Call The Cops was another 9/1 winner for the blog yesterday, following in the hooves of Aux Ptits Soins on Wednesday. All in all, a very satisfactory festival’s punting so far and I’m confident going into Friday and the Gold Cup.
1.30 JCB Triumph Hurdle
The 7/4 about Peace and Co has evaporated as I write…to be replaced by a tasty looking 11/4. Despite getting on edge a little before his races, I have Peace and Co as the best of the Henderson trio and ahead of his rivals on what he has achieved so far and there is surely more to come. Beltor will be a tough nut to crack, but I think Peace and Co will get us off to a good start on Friday.
2.05 Vincent O´Brien County Handicap Hurdle
A typically unfathomanble renewal of the Vincent O’Brien and I won’t even hazard a guess at the winner. No bet.
2.40 Albert Bartlett Novices´ Hurdle
My next bet of the day comes in the 2.40 in the form of Black Hercules from the festival’s leading trainer Willie Mullins. He’s a big powerful type and will have come on again for his latest run. No More Heroes looks the danger but I wouldn;t put you off Harry Fry’s Thomas Brown at around 16/1 each way. But for me, It’s Black Hercules.
3.20 Betfred Cheltenham Gold Cup Chase
This is one of the most open Gold Cup’s in many year including the surprise victory of Lord Windermere last year. The champion is back to defend his title with a similar form profile to last season so don’t ignore his chance. Many Clouds has a reasonable shout at around 10/1 and I like Coneygree at a similar price. I have Djakadam at a nice 16/1 – now only 7/1 in places – so won’t be adding more at this stage. He’s probably too short now. If I was to have a fresh bet based on the current prices, it would be Road to Riches at c. 12/1. I like the way he won his race last time and he should like the course and ground.
4.00 St. James´s Place Foxhunter Chase Challenge Cup
Another minefield to negotiate. Hardly an original choice but I really to think, baring a fall, Paint The Clouds under sam Whaley-Cohen has a solid chance and looks a value bet even at 9/2.
4.40 Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys´ Handicap Hurdle
Another race I am happy to swerve from a betting perspective – I wouldn’t be rushing to back the favourite though.
5.00 A.P. McCoy Grand Annual Chase Challenge Cup
There’s no more fitting way to bring the curtain down on AP McCoy’s final cheltenham festival than a race named in his honour. He’s onboard the favourite Ned Buntline and it would raise the roof if it were to win. You can almost imagine his peers let him past on the run-in if he’s within breathing distance. Somehow, I don’t think the fairytale will come true, and a better option is Chris Pea Green at around 22/1 – 25/1 for the Moore stable.