We’re finishing off our 2023 Cheltenham Festival tips with seven selections for the fourth day of this year’s spectacular National Hunt showpiece.
The Gold Cup headlines Friday’s action, backed up by two other Grade One events and another outstanding supporting card.
1.30 LOSSIEMOUTH @ 13/8
Several of this week’s winners have redeemed their reputations following below-par warm-up efforts and this could be another in that category for Willie Mullins in the Triumph Hurdle.
Lossiemouth let odds-on backers down in the Spring Juvenile Hurdle at Leopardstown’s Dublin Racing Festival but looked a touch unlucky that day and stable jockey Paul Townend has kept the faith ahead of conqueror Gala Marceau and Blood Destiny.
2.10 FILEY BAY @ 5/1
The green and gold colours of JP McManus have again come to the fore at this year’s Festival and the leading owner is fancied to strike once more here in the County Hurdle.
Irish raider Filey Bay has shown he doesn’t suffer from travel sickness with three sterling efforts in England this term, scoring at Doncaster and Wincanton before coming home a close second of 16 behind Aucunrisque in the Betfair Hurdle at Newbury.
2.50 THREE CARD BRAG @ 7/2
Gordon Elliott’s charge steps up in trip for the Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle but certainly galloped all the way to the line when scoring by 12 lengths at Fairyhouse.
He was also doing his best work at the business end when going down by a neck to Supreme fourth Inthepocket in a Grade Two event at Naas just before Christmas and is crucially proven on soft and heavy ground.
“We’ve very happy with him, we’ve always thought the step up in trip would suit him,” said Iain Turner, racing manager to co-owners the McNeill family.
“We’ve not wanted to go there over three miles too early but we’ve always thought he’ll stay, his pedigree suggests he’ll stay and how he hits the line in his races suggests he’ll stay.”
3.30 GALOPIN DES CHAMPS @ 15/8
The groans could be heard all over Cheltenham when he fell at the final fence in last term’s Turners Novices’ Chase when a dozen lengths clear but he can hopefully recoup those losses with interest in the Gold Cup.
Galopin Des Champs has enjoyed a perfect preparation with emphatic victories in the John Durkan at Punchestown and the Irish Gold Cup at Leopardstown, jumping well on both occasions and making full use of his enormous stride to gallop clear under Paul Townend.
“He did everything right at Leopardstown,” said Mullins. “I was very happy with what he did and Paul was very happy that he jumped and came through when he wanted him to.
“He felt he had plenty of horse under him passing through the line and that’s important because there’s another two furlongs in Cheltenham.
“When he won over three miles as a novice over hurdles, I was never worried about his stamina after that. It’s just all about temperament that the horse learns to settle during a race and he’s done that in his last two runs.
“Paul is much happier with him and has got confidence now that he can use him in a race when he wants to use him. The horse is becoming the complete package.”
With question marks hanging over the fitness of defending champion A Plus Tard and the stamina of King George hero Bravemansgame, Galopin Des Champs looks the one to be on.
4.10 FAMOUS CLERMONT @ 7/1
Hacked all over a proven performer in Shantou Flyer at Wincanton and that runner-up has an excellent record at past Festivals, being placed here on four occasions, including twice in this St James’s Place Hunters’ Chase.
Famous Clermont then bolted up by 18 lengths at Haydock and, although prone to the odd jumping error, he clearly has a serious engine and appeals ahead of some older rivals.
4.50 ALLEGORIE DE VASSY @ 13/8
This classy French import has won four from four since joining Mullins and ticks all the right boxes for the Grade Two Mares’ Chase, having scored on heavy ground at Limerick two runs back.
Mullins commented: “You’d be concerned by her lack of experience as a chaser, as she’s only had two starts over fences this season, but she has huge ability.”
5.30 IMAGINE @ 5/1
Highly-rated young jockey Ben Harvey broke his Cheltenham Festival duck with a fine ride on Seddon on day three and now teams up with this interesting runner for Gordon Elliott.
Imagine has shown some solid form over two miles in testing conditions and is bred to enjoy the extra half a mile he will travel in the Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle.
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