Be running up that hill, with no problems.

Kate Bush, Running Up That Hill (1985)

That Kate Bush lyric seems relevant the way the week has gone. I’ve got my staking correct, played in the JP benefit handicaps and got my selections ahead. There have been a few frustrating 2nds, Abacadabras and Roland Pump spring to mind but I’m ahead for the week and I won’t be giving it all back so it’s another winning Cheltenham Festival.

I needed to be ahead moving into today as I’ve never really liked the makeup of the Friday card and there was always going to be some bigger priced ‘darts’ in there from me.

13:30 | Triumph Hurdle

Solo became top of my take-on list for this race after his Kempton romp. Paul Nicholls hypes his horses in a similar way to how a Babestation girl preys on sad, lonely men. Punters get sucked into his hyperbole as soon as he compares anything to one of his horses from a bygone era. I don’t think that Kempton form is worth anything and the time wasn’t anything special.

Goshen is another one to take on, visually impressive but his jumping to the right has to be a concern in a similar way to that of Supreme favourite Asterion Forlonge. Another issue is that he’s not going to get his own way in front here. Allmankind, Aspire Tower, Goshen and Navajo Pass are all going to go forward. You could happily lay Solo (4.80) and Goshen (4.00) which gives you the rest of the field at ~1.83. However I don’t want most of these running for me, so I’m looking to just back the winner.

Aspire Tower was a solid horse on the flat and the form of his first two starts over hurdles is working out well. He fell in a Grade 1 last time out when CERBERUS was about to cruise past him. It looked as though Cerberus was going to land the race, but he pulled himself up inside the final furlong and finished third with A Wave Of The Sea landing the spoils. Cereberus was 12.0 second favourite in that race with his stable mate priced at 27.98. I don’t see why their odds are the other way around today.

He does have nine lengths to find with Allmankind from their Cheptow meeting on awful ground that didn’t suit the selection. Allmankind had an easy lead that day and Cereberus was eased when his chance had gone. With Allmankind not getting his own way in front here and better ground I am confident that form can be reversed.


14:50 | Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle

THE CASHEL MAN is an absolute stand out bet here. Finished within two lengths of the favourite for this race, Thyme Hill, last time out but is six times the price. Either side of that he’d won both of his hurdle stars this season. Last season he finished within a neck of the well regarded Pym on Hurdles debut. He also finished within a neck of Reserve Tank who went on to win back to back Grade 1 hurdles after that. He’s going to be out the front, out of trouble and has plenty of experience. He looks well overpriced to me.


15:30 | THE GOLD CUP

This is not an each-way race for me, you’d be better backing two against the field than having an each-way bet and that’s my plan. Al Boum Photo is the reigning champion, but he wasn’t the stable number one last year, the form of that race isn’t working out and he was beaten by the original stable one, Kemboy, next time out. He’s had one run this season, in a Grade 3 handicap chase which I don’t believe we can really mark the form of.

Clan Des Obeaux didn’t stay in this last year and is rated on the back of winning two King Geroge’s. Dig deeper into that and the first was against horses that were over the hill, not suited by the track or non-stayers. This season’s one was against non-stayers. He’s done nothing in between or before to suggest he should be a single digit price for a Gold Cup.

Santini finished a half-length second in the RSA last year but the horse to take out of that race is DELTA WORK. The Gordon Elliot charge had to switch in the run when squeezed for roo, before he stayed on to finish third. He’s won his last two starts in the Grade 1 Savilles Chase and Irish Gold Cup, beating Monalee, Presenting Percy and Kemboy in the process.

The other horse I want to be with in this race is PRESENTING PERCY. Sent off favourite last year, he was found to be lame after. He’s been brought along quietly this season, with his reappearance form behind Min over a trip short of his best getting an upgrade yesterday. Last time out in the Irish Gold Cup he travelled all over them, touching 1.66 in-running. If the plan this season is to have him peak for this race and get him back to the horse that blew an RSA field apart in 2018 then he’s got to go close with further fitness improvement on his side to come.

Delta Work and Presenting Percy can be dutched to give you odds of 4.10 on either winning the race. That’ll do for me against the field.




  • 13:10 Cerberus
  • 14:10 Ciel De Neige
  • 16:10 Staker Wallace
  • 17:30 Front View