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As an exciting fourth and final day at the Cheltenham Festival beckons, Grosvenor Sport are continuing to offer double the odds (up to £10) on the first race!
Triumph Hurdle – Friday 1:30pm
DINARIA DES OBEAUX (available at double odds of 32/1), another Gordon Elliott inmate, looks the value bet in the Triumph Hurdle (1.30). The filly was only third in the Spring Juvenile Hurdle at Leopardstown last month but that was her first run at the top level and it’s very difficult to make the transition from maiden hurdle to Grade 1 winner in one step. Last year’s Triumph winner Ivanovich Gorbatov was only fourth in that race before his Cheltenham success.
The Albert Bartlett Novice’s Hurdle – Friday 2:50pm
The Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle (2.50) has thrown up its share of shock winners – including 33/1 shots Very Wood (2014) and Berties Dream (2010) – and TOMMY RAPPER (20/1) is taken to cause another upset. Dan Skelton’s six-year-old is still a maiden but his close second to Willoughby Court at Warwick in December was given a timely boost when the winner landed the Neptune on Wednesday and he has since placed in Listed company at Huntingdon. Both runs suggested that the step up to three miles would bring about improvement.
The 2017 Cheltenham Gold Cup – Friday 3:30pm
NATIVE RIVER (7/2) holds rock-solid claims in the Cheltenham Gold Cup (3.30). The Colin Tizzard-trained seven-year-old is unbeaten in three chase starts this season – including the Hennessy and Welsh National – and jumped his rivals ragged on each occasion. He lacks winning Cheltenham form but was second of 20 in the four-mile National Hunt Chase Challenge Cup at this meeting last year and won’t be inconvenienced by the likely decent going.
Gordon Elliott is having a festival to remember and his OUTLANDER (10/1) looks the main danger. The nine-year-old is best coming late off a strong pace and should have the race run to suit. He kept on strongly to deny Don Poli in the Lexus Chase at Leopardstown last time, a victory that took his record in fields of 12 or more runners to four wins from four starts.
TEA FOR TWO (66/1) is arguably best on right-handed tracks but had Native River back in third when landing the Grade 1 Kauto Star Novices’ Chase at Kempton last season and could go well at juicy odds.
2014 World Hurdle winner MORE OF THAT (11/1), who was in the process of running a big race prior to unseating at the last fence in the Irish Gold Cup on his most recent outing, is also worth considering.
Foxhunter Challenge Cup – Friday 4:10 pm
ON THE FRINGE (13/8) won’t be a fancy price to repeat last year’s win in the Foxhunter Challenge Cup (4.10) but he looks one of bankers of the meeting. The 12-year-old scored at all three of the big spring festivals last year after his comeback run in hunter chase company at Leopardstown and has had an identical preparation this time around. The excellent Jamie Codd, on the scoresheet with Cause Of Causes in the cross country chase here on Wednesday, again takes the ride.
Martin Pipe Conditional Jockey’s Handicap Hurdle – Friday 4.50pm
Nick Williams, who finally broke his festival duck when he saddled Flying Tiger to victory on Wednesday, is taken to land the Martin Pipe Conditional Jockey’s Handicap Hurdle (4.50) with COO STAR SIVOLA (14/1). The five-year-old French-bred slammed his rivals at Warwick last time and has previous Cheltenham festival form, going down by just three-quarters of a length when a 16/1 third in last year’s Fred Winter.
Top weight TAGLIETELLE (25/1) has picked up place money on his two previous Cheltenham festival outings – finishing fourth in the 2015 Coral Cup and filling the same position in last year’s Pertemps Final – and is worth an each-way saver at likely big odds.
Johnny Henderson Grand Annual Challenge Cup – Friday 5:30pm
The meeting closes with the ultra-tricky Johnny Henderson Grand Annual Challenge Cup (5.30), a race that could play to the strengths of the Paul Nicholls-trained LE PREZIEN (6/1). The six-year-old has never finished out of the first three since joining his current yard and recorded a fast time when third to Top Notch in Grade 1 company at Sandown on his latest outing.