Cheltenham Festival Day 4 Betting Tips – Friday 16th March 2018

We bid farewell to the 2018 Cheltenham Festival on Friday but things will end in climatic style with plenty of big races on the final day. Kicking things off is the Triumph Hurdle, open to juveniles only. You’ll no doubt see many of the young horses involved in that one in the bigger races in the years to come. Four previous winners have go on to win the Champion Hurdle, most recently Katchit in 2007.

The third race of the day is the Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle, another Grade 1 affair and one that usually draws in a big field. Runners will compete across three miles, giving those involved a stern test of their stamina. There will also be plenty of horses competing in the St. James’s Place Foxhunter Chase. Eight horses have won this race on two occasions but On The Fringe could be the first to make it three if able to repeat his 2015 & 2016 successes.

Without doubt though, the highlight race of the day is the incredibly prestigious Cheltenham Gold Cup. For many it’s the biggest event on the National Hunt calendar bar none and its high status will help it attract viewers from all over the world. This year the Grade 1 affair comes with a huge purse of £625,000 and Might Bite is the bookies’ slight favourite to claim the biggest slice of the pie.

  • Triumph Hurdle – Apple’s Shakira (11/4 at Coral)
  • Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle – Chef Des Obeaux (6/1 at Ladbrokes)
  • Cheltenham Gold Cup – Might Bite (10/3 at Betfair)
  • St. James’s Place Foxhunter Chase – Wonderful Charm (6/1 at Coral)

1:30pm – JCB Triumph Hurdle (Grade 1), 2m 179y

Several entries for this race are yet to lose a race but none of them have claimed as many victories as Apple’s Shakira’s four. She was the 1/7 favourite on her last outing, a Grade 2 win at Cheltenham which was her third victory at the course. Nicky Henderson’s horse seems to have taken fondly to the galloping nature of Cheltenham and three C&D victories are the perfect preparation for this test. She’ll also enjoy being ridden by Barry Geraghty, who is the leading jockey in this race. That obviously makes them a formidable partnership and one we struggle to see being bettered.

We Have A Dream (9/1, Betfair) made an unconvincing start to his career but things have improved markedly since making the switch to the Henderson stable. Two graded victories including one by 10 lengths at Doncaster make him a genuine rival to his stablemate. His record would suggest that soft ground is not his preference though so if things don’t firm up at Cheltenham then it’s hard to see him challenging. Given the current forecast it’s hard to see enough change for us to be tempted.

Redicean is another whose form has taken a massive turn after a change in yard. He enjoyed two wins from 10 earlier in his career but is unbeaten from three starts under Alan King. A strong showing in a Grade 2 at Kempton last month saw him demonstrate great jumping ability as well as a wonderful turn of speed. The offspring of Medicean and Red Halo looks set for a bright future but at 9/2 (Betfair) he can’t be preferred over the impeccable looking Apple’s Shakira.

Apple’s Shakira to win – 11/4 at Coral

2:50pm – Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle (Grade 1), 2m 7f 213y

The last five winners of this race had all previously won over three miles but Next Destination (5/1, Coral) is yet to compete at further than two and half. He did win over this trip but his lead was diminishing towards the latter stages. Santini (9/2, Ladbrokes) finished his two and a half mile race in January in stronger fashion despite tough conditions at Cheltenham. The performance suggests he can run further but will his inexperience be an issue?

More familiar with competitive action is Chef Des Obeaux who has impressed far more over the hurdles than on the flat. Stamina is no concern either after winning at two miles, seven furlong in heavy going at Cheltenham by 15 lengths. This was a Grade 2 contest and while he was the favourite, few were expecting him to win with such ease. The more rainfall there is at Cheltenham the better his chances and if things are soft or heavy on Friday then there is no better option as we view it.

Chris’s Dream was not a horse on anyone’s radar at the beginning of the season. In November however he almost claimed a shock 50/1 win at Clonmel, losing out by just half a length. The six-year-old was picked up by Henry De Bromhead after a win at Limerick and given another run out at Clonmel, this time over three miles. His emphatic 64 length victory makes him an appealing each way option at odds of 12/1 with BetVictor, even considering there is a jump in the quality of the opposition here.

Chef Des Obeaux to win – 6/1 at Ladbrokes

3:30pm – Cheltenham Gold Cup (Grade 1), 3m 2f 70y

Might Bite will be looking to extend his unbeaten run to six races with a win in this top class race. He made headlines last Festival when almost throwing his huge lead in the RSA Chase after idling and veering off to the right. Nicky Henderson’s horse has won with far less drama since but was pushed all the way by Double Shuffle in the King George VI. His jumping ability cannot be questioned and although soft ground isn’t ideal, he should still have the legs for a test like this.

Native River (11/2, Bet365) was one many fancied for Gold Cup glory last year but was never quite up to speed with Sizing John when finishing third. Colin Tizzard has sent him out just once since but there were no cobwebs on show despite an 11 month absence. The eight-year-old had the beating of Cloudy Dream and Saphir Du Rheu, jumping well throughout. Another placed finish in this race would be no surprise at all but it looks like Might Bite may have too much for him.

15 of the last 17 Gold Cup Champions hailed from the top three in the betting so the chances of Our Duke must be looked at. He’ll be making his Cheltenham debut on Friday after racing exclusively in Ireland up to now. His season began very poorly, easily a beaten favourite at Leopardstown but he bounced back in the Red Mills Chase, beating the talented Presenting Percy. There’s been little to say he’s on the same level as the two front runners for this race though and even at 7/1 (Betfred), he’s not particularly tempting.

Might Bite to win – 10/3 at Betfair

4:10pm – St. James’s Place Foxhunter Chase (Class 2), 3m 2f 70y

With 23 or 24 runners the norm for this race, following the trends is your best way of picking out the winner or at the very least narrowing down your options. Horses over 10-years-old haven’t fared too well in this race and only a quarter of the last 32 winners failed to win last time out. A recent run as well as a winning one is important too as 10 of the last 12 champions had been in action no more than 34 days prior. The odds have been a useful guide in this race as well, despite the large fields, with seven of the last nine winners priced at odds of 15/2 or shorter.

Burning Ambition ticks a lot of the key boxes for this race but not the win last time out. You can forgive him for losing his five race unbeaten streak however as he was never expected to have the beating of Gilgambao at Punchestown. A huge hit at point to point racing, the seven-year-old has largely taken well to fences in his novice season despite some untidiness on his debut. He is certainly a credible option here but not an especially well priced one at 10/3 with Coral.

Foxrock (7/1, Ladbrokes) is another who was a runner-up last time out, he too beaten by Gilgamboa but by a much larger margin. With this the only performance to judge him one since being pulled up at Fairyhouse last April, he’s too much of a risk.

Wonderful Charm claimed a distance victory last month, a fine way to end a 239 day break without racing. Paul Nicholls’ 10-year-old very nearly won this race last year, missing out by just a neck. He’s a horse that still has plenty more to give and avenging last year’s defeat looks a real possibility.

Wonderful Charm to win – 6/1 at Coral