Through The Card: Cheltenham Festival, Day 4

Cheltenham crowd
The Gold Cup is the feature race on the final day of the Cheltenham Festival

Timeform take you through the card on the final day of the Cheltenham Festival on Friday...

"His claims are solid..."

Timeform on Al Boum Photo

13:30 - A cracking renewal of the Triumph and the market is finding it hard to split the first three. Allmankind has done nothing wrong, winning all three starts to date, but he is likely to go off very hard again, and could prove vulnerable to the likes of GOSHEN (5) and SOLO (10) in the closing stages. The former has won his last six starts both on the Flat and over hurdles by wide margins, and sets the standard on form, for all there is room for improvement in the jumping department. Solo made an impressive British/stable debut at Kempton last time, drawing clear in good style in the closing stages, and he surely has more to offer. It looks between those two, and both should be kept on side with the placepot in mind.

14:10 - Ultra competitive as usual but CIEL DE NIEGE (14) has been threatening to land a big pot and can go one better than in the Betfair last month. Admittedly, he remains a maiden over hurdles, but is more than capable from this mark, and can provide J.P. McManus with yet another winner this week. The County is sure to be run at a break-neck gallop and ARAMON (2), one of last season's top novices, is also high on the shortlist. He won a Grade 1 at Leopardstown and went on to finish sixth in the Supreme at this meeting and second in the Top Novices' Hurdle at Aintree after. Aramon ran his best race of the season when fifth to Honeysuckle in the Irish Champion Hurdle last time, and looks attractively weighted from a mark of 149.

14:50 - THYME HILL (19) arguably has the best form on show and, given the manner of his success in the Challow last time, probably hasn't reached his limited as a hurdler, so last year's Champion Bumper third is taken to put up another big Festival showing. The Albert Bartlett is always a thorough test of stamina for largely unexposed horses, but it is hard to knock what LATEST EXHIBITION (10) has achieved so far for Paul Nolan. He has won three of his four starts this season, toppling hot favourite Andy Dufresne at Navan in December, and making the step up to Grade 1 company a winning one in the Nathaniel Lacy & Partners Solicitors Novices' Hurdle at Leopardstown last time. Latest Exhibition has since been saved for this and he shapes as though he will relish the demands of this race.

15:30 - A wide-open renewal of the Gold Cup where you can make a good case for half a dozen. It is hard to steer away from last year's winner AL BOUM PHOTO (1), though. History tells you that it is incredibly hard to win back-to-back Gold Cups, but he has been lightly campaigned since, and has followed the exact same path as 12 months ago. Moreover, he remains relatively lightly-raced, is still only and eight-year-old, and won with more in hand than the margin suggests 12 months ago. His claims are solid. Another who should relish this test is DELTA WORK (5). He is a graduate from a cracking division of novices last season, and proved himself one of the best staying chasers around when defeating Kemboy (for the second time this season) in the Irish Gold Cup last time. He isn't a flashy sort, but he has stamina in abundance, and is expected to be staying on best of all on the run-in.

16:10 - BILLAWAY (3) has a different profile to the bulk of his rivals, lightly raced and firmly on the up. He can improve further to account for the likes of Minella Rocco and last year's winner Hazel Hill, the pair having pulled a long way clear as they fought out the finish at Wetherby earlier in the year. Caid du Berlais also warrants a mention.

16:50 - The one horse that stands out in the Grand Annual is GREANETEEN (7), who has made an excellent transition to fences this season. His slick and accurate jumping is a standout, showing a natural ability to jump fences that not many horses have, and he wouldn't have been out of place if contesting the Arkle earlier in the week. Therefore he is a strong bet to win this from a mark of 150, the sort to progress into a graded performer sooner rather than later.

17:30 - FRONT VIEW (12) represents last year's winning connections and with Jonjo O'Neill booked everything looks set for a huge run from the promising five-year-old. He chased down Envoi Allen on his hurdling debut and, for all he hasn't progressed much since, he appeals as being on a fair mark on handicap debut, so is a strong fancy. His old rival Five O'Clock likely has a bigger effort in him also and demands close attention. Pileon, with the excellent Ben Jones up, looks the clear pick of the British challengers. Column of Fire heads up the Gordon Elliott battalion.

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