Robbie Power Backs Successive Gold Cup Glory For Native River

Former Gold Cup winning jockey Robbie Power has spoken directly to us from Cheltenham to cast his expert eye over Friday’s card at the Festival.

He believes the Irish can get off to a good start on the final day of action in the Triumph Hurdle:

1.30 – Triumph Hurdle
The Irish have a very strong hand and I’d be surprised if Sir Erec can’t win it. He was a lot of people’s idea of the Irish banker coming over here. He’s done nothing wrong in two starts over hurdles and I think he’ll take plenty of beating.

2.10 – County Hurdle
It’s so competitive you’ll have to stick a pin in it. Pingshou has a tongue tie on for the first time and blinkers as well. He’s had a go over fences and it didn’t work out but he’s come back from a leg injury well and he’s going in fit. I think he’s got an each-way chance because he’s a Grade 1 winner over hurdles, he’s dropped down to a mark of 142. The blinkers should help sharpen him up.

Crooks Peak was a good winner at Newbury last week, he’s won his last 3 and at 133 he could be well in.

2.50 – Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle
A horse I like a lot in this race is Derrinross of Philip Dempsey’s. He’s won his last 2 and he’s got plenty of age on his side which you need for a race like this a sit can be a real gruel. He won a 3-mile hurdle race in Cork before Christmas on very testing conditions and with that age on his side he could very, very close.

Allaho was very impressive on his debut over hurdles at Clonmel and I think between these two, the Irish will win it.

3.30 Gold Cup
I’m going with last year’s winner Native River. It mightn’t be just as testing as last year but there’s plenty of ease in the ground and there is rain forecast. He’s had a good campaign, he was 2nd at Haydock then 3rd at the King George even though Kempton isn’t his cup of tea. Back at Cheltenham, going left handed and coming up that hill, I think he’s the one to beat.

The Kellys would have loved to have got a run into Presenting Percy over fences but it hasn’t worked out and you can’t beat match practice.