Paul Callaghan Cheltenham Day 4 Tips
Paul Callaghan give his tips and predictions on how he thinks day 4 of the Cheltenham Festival will play out.
1.20 Triumph Hurdle (Grade 1) over 2m 1f.
Zanahiyr has looked the horse to lead the Irish contingent in this year’s Triumph That being said Quilixios posted a time of a little over 4 seconds faster than Zanahiyr, on slower ground at Leopardstown on his last run. However in a post race interview, jockey Jack Kennedy (who has won on both mentioned), immediately leaned towards Zanahiyr and true to his word, Jack partners the Denise Foster trained runner.
Quilixios races slightly behind the bridle and only does enough when hitting the front, which is generally always a good sign but difficult to weigh up as I don’t think the fuel tank has seen the warning light flash just yet.
Adagio is worth a mention. The David Pipe trained runner is a solid battle hardened contender
…who has improved since finishing runner up behind Duffle Coat at Cheltenham last November. When hitting the front on route to victory at Chepstow last time out, Adagio appeared to pull himself up and was only doing enough, so he’s more value than the winning distance of two and a half lengths would suggest.
The one that gets my vote, is the Alan King trained Tritonic, ridden by Adrian Heskin. He finished his race well, when scoring on hurdling debut at Ascot despite being caught for speed leaving Swinley Bottom.
He beat the Gary Moore trained Casa Loupi by 1 length, who he then confirmed that superiority over Casa Loupi, by beating him by 10 lengths when the pair clashed at Kempton at the end of last month. A slight concern would be that Casa Loupi let that form down last Monday when he was a beaten odds on favourite at Stratford. The saddle slipped rounding the home turn, but he looked a spent force at that stage.
Tritonic did put 10 lengths between himself and Casa Loupi from the final flight of hurdles to the winning line at Kempton and the time he posted from the landing side of the second last hurdle to the line was pretty fast. I think Tritonic can give trainer Alan King a third victory of this race.
1.55 County Handicap Hurdle (Grade 3) over 2m 1f.
Plenty in with chances here in a race that usually throws up a hard luck story or two. With 26 runners declared, there’s sure to be plenty of hustle and bustle as riders jockey for position.
I’ve sided with the Dan Skelton trained Third Time Lucki, ridden by Dan’s brother Harry. Third Time Lucki finished fourth in last year’s Champion Bumper at the festival and despite being a beaten favourite on two of his last three runs, I think he will appreciate the better ground here. Dan Skelton has trained three winners in the last five runnings of this race, and once again, has a lively contender with Third Time Lucki.
2.30 Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle (Grade 1) over 3m.
I really like the Tom Lacey trained Adrimel, who was a Grade 2 winner last time out at Warwick. He is partnered once again by Richard Johnson. He is unbeaten in all three starts over hurdles and although this is his first start under rules beyond 2m 5f, he won a point to point over 3m and is bred to stay this 3m trip. Adrimel is a horse held in very high regard by his connections and I think he has every chance of retaining his unbeaten record over hurdles.
3.05 Cheltenham Gold Cup Chase (Grade 1) over 3m 2f 70y.
I think favourite Al Boum Photo can jump into the history books under jockey Paul Townend for trainer Willie Mullins, by winning his third consecutive Gold Cup.
He’s been given the perfect preparation and in a race where there are question marks over a lot of his opponents,
From ground to revival missions, he is a solid option. Boring I know, but I can’t make a case against Al Boum Photo. It would be fantastic to see a triple Gold Cup winner once again.
4.50 Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle over 2m 4f 56y.
I’m taking a chance and staying loyal to the Dan Skelton trained Langer Dan, who bids to cash in on a substantial bonus, following a bloodless victory in the Imperial Cup at Sandown last Saturday. He’s a hold up performer, so will need a strong pace throughout and a little luck in running but I think he is a horse still improving. It’s also worth mentioning that this is his third run since having a wind operation.
Gabynako spearheads the list of dangers.
Odds correct at time of publication