The final day of the Cheltenham Festival is always a highlight on the sporting calendar, particularly when it falls on St Patrick’s Day as it does this year. The Gold Cup is the feature race but the support card is good too.
The card includes two handicaps which are both very tough puzzles to solve. We have had a good look through the race card for both of them though and we have decided to go double handed in each one.
The final day and the handicaps don’t get any easier, this time with a field of 26 for the County over 17 furlongs. Sharjah is the class act in the field as he almost exclusively races in Grade 1 company but this is a completely different ball game and he has top weight of 12 stone to carry here. The Skelton’s have the favourite in the novice Pembroke and they know how to win a big field with Langer Dan winning the Coral Cup earlier in the week. There’s a whole host of chances in here so I’m taking 2 against the field.
The first of those in Gin Coco from the Harry Fry yard. This 7 year old is lightly raced and seems to be getting better with each run; form so far has seen 2 wins and 4 seconds. He landed a big handicap hurdle at Punchestown 12 months ago off 12lbs lower and this term he won a novice hurdle before finishing coming clear with the winner (who was unplaced in the Champion Hurdle) in the Greatwood Hurdle here in November. He’s only 4lbs higher today and whilst this ground is softer than he’s been running on, he did run a cracker on debut in France. If he improves for the ground, he’s the most likely winner of this.
I cannot leave Pinkerton out of the reckoning either. He will love the soft ground and is a horse that loves the big field scenario having finished 1-1-2 in 3 runs with 14 runners or more. In 2 handicaps to date, he’s finished in the money, being a neck 3rd on his first handicap before going 1 better when 2nd next time up. Last time out, he wasn’t suited by the trip or the small field and I feel he could be a different proposition today at a nice each way price.
Back Gin Coco (e/w) for a 1/10 stake at 11.00 William Hill BOG (⅕ odds 1-6)
Back it here:
Back Pinkerton (e/w) for a 1/10 stake at 26.00 Skybet BOG (⅕ odds 1-8)
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The last race of the festival, the Martin Pipe for conditional jockeys, also known as the ‘getting out stakes’. The 1-2-3 in the market are as expected, hailing from either the Gordon Elliott or Willie Mullins yard but whilst one of those yard’s provides one of our final 2 bets, I’m looking further down the betting.
Might I looks to have a fine chance here. He’s a lightly raced hurdler who looks like he’s been laid out for this. As a novice, he was 2nd to Constitution Hill, 3rd to Jonbon and 2nd to Three Stripe Life. That’s not a bad CV in itself but he’s also got a neck 2nd in a big handicap hurdle here on his last start under this jockey, He’s up just 3lbs today and is moved back up in distance, all of which is positive, and he also has excellent form on the ground. Admittedly it’s a competitive heat but if he gets a trouble free passage, I fancy him to come home in front.
I don’t want to finish without an Irish horse on my side so I’m going with Elliott’s Firm Footings. He’s yet to race outside of maiden company but I’m pretty sure the yard has been trying to protect his mark and he gets in here off a decent looking 134. His 4 runs have all been in big fields and he’s yet to finish out of the first 3, winning on his most recent start. He definitely has the speed as his last 2 runs were over the minimum trip but he’s also a proven stayer having had his other 2 runs at this trip. It’s his jockey’s best chance of the week and this unexposed horse could well be the one to end the week on a high.
Back Might I (e/w) for a 1/10 stake at 11.00 Betfred BOG (⅕ odds 1-6)
Back Firm Footings (e/w) for a 1/10 stake at 17.00 Betfred BOG (⅕ odds 1-6)Copyright secured by Digiprove © 2023