CHELTENHAM FESTIVAL – DAY 4 (FRIDAY)

13:30 – JCB Triumph Hurdle (Grade 1) Master Blueyes was beaten by Charli Parcs in December but was travelling much better than his rival when they met again in February in the Adonis and looked likely to have won even if Charli Parcs hadn’t fallen two from home. They both look to have the quality to get involved here but preference is for top rated DEFI DU SEUIL who has already won at Grade 1 level, is unbeaten in five career runs including three at Cheltenham and has looked very impressive throughout his career so far. DEFI DU SEUIL (WIN)

14:10 – Randox Health County Hurdle (Grade 3) What we’ve seen over the past three days of the festival is how important course form is at this prestigious venue. That’s why I can’t help but side with former festival winner IVANOVICH GORBATOV. A drop into handicap company is sure to help and if his class shines through expect a big run. Of the rest you have to fear anything Gordon Elliot sends out and that’s true with the vastly improving Mick Jazz. Current favourite North Hill Harvey and at a price Joey Sasa are also worth a mention. IVANOVICH GORBATOV (E/W)

14:50 – Albert Bartlett Novices Hurdle (Grade 1) Cheltenham form can be play such a big part especially in the longer races at the festival so WHOLESTONE looks a cracking bet for this years’ Albert Bartlett given that he is unbeaten in two over course and distance and has made the frame in all four previous runs at Cheltenham. A winner of four of his five races this season, he has already finished ahead of main rival West Approach on three occasions and fits with many of the positive stats for previous winners of this race, being a second season hurdler and the winner of the Classic Novices Hurdle earlier this season (a race where the winner has gone on to win the Albert Bartlett four times from ten). He looks great value against a favourite who is unproven over both track and trip. WHOLESTONE (WIN)

15:30 – Timico Cheltenham Gold Cup Chase (Grade 1) The Cheltenham Gold Cup is the very pinnacle of the national hunt season and always one of the most exciting races of the year to watch. This year’s promises to be no different despite the field being robbed of the likes of defending champion Don Cossack, antepost favourite Thistlecrack and the tragic 2016 Ryanair Chase winner Vautour. The wide open nature of the race and the quickening ground have raised doubts over the market principals as Native River especially would prefer much softer ground. A chance is instead taken on Irish raider SIZING JOHN to follow up his Irish Gold Cup win with success in the big one, and on St Patrick’s Day no less. The Jessica Harrington runner has got better for the longer distances, will relish the ground and has yet to be out of the first three in nine starts over fences. SIZING JOHN (E/W)

16:10 – Cheltenham St. James’s Place Foxhunter Challenge Cup Open Hunters’ Chase ON THE FRINGE carries the hopes of Ireland and will be seen as a leading light here. He bids for an unprecedented three timer in this particular race. Course form is invaluable at this meeting and he has never been out of the first four in four previous attempts. His run behind Foxrock last time reads well and he can make a bold bid. ON THE FRINGE (WIN)

16:50 – Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys Handicap Hurdle The Martin Pipe Handicap Hurdle is often one of the trickiest races of the festival to call, so it makes sense to seek out some each way value. The race is named after the mentor of trainer Gordon Elliott and with horses on fire this week he can seal an emotional win in this with TAGLIATELLE. The horse is top rated and top weight both of which have a great record in this race. The horse has earned over £50k in prize money over hurdles in his career and he looks a massive each way price to land the spoils here. TAGLIETELLE (E/W)

17:30 – Johnny Henderson Grand Annual Challenge Cup Handicap Chase The curtain closer and a final chance for connections and punters to end yet another spectacular Cheltenham Festival on a high. ROCK THE WORLD finished a good third in this last season and could have been described as slightly unlucky as he was hampered and interfered with in the run, generally disappointing this term it could be that this has always been the aim and at the odds he can make the frame. DODGING BULLETS isn’t the same horse as when winning the Queen Mother here in 2015, this is a much easier assignment than he used to however. Trained by Paul Nicholls it would be no shock to see him take advantage of this lenient looking mark and he is afforded a chance to do just that. DODGING BULLETS (E/W) ROCK THE WORLD (E/W)

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