Cheltenham Day Four: Race times, tips and how to follow

All you need to know on Gold Cup day at racing’s biggest festival at Prestbury Park

 Davy Russell riding Presenting Percy at Cheltenham last year. Photograph: Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images

Davy Russell riding Presenting Percy at Cheltenham last year. Photograph: Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images

 

On day four of the Cheltenham festival the Gold Cup is without doubt the big draw. The entire festival, and jump racing’s, blue riband event is over three and a quarter miles and 22 fences. Before the stamina-sapping finish up the Cheltenham hill.

Here is everything you need to know ahead of Friday’s racing.

The schedule

1.30pm JCB Triumph Hurdle (Grade 1)

2.10pm Randox Health County Handicap Hurdle (Grade 3

2.50pm Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle (Grade 1)

3.30pm Magners Cheltenham Gold Cup (Grade 1)

4.10pm St James’s Place Foxhunter Chase

4.50pm Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle

5.30pm Johnny Henderson Grand Annual Handicap Chase (Grade 3)

What’s the official going?

The going remains good to soft.

Weather watch

The weather for Friday is set to be cloudy and drizzly with some strong winds which will ease as the day goes on.

How can I follow?

Virgin Media One and ITV have been showing the first five races on the card each day, with only subscription service Racing TV showing the full card.

But do not despair! You can follow every race and see all the results on the Irish Times liveblog from 12.30pm.

And the big race of the day?

Presenting Percy may well be the most talented horse in this Gold Cup, but hasn’t raced over fences in a year. It’s 90 years since Easter Hero won the Gold Cup off that kind of preparation and he’d had a few runs over hurdles. Presenting Percy has had a single run over flights.

Despite being a year younger than his Irish rival, Clan Des Obeaux can boast a King George victory this season as well as a super-smooth prep last month.

Willie Mullins is still waiting for his first win. Runner-up six times, Ireland’s champion trainer has four shots with Ruby Walsh opting for Bellshill.

Should another of them, Al Boum Photo, emerge on top it would be a perfect redemptive outcome for his jockey Paul Townend who infamously pulled him up at Punchestown last year when looking set to win (read Brian O’Connor’s Gold Cup preview here).

Who should I back?

Guest tipster Tony Keenan’s third day fancies are as follows:

2.10 We Have A Dream; Crooks Peak

2.50 Rhinestone

3.30 Clan Des Obeaux; Al Boum Photo

Meanwhile Brian O’Connor (who correctly selected the winners of each of Wednesday’s last four races, and another two yesterday) fancies the following:

1.30 Sir Erec 2.10 Leoncavallo 2.50 Salsaretta 3.30 Clan Des Obeaux 4.10 Stand Up And Fight 4.50 Magic Saint 5.30 Dallas Des Pictons

Leading jockeys

Nico de Boinville: 2

Barry Geraghty 2

Mark Walsh: 2

Jamie Codd: 2

Ruby Walsh: 1

Paul Townend: 1

Jeremiah McGrath: 1

Harry Skelton: 1

Aidan Coleman: 1

Rachael Blackmore: 1

Harry Cobden: 1

Keith Donoghue: 1

Bryony Frost 1

Lizzie Kelly 1

Noel Fehily 1

J J Slevin: 1

Derek O’Connor: 1

Leading trainers

Nicky Henderson: 3

Willie Mullins: 3

Gordon Elliott: 3

Paul Nicholls: 2

Gavin Cromwell: 1

Dan Skelton: 1

Henry De Bromhead: 1

Martin Brassil: 1

Ben Pauling: 1

Joseph O’Brien: 1

Phillip Hobbs: 1

Emma Lavelle: 1

Nick Williams: 1

Ted Walsh: 1

Prestbury Cup

Ireland 11 Britain 10

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