Cheltenham Festival Day Four Betting Tips and Odds – 16th March 2018

Cheltenham Festival Day Four Betting Tips and Odds – 16th March 2018

Each day of the Cheltenham Festival is appetising in its own way, but Day Four on the Friday sees the main course served as the contenders line up for this year’s renewal of the Cheltenham Gold Cup.

One of the most famous races in the calendar year, a win here earns a place in the history books alongside the likes of Kauto Star, Denman and more. Here we pick our best bets for each of the seven contests on the final day of this fabulous Festival.

1:30 - JCB Triumph Hurdle

The fact that trainer Nicky Henderson states with some assertion that Apple’s Shakira will be better on better ground, must be seriously worrying for connections of those in opposition in the Day Four opener. Her three starts for Henderson to date have all come here at Cheltenham and all on soft ground. The sister of Apple’s Jade has won them all, including a pair of Grade 2 affairs to the tune of 17 and eight lengths. She looks a star in the making, but is far from the only contender to be packed with promise in this field.

With Willie Mullins looking set to send over Stormy Ireland, who won her debut by a faintly ridiculous 58 lengths last time out, this looks a strong race for the fillies who will benefit from the 7lb allowance.

Best of the boys may prove to be Alan King’s, Redicean. A decent – if unspectacular – performer on the flat when with David O’Meara, he has certainly taken to hurdles with aplomb in winning his two starts to date by a combined 20 lengths.

This looks a strong renewal, but its hard not to like the proven course form of Apple’s Shakira. Henderson has won this three times in the past nine years and we predict he can improve his record still further in 2018. Take the best betting odds 3/1 with Coral.

2:10 - County Handicap Hurdle

Willie Mullins may be more immediately associated with success in the week’s major Graded contests, but he has a better recent record than anyone in this handicap affair. Having won four of the past eight renewals, anything the Irish maestro sends to post is worthy of a place on the shortlist. As such, it’s no surprise to see Max Dynamite trading as the current favourite for the race in our odds comparison. This dual purpose performer has however had a crack at this race before, when being beaten 11 lengths into fourth in 2015.

This race has fallen to a runner aged five or six years old eight times in the past 10 years, and the one we like the look of is Trainwreck from the yard of Mullins’ big rival, Gordon Elliott. This six year old son of Stowaway was way out of his depth in the Grade 1 Deloitte Novice Hurdle won by stablemate, Samcro, last time, but had previously shown what he could do in handicap company when winning under a hands and heels ride at Leopardstown. Still looking a little green at times, there may well be plenty more to come. At betting odds of 20/1 with Bet365, he looks worth an each way punt.

2:50 - Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle

There was very little to choose between the Willie Mullins runner, Next Destination, and Gordon Elliott’s Cracking Smart in a Grade 1 at Naas last time out, and there’s again not much between the pair at the head of the market here. Having beaten Cracking Smart twice now, preference would be for the Mullins runner, but we just prefer another in the field.

The one we like is Nicky Henderson’s unbeaten son of Milan, Santini. This giant of a horse looks a sure-fire future winner over fences, but he isn’t doing too badly over the smaller obstacles at present. The manner in which he powered home to reel in the very useful Black Op over 2m4½f here last time out strongly suggested that he would be seen in an even better light when stepped up in trip. He gets that additional distance here and we expect him to be very tough to keep out of the frame at odds of 8/1 with Ladbrokes.

3:30 - Cheltenham Gold Cup Chase

The Irish took the Festival’s biggest prize with Sizing John 12 months ago and look to have a decent chance of following up, with our odds comparison showing that five of the current first seven in the betting hailing from the Emerald Isle. They do not, however, appear to have one standout contender.

Sizing John and Our Duke ran terribly last time out, Killultagh Vic has talent but jumps poorly, whilst Coney Island may yet head to the Ryanair. Christmas Chase winner Road To Respect could prove to be the pick of the bunch, but it is a pair of English runners who we like best.

Native River wasn’t beaten far in third last year and looks highly likely to go well once again. Quite what he achieved in beating a non-stayer on his seasonal return at Newbury is open to debate, but he can have done little more than he did in making all before powering further and further clear in the straight. A winner of the Welsh National, he clearly stays very well and will arrive at the race fresher than most.

We still suspect that it may well be Might Bite who proves to be the class act in the line-up. Whilst he didn’t exactly run away from his rivals in the closing stages of the King George – indeed Double Shuffle appeared to be closing come the line – we are inclined to believe he was simply idling in front that day. His effort when recovering from almost a walk after the final flight in the RSA, to then turn on the turbo and pip Whisper on the line, suggests that he will have enough in reserve in the closing stages to use his speed to good effect. He looks the right favourite to us and the most likely winner at decent enough odds of 7/2 with Coral.

4:10 - Foxhunter Challenge Cup Open Hunters’ Chase

Wonderful Charm finished like an express train in this contest last year, when only just failing to reel in stablemate, Pacha Du Polder in what was an excellent 1-2 for Paul Nicholls. We don’t expect he will be set quite so much to do this time around, and having confirmed his wellbeing with a good win on his seasonal return at Musselburgh, he looks the bet in the race at 8/1 with William Hill.

Those looking for one at a bigger price may want to consider 2015 and 2016 winner of this race, On The Fringe. Fourth last year, the now 13 year old ran well enough in a Point to Point last time out to suggest he hasn’t fallen out of love with the game. It wouldn’t be the biggest surprise to see him outrun his odds of 33/1 with Coral and we predict he will offer decent each way value.

4:50 - Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle

This event for the up and coming jockeys tends to go to one of the major yards, with seven of the nine editions to date being won by either Paul Nicholls, Nicky Henderson, Gordon Elliott or Willie Mullins.

Mullins in particular isn’t afraid to run a good one here having won the race with Sir Des Champs, Killultagh Vic and Don Poli in the past. He looks set to send Duc Des Genievres in pursuit of the prize this year and he looks well worthy of support at big odds of 10/1 with Unibet. A big eyecatcher when third to Next Destination on his debut for the yard in January, he was then second to Samcro over a trip too short last time. With those runs under his belt and stepping back up in trip, we fancy he may prove tough to beat.

5:30 - Johnny Henderson Grand Annual Challenge Cup

“Lucky Lasts” don’t come much more difficult than the Cheltenham Festival finale. With the winner returning at a double figure SP nine times in the past 11 years, this has often proved a fiendishly difficult race to call.

All that being said, we can’t resist having an each way interest on Gordon Elliott’s, Tombstone at betting odds of 25/1 with Ladbrokes. Two from six over fences, and only once outside of the first two, he does stay further than this but has won at the trip. Perhaps not quite up to RSA or JLT Novices’ level, this would look a more achievable aim and the 2016 Supreme Novices’ Hurdle fourth is the one for us.