Cheltenham 2021 – Day 4: History beckons for Al Boum Photo, Blackmore and De Bromhead
By Jonny Browne
Al Boum Photo is looking to complete a historic hat-trick of Gold Cup’s this afternoon, while Rachel Blackmore and Henry De Bromhead are looking to make some history of their own by winning all four championship races in one year, as they oppose Al Boum with their own highly fancied A Plus Tard.
And Henry and Rachel could add to an amazing festival with Quilixios in the first.
1:20 – Triumph Hurdle
Tritonic has been the one for money recently after winning the Adonis in really impressive fashion, and he’d clearly improved from his first run over hurdles, he looks to have plenty going for him.
Zanahiyr didn’t have much exposure on the flat and has looked a real machine in his three starts so far. He’s won of both strong and slow pace and looks very versatile.
Quilixios would probably be favourite in most years but is only third in here and there isn’t much between him and the two principals. He may well be underestimated with the track to suit.
Beyond the big three, Haut En Couleurs is the Willie Mullins number one but hasn’t run for him yet so is impossible to assess, though he got a couple of favourable mentions on the preview circuit.
At a massive price Historic Heart has lots to find but this stiffer track will definitely suit better. He was less than 5 lengths behind Adagio in December having being outpaced and staying on strongly.
Conclusion – Zanahiyr possibly just ahead of Quilixios
Each Way – Historic Heart could outrun his odds.
1:55 – County Hurdle
A large number of this field defected from the Supreme on Tuesday (probably wise in light of what happened there with Appreciate It). Third Time Lucki is one of those and is strong in the market because of that and everything looks in place for a big run.
Ganapathi seems to be Willie Mullins first choice and he’s your classic Mullins County horse and is most likely well handicapped. He travelled well over 2m6f at Leopardstown before weakening and the drop back is a positive.
It’s interesting to see Coral Cup fancy You Raised Me Up entered here, the thinking being that this stiff two miles will be run at a crazy gallop and he’ll be staying on best of all at the end.
Drop The Anchor won the Ladbrokes at Leopardstown in good style, but he’s 15lb higher here and on better ground, which won’t suit.
Eclair De Beaufeu was second in the Grand Annual off 10lb higher last year. He took a real step back in the right direction in the Ladbrokes when 6th having been out the back of the TV, and the strong pace will suit.
Thyme White looked really good travelled up in the Betfair Hurdle before weakening after the last and the better ground may be the key to him.
Conclusion – Third Time Lucki and You Raised Me look the likeliest winners.
Gowel Road and Thyme White look best each way value.
2:30 – Albert Bartlett Novices Hurdle
Stattler is favourite, but there are doubts he is an out and out stayer and 3 miles may be maybe too much, which makes him opposable.
Fakiera is the complete opposite in that this trip might even be too sharp for him. He’ll definitely be staying on well at the end and its just a case of whether he can keep up in the middle part on the spritely ground.
Barbados Buck’s has been steadily improving this season and given he’s related to Big Buck’s you have to say he’s a likely stayer, but for all that – this is a big step up.
Alaphilippe was an impressive winner at Haydock by 12 lengths on bad ground, the ground here might be a bit lively for him but he’s consistent and has the requisite experience.
Adrimel won twice over 2 miles earlier in the season but ran a career best in first time headgear when stepped up to 2m5f last time out.
Streets Of Doyen needs good ground, hence why he was off for 4 months before finishing 6th of 7 at Naas recently. That was over 2m on soft ground and he should be right for this. It was only last summer he won four-in-a-row.
Conclusion – If Fakiera can be within touching distance coming down the hill he’ll likely finish strongest of all.
Streets Of Doyen and Adrimel look overpriced.
3:05 – Cheltenham Gold Cup
Al Boum Photo goes for a third consecutive Gold Cup and there is an argument he is overpriced considering he’s been there and done it. He won off strong pace in 2019 and slow last year 2020, so he’s got the versatility and class.
A Plus Tard is the horse most likely to deny Al Boum his three-in-a-row. His last gasp collaring of Kemboy at Leopardstown over Christmas will live long in the memory.
He needed every yard of the trip that day and there’s plenty of precedence for good form over shorter counting in the Gold Cup.
Champ made an excellent reappearance over 2 miles finishing 2nd at Newbury lately, but the year out may stand against him.
If the rain comes Native River would be a good place shout as he’s running better than ever this year.
It will take a massive performance for Kemboy to persuade people he is more than Leopardstown’s specialist, but if he were popped out in front and raced prominently, he might perform well.
Frodon was able to win the King George by setting the fractions, but he had the run of the field that day and won’t have the opportunity to do that here, although he does love Cheltenham.
A combination of very fast pace, decent ground and first time headgear could all play into Santini’s hands and makes hime a good each way option.
Minella Indo had a concerning run last time out at Leopardstown but apparently his connections just wanted to get him round. Given his love of this course he can’t be discounted.
Conclusion – A Plus Tard to spoil Al Boum Photo’s party.
Minella Indo to run into the places and Santini keeping them honest for a place.
3:40 – Foxhunters Chase
Billaway boasts the strongest form in this race having won the Strongest Hunter Chase at Naas in January. He clearly has an engine but has jumped really poorly her last year, yet still finished 2nd. He wasn’t foot perfect winning at Naas either and the quicker ground will put more emphasis on it here.
Staker Wallace has a good chance of reversing those Naas placings here. He ran a big race to be 4th in this race last year and his prep appears to have gone more smoothly this year. At a double figure price, he rates a strong each way contender.
The ground has come right for last year’s winner It Came To Pass. His last two sub par runs can be put down to the ground, but it’s not an ideal prep for this test.
Paul Nicholl’s stable jockey Harry Cobden has chosen Chameron over the more fancied Bob And Co, so note has to be taken of that choice.
Stand Up And Fight has looked an improved model this year (6th when fancied two years ago), and the extra experience may stand to him (no pun intended).
Conclusion – Chameron
Staker Wallace rates a good each way bet, Billaway and It Came To Pass should be thereabouts again. Stand Up And Fight to run into the places
4:15 – Mares Novices Chase
Elimay is favourite and by far the most likely winner. She’s improved hugely this year and her recent form is the strongest around.
Colreevy could lay claim to similar form claims, but probably needs cut in the ground and could be outpaced here.
Shattered Love was a good second behind the favourite over two miles last time out in Naas. The step up in trip will suit, as will the return to Cheltenham, previously winning the Marsh in 2018.
Salsaretta, Magic Of Light, Moyhenna and Cabaret Queen may be the best of the rest
Conclusion – Elimay looks rock solid.
A forecast with Shattered Love might be most prudent.
4:50 – Martin Pipe Conditionals Handicap Hurdle
Langer Dan is a bit of a known quantity compared to others in this field and has some course form – 6th in the Boodles last year. Even then he looked like he needed a step up in trip which made his Imperial Cup win on Saturday all the more impressive
Gabynako has some handicap experience, finishing midfield over 2m at the Dublin Racing Festival having made a bad early mistake. His third behind Bob Olinger and Blue Lord at Naas the time before looks like very hot form now.
Floueur was finishing impressively at Navan last time, and he is now with his new trainer Joseph O’Brien. He saddles Fire Attack also, who could be in the shake-up.
Dallas Des Pictons was a close second that day in Navan. Given Gordon Elliott’s habit of targeting the race (now Denise Foster), you wouldn’t rule him out.
Conclusion – Gabynako
Fire Attack, Floueur and Langer Dan all look to have chances to place.