Belfast Telegraph

Sports Awards

Home Sport Racing Cheltenham

Cheltenham Day Four tips and race quide: Henderson Might seal an historic Gold Cup success

 

By Michael Verney

Big prizes are nothing new to Nicky Henderson but the Seven Barrows handler has set his eyes on the most lucrative of them all when Might Bite goes for Gold in today's blue riband.

Winner of the Gold Cup with Long Run (2011) and Bobs Worth (2013), Henderson also bids to become the first trainer to take today's Cheltenham showpiece along with the Champion Hurdle and Champion Chase in the same season.

Might Bite's main opposition comes in the form of Jessica Harrington's Our Duke as the Moone handler targets successive Gold Cups following the victory of Sizing John.

His absence due to injury takes some gloss off but there are still plenty of sub-plots with Willie Mullins bidding to reverse his bad luck in the race - finishing second on six occasions - with Killultagh Vic.

1.30 GRADE ONE JCB TRIUMPH HURDLE 2M 179YDS

FAVOURITES have obliged in the last three runnings while Henderson has also trained the winner on six occasions so there's a lot to like about market leader Apple's Shakira.

JP McManus' filly looks the one to beat.

Mullins, who has won this race just once, has a four-pronged attack and while Mr Adjudicator has already scored in the top grade, it's interesting to note that Ruby Walsh was set to ride Stormy Ireland instead.

Alan King has been waxing lyrical about Grade Two winner Redicean, but his three wins at a flat Kempton track don't prepare him best.

Given she gets the 7lb sex allowance from all but one rival, it's hard to look past Apple's Shakira.

Verdict: Apple's Shakira.

2.10 GRADE THREE RANDOX HEALTH COUNTY HANDICAP HURDLE 2M 179YDS

THE form of Mullins' Bleu Et Rouge's second to Kalashnikov in the competitive Betfair Hurdle worked out well, with the winner second in the Supreme on Tuesday, but this race has every look of another bookmaker's bonanza with no favourite prevailing in the last 10 years.

Mullins has won four of the last eight renewals and also sends Lagostovegas, Whiskey Sour, Merie Devie and Sandsend but last year's Scottish Hurdle winner Chesterfield is of interest for namesake Seamus Mullins.

Off 3lb lower today, Daniel Sansom's mount should be a big player. He represents each-way value in a lottery.

Verdict: Chesterfield (e/w) can make the frame in an open affair.

2.50 GRADE ONE ALBERT BARTLETT NOVICES' HURDLE 2M 7F 213YDS

MULLINS won this race 12 months ago with second string Penhill and Ballyward looks the best of his trio (Real Steel and Fabulous Saga also take their chance) but the leading Irish challenge may come from Chris's Dream.

In his first run for Henry de Bromhead, the six-year-old was a sensational 64-length winner of a Grade Three at Clonmel.

The British challenge looks a formidable one, however, with Grade One Challow Hurdle winner Poetic Rhythm respected for Fergal O'Brien.

Henderson saddles four runners with Chef Des Obeaux the biggest danger to Santini. Past winners have usually won over 3m and Santini ticks that box.

Verdict: Santini.

3.30 GRADE ONE TIMICO CHELTENHAM GOLD CUP 3M 2F 70YDS

Harrington has an outstanding chance of back-to-back Gold Cups with Our Duke.

The absence of defending champion Sizing John is disappointing but last year's Irish Grand National hero Our Duke jumped back into the picture when proving too good for Presenting Percy at Gowran Park,

Killultagh Vic looked a winner of the Irish Gold Cup before crashing out at the last and leads a strong Mullins quartet.

Henderson's Might Bite hasn't been seen since claiming the King George on St Stephen's Day and while there are question marks about him idling in front, he is less likely to be sent for home until the time is right.

Last year's third Native River could go one better, but Might Bite will be hard beaten with Ruby Walsh saying he is "potentially one of the greatest horses we've ever seen".

Verdict: Might Bite.

4.10 ST JAMES'S PLACE FOXHUNTER CHALLENGE CUP OPEN HUNTERS' CHASE 3M 2F 70YDS

PACHA Du Polder provided Paul Nicholls with his sole Festival winner 12 months ago and makes a back-to-back bid but he may play second fiddle to stable-mate Wonderful Charm.

A fast-finishing second in last year's race, he only went down by a neck.

Verdict: Wonderful Charm.

4.50 MARTIN PIPE CONDITIONAL JOCKEYS' HANDICAP HURDLE 2M 4F 56YDS

Punters should tread with caution in this open handicap but it may pay to side with McManus and Early Doors, who is having his first run at this level after keeping Grade One company on his last two runs.

Verdict: Early Doors.

5.30 GRADE THREE JOHNNY HENDERSON GRAND ANNUAL HANDICAP CHASE 2M 62YDS

HARRINGTON rarely sends runners to the Festival unless she feels they have a live chance and has two here, including last year's winner Rock The World.

He has performed with credit in the past two renewals but preference is for stable-mate Don't Touch It.

Only two favourites have won in the last 16 runnings so one at bigger prices to keep in mind might be Dresden.

Verdict: Don't Touch It.

Belfast Telegraph

Daily News Headlines Newsletter

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox.

Popular

From Belfast Telegraph