Native River a massive price for Cheltenham Gold Cup

It has been some week of racing at Cheltenham and today promises to be just as good as any of the days we have seen so far.

Friday, 19th March 2021, 11:50 am

The JCB Triumph Hurdle (13:20) kicks us off and it looks a finely balanced, competitive race as we would expect for four year old hurdlers.

The Irish horses have been the flavour of the week, battering their English counterparts to submission in the winners tally. I feel like the two Irish horses at the head of this market are possibly worth opposing, for an English trained one at a bigger price.

David Pipe’s ADAGIO has not done anything wrong and looks like one who could carry on growing into a top performer. He is also the only one in the field to have had a run around here before, when he won the trial for this race in December. At odds of around 16/1 I am backing this each way, with 8 runners being ideal for the three place market.

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The County Hurdle (13:55) is a very lively handicap, with a large field of 26 runners.

I wouldn’t recommend this featuring heavily in your multiple bets and a small each way investment for an interest will be my play in this. I’m going to have a stab at an other English trained runner in Gary Moore’s FIFTY BALL, each way at around 16/1.

It ran a great race to finish second in the Betfair Hurdle at Newbury last month on good to soft ground. A lot in this field have form more suited to heavy ground and with the lack of rain all week, the ground is only getting firmer.

The Albert Bartlett Novices Hurdle (14:30) is often a great race to watch and I have a fancy in this that I have been following for a while.

Up and coming trainer Fergal O'Brien who trains his horses near Cheltenham runs ALAPHILLIPE and it looks a bit price to me at around 16/1. He won the Prestige at Haydock impressively and jockey Paddy Brennan aboard knows his way around here. Again it’s an each way play though one I feel could be overpriced.

The Cheltenham Gold Cup (15:05) looks a very tricky renewal this year of the weeks showpiece race. I think you could make a case for at least half a dozen of these and some question marks over seasoned campaigners adds intrigue.

I have settled on taking a chance on the new kid on the block in this company, CHAMP. Nicky Henderson’s horses have started to come into their own this week and the way he stayed up the hill to win the RSA last year should put him on the premises.

He won’t have the benefit of a Barry Geraghty ride this year though Nico de Boinville is a capable rider who will have his instructions from the boss. At around 5/1 I think he’s just about value though if you fancy a bigger price each way, the ever reliable NATIVE RIVER could be a massive price at 16/1.

The Hunters Chase (15:40) looks pretty wide open with Irish horses dominating the market. At the prices I have settled on Enda Bulger’s STALKER WALLACE at around 8/1. He has had an unsettled career so far with time off in between runs though his latest win at Limerick puts him in the picture. He came fourth in this last year and with a bit of improvement possible he shouldn’t be far away.

The Mares Chase (16:15) looks like a decent race this year and current red hot favourite Elimay looks plausible at such a short price of around 8/11. The favourite shouldn’t be far away though Willie Mullins' COLREEVY has looked the part this season after finishing fifth in this last year. She looks like one who has benefited from the Mullins magic and I fancy her more at odds of around 9/2.

The Martin Pipe Handicap Hurdle (16:50) brings the week to a close and always a nice one to get a winner in to end on a high. Gavin Cromwell’s horses look in fine fettle and GABYNAKO looks like one who could take to the place for the first time at odds of around 8/1.