Already, the final day of Cheltenham 2014 has arrived and after three days of the usual high class racing and excitement we’re looking forward to more of the same on Gold Cup day.
The Gold Cup is of course the day’s feature race with Bobs Worth looking to defend the title he earned a year ago. If he could manage to do so, it would be the final leg of an incredible treble for jockey Barry Geraghty who has already rode winners in the Champion and World Hurdles. Another Gold Cup win would be a remarkable achievement.
Here’s what to look out for on Day 3 of the Festival:
- The Triumph Hurdle is the first race on today’s card at 1.30. Favourite Calipto is drifting somewhat in the betting in spite of the generally positive feeling that surrounds the horse.
Trained by Paul Nichols, Darryl Jacobs’s mount should go close at least. Guitar Pete beat Tiger Roll in the Spring Juvenile Hurdle and is strongly fancied by many while Tiger Roll can’t be ruled out either.
Pearl Castle, although new to the jumps scene, will appeal to many and with good reason. At 10/1 he could get the day off to a flyer.
- Willie Mullins’s Briar Hill has been very heavily backed to land the 2.40 Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle but will face a tough task in overcoming David Pipe’s Kings Palace.
Mullins’s charge is unbeaten over hurdles and prevailed in last year’s Champion Bumper showing his fondness for the course. Deputy Dan and AP McCoy’s Captain Cutter are relatively big prices and may be enticing but on better ground may not fare any better than the market suggests.
Kings Palace then seems the most likely challenger to the favourite and having claimed two wins in as many starts in October and December respectively. On better ground, he might be the horse to beat.
- The feature race, not just of the day but the entire Festival, is next up with the Gold Cup at 3.20.
Last year’s winner Bob’s Worth goes off as favourite with Silviniaco Conti next best and justifiably so after his performance here last year. Paul Nichols’s horse garnered plenty admirers 12 months ago when travelling well before falling three from home. Were it not for that mistake, he may well have prevailed over the eventual champion Bob’s Worth.
Last Instalment and First Lieutenant will no doubt see plenty support too, although the ground may be a major issue for the former. The Giant Bolster at 14/1 looks like the value bet having finished second and fourth in the last two years - unlikely to land the big prize but worth an each way punt.
In the end, two major factors are in Bobs Worth favour: he’s the defending champion and is clearly comfortable at Cheltenham unbeaten over five starts here and also, he has the peerless Barry Geraghty on board. Again, he will be the one to beat.