Cheltenham Festival – Day 4

Time: 14:10McCoy Contractors County Handicap Hurdle (Class 1)

Selections: Sharjah (8/1 – 6 places)

Trainer: Willie Mullins Jockey: Mr P W Mullins

Summary: With 28 runners in the County Hurdle, picking a winner is like finding a needle in a haystack. Saying that, the one I believe will run a big race is SHARJAH.

In a race like this, you need a lot to go right for you, but hopefully Patrick can get into a nice rhyme about mid pack and kicking him on in the home straight.

Sharjah has some great form over the last few years, including finishing second behind the likes of Honysuckle, Stateman and Fil Dor. If he can create anything like that form then he will be going very close again.

Time: 15:30 – Boodles Cheltenham Gold Cup Chase (Class 1)

Selection: A Plus Tard (11/2 – 3 places)

Trainer: Henry De Bromhead Jockey: Rachael Blackmore

Summary: Obviously the talking horse of the race is Galopin Des Champs, and he is a worthy favourite. However, I’m sticking with A PLUS TARD to gain a consecutive Gold Cup victory.

I backed A Plus Tard at 12/1 when he was pulled up in the Betfaire Chase at Haydock, that was definitely not his running and subsequently their were issues found.

There is a concern he hasn’t had a run since that race at Haydock, but if he is back to his best then, in my eyes, he’ll be fighting out the finish with Golpin Des Champs.

And what a story and week it would be for Henry De Bromhead and Rachael Blackmore.

Note: Won last years Gold Cup, beating Minella Indo by 15 lengths.

Time: 16:10 – St. James’s Place Festival Challenge Cup Open Hunters’ Chase (Class 2)

Selection: Billaway (8/1 – 4 places)

Trainer: Willie Mullins Jockey: Mr P W Mullins

Summary: I’m going for another Willie and Patrick runner here, and that’s the very consistent BILLAWAY.

This horse can just run and run, always finishing off his races really strongly. He is also a very versatile horse, having won on most the courses he has ran out, on most ground conditions – including here at Cheltenham.

He does like to take the led in his races, so hopefully Patrick can get him to the front and jumping fluently. If he can then he should be pushing up the hill for the win.

Note: He hasn’t been out of the top 2 in 16 of last 17 races.