It was Ruby Thursday on the third day of the Cheltenham Festival this year.
The national hunt jockey showed why he is the best, winning four graded races on Yorkhill, Un deux Sceaux, Nicholas Canyon and Let’s dance. His ride on Un deux sceaux was really something special. Plan A looked to settle the horse in behind the leaders, but, when the horse decided that wasn’t for him and started to pull his arms off, Ruby had the intelligence to let the horse bowl into a lead, which he kept all the way to the finish.
It wasn’t a bad day for me too, with two winners – Yorkhill and Let’s Dance – and a place for 12/1 Potters Legend.
13:30 – JCB Triumph Hurdle (Grade 1) (Class 1) (4YO only)
Since going over to the Philip Hobbs yard from France, DEFI DU SEUIL has won all of his races in convincing fashion here in the UK. He has also won twice here at Cheltenham, which give him priceless experience of the course against these other 4 yr old novices. There is always caution in fields like this as many of the horses are open to vast improvement so early into their career. I still think the Hobbs yard have this one sewn up with a bit of luck.
Pick 1 – Defi Du Seuil Win – 9/4 with Ladbrokes.
14:10 – Randox Health County Handicap Hurdle (Grade 3) (Class 1) (5YO plus)
Wide open renewal of this handicap hurdle, my advice is to keep and eye on the market and if there is support for DIEGO DU CHARMIL, take notice.
Pick 2 – Diego Du Charmil E/W – 18/1 with Ladbrokes.
14:50 – Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle (Grade 1) (Registered As The Spa Novices’ Hurdle) (Class 1) (4YO plus)
The Albert, like all novice races, is open to improvers, however I will be deeply disappointed if DEATH DUTY doesn’t take the win here for Gordon Elliot. Connections at home have been Bullish about the horse’s chances in the race, but questions marks over ground and trip do exist. I’m not going to move at this late stage though so I’ll take him to win the race.
Pick 3 – Death Duty Win – 7/4 with Ladbrokes.
15:30 – Timico Cheltenham Gold Cup Chase (Grade 1) (Class 1) (5YO plus)
A very tough Gold cup this year with very little to separate many of the leading contenders. I would not be shocked if any of the first six in the betting got up to win this race as it’s really that tough a race to call. My pick is NATIVE RIVERS to land the spoils. Colin Tizzard’s horse has performed amazingly well this year to take The Hennessey and the Welsh National – a very unique double. The horse may get outpaced at some point in the race, but stays all day long.
Pick 4 – Native River Win – 9/2 with Ladbrokes.
16:10 – St. James’s Place Foxhunter Challenge Cup Open Hunters’ Chase (Class 2) (5YO plus)
ON THE FRINGE goes for a record-breaking third timer in the Hunters’ chase and should take all the beating. He made his reappearance at Leopardstown 33 days ago, narrowly going down second to Foxrock, however, like last year, Edna Bolger stated he wasn’t fully fit and would come on greatly for the run, which is mighty impressive considering the way he travelled throughout the race to challenge race-fit Foxrock up the straight, but wasn’t given anything like a hard time.
Pick 5 – On the Fringe Win – 6/4 with Ladbrokes.