (ISP: [67.0])
Notable In-Running Highs and Lows: Croco Bay [270.0]; Forest Bihan [3.10]; Bun Doran [1.56]; Brelan Das [2.40]
Comments: Not an easy puzzle for punters to solve in the penultimate race of the Festival, the sparingly campaigned Croco Bay attracted little market support during the build-up yet this was no fluke result. The veteran had gone well here in the past and was at the head of affairs throughout under Kelan Woods, before knuckling down brilliantly to see off a threatening thrust at the end from runner-up Bun Doran.
16:43 - Foxhunter Chase result
Winner: Hazel Hill
Betfair Starting Price: [4.90] (ISP [4.50])
Antepost High of Winner: [26.00]
Notable In-Running Highs and Lows: Hazel Hill [8.00]; Road To Rome [2.08]; Shantou Flyer [2.90]; Top Wood [2.60]
Comments: Phillip Rowley's prolific pointer hasn't lost many races in his entire career and was duly backed into favouritism by the time the tapes went up. A nice round of jumping set up a late charge past long-time leader Shantou Flyer and there was clear daylight behind when he breezed past the post still full of running.
16:05 - A cunning punt for the Foxhunters
He landed an excellent [16.9] winner in the County Hurdle; can Alan Thompson do the double? He is backing Shantou Flyer in the Foxhunters - here's why. Tony Calvin, meanwhile, is rowing in behind Caid Du Berlais (pictured).
15:56 - Gold Cup result
Winner: Al Boum Photo
Betfair Starting Price:: 13.50 (ISP [13.0])
Antepost High of Winner: [130.0]
Notable In-Running Highs and Lows: Al Boum Photo [24.0]; Clan Des Obeaux [3.40]; Presenting Percy [3.00]; Anibale Fly [4.10]
Comments: Willie Mullins finally ends his long wait for National Hunt's blue riband event. Paul Townend had some anxious moments on the winner, who gradually crept into the race, the stamina was there in reserve to keep the rest at bay and claim the chasing crown.
15:18 - It's the big one
Next up it's the biggest race of the week, the Gold Cup, which looks an absolutely top class renewal and a real puzzle to pick. We've heard how confident Paul Nicholls is about his Clan Des Obeaux but what are our tipsters saying?
Tony Calvin is looking to continue his good day with a win for long-term fancy Invitation Only, our Bets of the Day columnists Nick Shiambouros and Alan Dudman like the Mullins pair Kemboy and Bellshill respectively, while our lay specialist Jack Houghton is opposing the jolly Presenting Percy in the place markets.
15:04 - Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle result
Winner: Minella Indo
Betfair Starting Price: [141.0] (ISP [51.0])
Antepost High of Winner: [180.0]
Notable In-Running Highs and Lows: Minella Indo [220.0]; Allaho [2.22]; Commander Of Fleet [2.00]
Comments: Stamina and guts always required for this, and it was rank outsider Minella Indo for Henry De Bromhead who displayed these qualities in abundance to hold off several more fancied rivals. Congratulations must also go to Rachael Blackmore after riding her first Grade 1 winner, surely not her last!
14:30 - County Handicap Hurdle result
Betfair Starting Price [16.90] (ISP: [13.0])
Antepost High of Winner: [42.0]
Notable In-Running Highs and Lows: Chtibello [44.0]; We Have A Dream [2.16]; Eclair De Beaufeu [1.80]
Comments: There was the typical cavalry charge to the line but it was Team Skelton who had the answer to this race once again, Harry driving his mount clear to be warmly greeted by Dan after another job well done - and top marks to our Alan Thompson as outlined below!
14:07 - A strong fancy for the County Hurdle
Next up is the County Hurdle and our Bets of the Day columnist Alan Thompson makes Chtibello (pictured) his best bet of the entire meeting.
13:55 - Triumph Hurdle result
Winner: Pentland Hills
Betfair Starting Price: [42.0] (ISP [21.0])
Antepost High of Winner: [100.0]
Notable In-Running Highs and Lows: Pentland Hills [70.0]; Quel Destin [2.06]; Coeur Sublime [1.81]
Comments: Underway now on the last day and the opening juvenile championship got blown wide open after Sir Erec unfortunately pulled up. Nicky Henderson's winner was sent off a big price but travelled better than any other, then there was plenty left in the tank and little doubt about the result once they jumped the last.
13:46 - A big winner for TC
A horrible moment for Sir Erec as he was pulled up lame - and confirmation just in it was a fatal injury. Thoughts with connections.
The race was won by Nicky Henderson's Pentland Hills - a 20/1 winner for Tony Calvin. You can read the rest of his Day 4 tips here.
Pentland Hills could give him a run for his money. Split your stakes by backing him at 20/1 each way with the Betfair Sportsbook, and at 9/1 in their "without favourite" market. He was a really progressive horse on the Flat when with Chris Wall and one that showed his best form on his final start for him on soft.
13:16 - Joseph O'Brien confident Sir Erec can deliver
The Triumph Hurdle opens proceedings very shortly, with the hotly fancied Sir Erec a strong favourite at around the even money mark. Betfair Ambassador Joseph O'Brien is confident his charge can do the business.
The rain that has fallen won't be a problem and he looks as though the stiffer test of stamina will suit him. He looks to be the pick on form and hopefully he will show that on the day.
12:42 - The Nicholls verdict on his Gold Cup day runners
Less than an hour until racing so let's get the views of Betfair Ambassador Paul Nicholls on Clan Des Obeaux in the Gold Cup and all of his other runners. You can check out Paul's Day 4 column here.
11:53 - David Cleary's Day 4 selections
Percy strong favourite ahead of vintage Gold Cup
After a near-perfect day's racing on the third day of the Cheltenham Festival, the stage is set for the Blue Riband of steeplechasing, the Cheltenham Gold Cup at 15:30. There are 16 runners set to line up, with the trio that have dominated the market since January all having positives and negatives about them.
Presenting Percy, not seen over fences since winning the RSA Chase impressively at last year's Festival, is the strongest of the market leaders and currently a clear favourite, the belief clearly that his obvious potential will overcome the lack of experience at this level.
Last year's game winner Native River is the weakest of the market leaders, out to [8.2] on the Exchange at the time of writing, from a low of [5.4]. There is some doubt as to whether he's as good this season, though, like Presenting Percy, his Festival record is a compelling one.
Clan des Obeaux (pictured), long the fancy of this column, is pretty steady between the pair. He has the best form this season, but there are questions about his effectiveness on this track. A fascinating race is in store.
Destin-y awaits in Triumph?
On the rest of the card, perhaps the support for Quel Destin against the short-priced favourite Sir Erec in the Triumph Hurdle at 13:30, is the most interesting.
Quel Destin is the pick of those with form in Britain and is tough and genuine, qualities that often come up trumps in the hustle and bustle of this race. Sir Erec was mightily impressive at Leopardstown and has a smart level of form on the Flat, but perhaps he was shown in a flattering light that day.
The support for Quel Destin means that his stable-companion Pic d'Orhy has been a big drifter this morning, making him a very tempting bet in the race at a chunky [17.0]. Paul Nicholls' comments in his Betfair column on this French recruit are well worth reading in this context.
Pic d'Orhy showed a very high level of form when trained in France, form which gives him a good chance in today's race if able to show it in Britain at the first time of asking.
Mountain too big for Oscar rematch
The Albert Bartlett at 14:50 looks a much more open contest and is sure to develop into a thorough test of stamina. That will be right up the street of Stoney Mountain [38.0]. He was beaten by the market leader Lisnagar Oscar at Haydock last time, but he has a better chance of turning the tables than the market suggests, likely to be much more at home under today's circumstances.
The Grand Annual at 16:50 features several potentially progressive two-mile chasers, with Magic Saint and Not Another Muddle heading the market. While they have obvious claims, Whatswrongwithyou [15.5] has a similar sort of profile and appeals as the type to improve significantly for the switch to a big-field handicap from running in a smaller field of novices.
One of the features of the week has been the number of short-priced favourites trained in Ireland in the big handicaps. They have had a couple of successes, but the odd reverse too, and the same may be the case in the closing Martin Pipe at 17:30.
A speculative choice here is Burrows Park [29.0]. He has some strong form, is likely to be suited by the run of the race and has a good conditional rider taking over from a less experienced amateur.
11:12 - Exchange market movers on Gold Cup day
10:43 - Tony Calvin goes through the card
Resident big price tipster Tony Calvin has put an absolute shift in, as ever, this Cheltenham week and he returns with a thorough look at the Gold Cup day card, with a bet for every single race. Check out our man's column here.
10:09 - The Betting Guy's Day 4 trades
After three successful trades from three on Thursday, The Betting Guy returns with his final podcast of the Festival, where he has two plays. Our man also has eyes on the racing at Lingfield and Dundalk. Listen here..
09:58 - The @BetfairRacing Breakfast Briefing for Gold Cup day
Kieran O'Connor is joined by Betfair trader Niall O'Reilly to discuss all the latest from the markets ahead of a fantastic Day 4 card at Cheltenham.
It's Gold Cup day at the #CheltenhamFestival. Join Betfair's Kieran O'Connor & Niall O'Reilly as they have the latest from the trading room floor and input from @JosephOBrien2, @gelliott_racing & @PFNicholls.? Betfair Racing (@BetfairRacing) March 15, 2019
09:30 - @StopwatchRacing's verdict on Day 3 and Friday's best bets
It's highly unusual to see Thursday home to the best day of racing of the Cheltenham week but it proved thus yesterday. Racing fans who love a "story" found themselves in absolute clover, anyway.
Defi Du Seuil and Lostintranslation confirmed their superiority over the field but not in the order we hoped. In some respects Lostintranslation received the perfect ride from the front: he jumped brilliantly, got an easy time of it and was in the perfect place to kick off what was a steady-enough gallop.
Unfortunately, as we discussed yesterday, a test of speed at this trip was always going to play into Defi Du Seuil's hands as he possesses two-mile pace and so it proved. They've met repeatedly this season but this is probably the last time they'll meet now.
Lostintranslation will, quite correctly, be aimed at the Gold Cup and three-mile trips now (what a division that will be next year!) whilst Defi will presumably continue to play his trade over the intermediate trip or shorter.
Frodon (pictured) made, nearly, every yard a winning one. He set strong fractions, jumped brilliantly, was briefly headed but fought on relentlessly to battle back. He drew the stamina out of the pacier types (Un De Sceaux, Footpad) but had superior pace to the Irish stayers (Monalee, Road to Respect) and affirmed Nicholls' decision to skip the Gold Cup in favour of this target.
The Stayers Hurdle turned into one of the races of the week. A strong pace, the correct winner and two fabulous horses in behind. Sam Spinner was the beneficiary of the ride he should have received in 2018 when favourite. He ran an absolute blinder here and showed a brilliant attitude to keep battling despite having been part of a contested lead. He looks back in business and, assuming he stays over hurdles, this division could finally have a couple of superstars. Faugheen travelled best showing that he retains (most of) his ability but ultimately not having the stamina of the first two.
Paisley Park hit his customary flat spot but absolutely flew when he picked up. He made a hash of the last, but it didn't matter, and he kept going well up the hill. He's a perfect three-mile hurdler in the mould of Big Bucks or Inglis Drever. He travels in behind the bridle, saves a bit for himself, hits a flat spot but stays the trip very powerfully as a direct result of those energy saving abilities.
Day 4 Thoughts
The Albert Bartlett novices hurdle is a slog, something trainers never seem to understand, with the winners rarely coming from the sexy, unexposed types but instead those toughened from the experience of multiple runs.
Lisnagar Oscar has had four hurdles starts, improving steadily on each one. This culminated in a superb performance at Haydock. The strongest form on offer, it broke the clock that day relative to the other 3-miles performances and he ultimately won easily. That form looks head and shoulders above anything else here and I'd fancy him to win this for Rebecca Curtis at [8.6].
Ch'tibello has to be the play in the County Hurdle. This race has been mapped out for him - it's a race the yard have an excellent record in - he's the beneficiary of a wind-op and his latest piece of form suggests that he has half a stone to play with. The step down in trip may not be a positive but he has plenty of travelling speed which help carry him into the race and I'd hope he could out-scrap these up the hill. I think this is a slightly below average County Hurdle and I'm hoping he's the handicap blot at [10.0].