The Cheltenham Festival offered punters plenty of entertainment with big prize winners, favorites going home and thrills.
Gold Cup Day is the final day of the four-day meeting that caps off a terrific week of first-class action with huge prize money awaiting the winner and placers.
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Friday starts soon and there are plenty of talking points and potential winners to choose from for the finale.
NAP of the day – Triumph Hurdle Betting Tip
Vauban @ 7/4
The horse trained by Willie Mullins is one of the main contenders to fight the favorite Pied Piper along with Elliott’s other favorite entry, Fil Dor.
This is one of the open races as the Triumph Hurdle is a Grade 1 over 2m1f for juvenile hurdles and can produce upsets because of this.
The last time a favorite won this race was in 2017 and while the coaches who won it have changed every year, it could come down to Mullins who has Vauban in the colors of Rich Ricci.
Katie Walsh, Betway ambassador and jockey, said: “I loved how Vauban won at the Dublin Racing Festival and I think he has improved since then. willy [Mullins] don’t run too much in the Triumph; he often keeps them until their rookie season, which gives them more time but Vauban must have shown him a lot early on.
These races were perfect warm-up races for Cheltenham’s grand entrance and also against opponents ready to take the field on Friday.
That second-place finish gave ground as the odds were favorites, but could have things under control this time around.
Outside odds for Gold Cup day
Top Bandit @ 14/1 – 2.10: County Hurdle
Gordon Elliott’s horses didn’t quite dominate the fields as expected throughout the festival, but they were certainly up there at times.
Top Bandit is attracting attention as luck each way, first thanks to a previous course win and a distance win to boot.
The 6-year-old started at a 128 mark last time out at Punchestown and enters this area at a much higher 135, but due to the distance suiting this unexposed he could still find his best note.
Grand Jury @ 25/1 – 5:30 p.m.: Martin Pipe Conditional Jockey Handicap
In the colors of previous Cheltenham Festival winners, including Bob Olinger on Thursday with Rachael Blackmore on board, the horse trained by Henry De Bromhead could win another for the Irish trainer.
This clever hurdler has been in good company before and has always done well in defeat.
The 6-year-old was beaten by Ginto two starts ago at Naas Racecourse by just over four lengths, who today races in the Grade 1 Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle.
Last time Minella Cocooner was too good for the Grand Jury at the Dublin Racing Festival in Ireland in February, that horse also goes to Albert Bartlett.
This loss can be forgiven or excused as the two extra stages might not have suited the yielding ground, when today the Good To Soft course is ideal.
Walsh added: “The last race of the Festival is the Martin Pipe for the Conditional Jockeys. It gives them the biggest stage to put on a good ride and we all know how great Willie [Mullins] and Gordon [Elliott] do in the race. They both target horses and have clearly started again.
They’re both going to have a lot of obvious chances, but I don’t know which one is going to win! I just hope they all come back safe and sound and give the young jockeys a good ride.
Gold Cup Betting Tips and Predictions
Galvin @ 4/1
A Plus Tard is currently leading the bets, but Galvin trails just behind one of the best bets of the week.
Galvin’s other closest challenger might be Minella Indo, who recently struggled in a top tier venture in the King George VI Chase and was more than six lengths behind Conflated at the Dublin Racing Festival.
The Elliot-trained 8-year-old defeated A Plus Tard by a narrow header in December and was only narrowly beaten by 2020 King George winner Frodo in October.
Galvin is versatile on floor and over multiple distances having won over 3m6f at the Cheltenham Festival last year and is clearly continuing to make progress winning even more lucrative titles.
He has won seven of 12 chases, including three second-place finishes, and could even become the favorite to win the showpiece.
Galvin is likely to be in the mix no matter what and this trip could be a new specialty given the recent win in tier 1 company last time out which was just 3m.
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