Cheltenham festival 2018, day 4 robin goodfellow’s racing tips daily mail online how many calories in one large apple

The gold cup claims of ROAD TO RESPECT took on added significance with the result of the ryanair chase on thursday afternoon — and he is taken to continue ireland’s domination.

For a trainer of his class, noel meade arguably hasn’t enjoyed a cheltenham record which mirrors his capabilities, but his seven-year-old crushed a decent field of handicappers at this meeting 12 months ago and has swiftly graduated into a high-class chaser.

A grade one defeat of yorkhill at punchestown in the spring confirmed meade’s star chaser possessed the substance to bridge the gap between handicaps and graded races and he reinforced that view with an impressive success in the leopardstown christmas chase.

His chief victim that day was balko des flos, a smooth and ready winner of thursday’s ryanair chase, and victory was achieved despite a serious stumble in the back straight.

Admittedly, there is a slight concern that a fiercely competitive 18-runner gold cup may be a step too far at this stage of a career which is still taking shape, but a big field of battlehardened handicappers were readily dispensed 12 months ago, so it could be a chance worth taking.Last year

Native river and might bite appear likely to vie for favouritism and preference is for the latter, despite an X-rated display in last year’s RSA chase when he lost concentration late on, but rescued a perilous situation courtesy of his undoubted talent. As admirable and reliable as native river is, he wouldn’t boast the raw ability of might bite, whose powers may only be submerged by a downpour.

Last year’s third, native river is also trying to defy a major stat to win a gold cup as he is yet to win a grade one chase which all previous winners this century had managed. One horse which would relish a gruelling examination would be our duke, who snugly beat RSA winner presenting percy at gowran last time.

Although last year’s irish grand national winner suffered an injury setback on his comeback, his latest run confirmed the fire and enthusiasm remains and he is a huge threat if he can produce a clean round of jumping.Last time

Cheltenham patrons were treated to wonderful performances from two superb mares on thursday courtesy of wins for shattered love and laurina and there is the prospect of further female talent on show in the opener.

Both APPLE’S SHAKIRA and stormy ireland have impressed this winter and preference is marginal for the former given she has loads of course experience.

Nicky henderson’s french recruit has only beaten a sum total of 13 rivals in three prestbury park victories this season, but she has learned on the job and her last win, at the expense of look my way, will have taught her plenty as she needed to be shaken up to score.

She is not the bet of the season at the morning prices, but her recent homework is said to be good and frontrunners sussex ranger and stormy ireland should ensure she has a good pace.

The latter was impressive on her debut at fairyhouse, winning by a huge margin after galloping her rivals into submission.Last time she could prove the best of the runners from across the irish sea.

Fancying BRELADE to win a race of this nature needs a little explaining, but the decision to return him to the smaller obstacles and equip him with a tongue-tie may prove a masterstroke by his in-form handler.

Although yet to win over fences in five starts, the son of presenting has been trying to keep tabs on the likes of footpad and petite mouchoir in his native country and he has been far from disgraced. He was only 10 lengths in arrears of willoughby court in last year’s ballymore novices’ hurdle when the trip at that level looked beyond him. A strongly-run two miles with plenty of give in the ground could be the ideal test and he is worth a modest bet.

Gordon elliott and willie mullins have trained 13 winners between them so far, so their runners will be under close scrutiny and bleu et rouge may prove the pick of the mullins quartet.Last time after his performance in the betfair hurdle behind kalashnikov his stock has risen, given his conqueror went close in the supreme novices’ hurdle — and he will relish the ground.

In contrast to the two other novice hurdles at the festival where speed and class can decide the result, this event favours the more worldly wise and battle-hardened hurdlers.

Backing horses that had run in more than six hurdles and were in their second season over hurdles has been a useful pointer to previous winners, so POETIC RHYTHM may be great value at his doublefigure price.

Freshened up since narrowly landing the challow hurdle in horrible ground at christmas, the seven-year-old fits the profile of a number of past winners — while this will be his seventh start at the track, which could prove valuable course knowledge.

There is a case to suggest that mulcahys hill is overpriced, given he was beaten a short head by the selection at newbury, but chef des obeaux was impressive at haydock last time when dismissing a reasonable field and he will relish this stamina test.Last year he is a bit low on experience but looks a little like bobs worth in that he is a grinder rather than a quickener.

A typically competitive renewal which has all the hallmarks of an irish versus paul nicholls duel. Both burning ambition and FOXROCK warmed up for this race by going up against the highly useful gilgamboa last time and, although the former finished closer, the selection’s experience of big fields means he narrowly gains the nod.

Burning ambition has looked a very useful prospect to those that took a keen interest in irish pointing and his effort over christmas at limerick did nothing to disprove that theory. If he can find an early rhythm at his fences he is a danger to all.

However, he is a short price and foxrock could be the bet. He was entitled to need his comeback at thurles and connections are reportedly very happy with preparations. The nicholls battalion include wonderful charm, who was given too much to do in last year’s renewal, yet flew into second.Last time of the ditcheat quartet, unioniste would be very interesting if conditions deteriorated significantly, while sir jack yeats also makes some appeal given he handles soft ground well.

Seven of the last eight runnings of this race have gone to either willie mullins, gordon elliott or paul nicholls and the trio provide more than a third of the runners this year.

Given he enjoyed a great day on thursday, elliott’s quartet may hold sway, with sire du berlais a leading contender judged on his eye-catching performance at fairyhouse. Useful in his native france, he has clearly been tricky to train, but his performance last month when staying on steadily to snatch second suggested the fire still burns brightly.

Carter mckay has a similar profile and, although he didn’t really excel in last year’s bumper, he was an honourable third behind getabird and mengli khan at punchestown. He also made the frame in a leopardstown grade one last month.Last time

He is very much shortlisted along with MELROSE BOY, who could make a bold bid to wrestle the prize from the allconquering triumvirate. The selection was a late nonrunner at sandown on saturday but has already won at friday’s track with kieron edgar aboard and he too should find conditions to his liking.

Like a number of these who have been targeted at the festival finale for much of the season, BOUVREUIL would prefer genuine spring ground. But he is an interesting contender back at this trip after a series of big efforts at this meeting. Trainer paul nicholls has seen a number of his handicappers run fine races and his seven-year-old again excelled 12 months ago to finish within seven lengths of road to respect, who boasts a live chance in the gold cup.

Admittedly, he doesn’t always find what is expected off the bridle, but two pipeopeners over extended trips have served to earn a little respite from the handicapper and the likelihood of a ferocious gallop should suit.Gordon elliott

Eleven winners this century were winning a first handicap chase and north hill harvey could well make it 12 if he takes to the unique test this race represents. The first-time cheekpieces could sharpen up a horse who loves this venue and wisely side-stepped the arkle. He has four wins from six starts and already has an affinity for the big-field handicaps.

APPLE’S SHAKIRA has impressed me in every one of her hurdle runs this season and I expect her to confirm my verdict that she is the best juvenile hurdler we have seen in the triumph hurdle.

All her three authoritative wins have come at cheltenham, including brushing aside nube negra, who was a very respectable third in wednesday’s fred winter juvenile handicap hurdle.

I like FLYING TIGER in the vincent O’brien county hurdle. He won the fred winter juvenile handicap hurdle at the meeting last year and has run respectably all season.

When my partner, trainer lucinda russell, won the 2012 albert bartlett novices’ hurdle with brindisi breeze, he came to the festival off the back of a win in the grade two prestige novices’ hurdle.Last year CHEF DES OBEAUX has followed the same route and it was eyecatching how relentlessly the nicky henderson-trained gelding galloped on that day in the sort of arduous conditions he will face again this afternoon.

I saw SIR JACK YEATS win at kelso and he is a young horse who looks a decent each-way shout in the foxhunters’ chase for newmarket trainer richard spencer.

DEAL D’ESTRUVAL is my pick for the martin pipe conditional jockeys handicap hurdle, while I am going for my jockey son tom to finish the meeting with a winner on the david pipe-trained VANITEUX in the johnny henderson grand annual chase. He looks to have had this contest as a longterm plan.

Nicky henderson’s apple’s shakira is the favourite for the triumph hurdle and, although she is unbeaten in four starts, she hasn’t truly been tested. I think her male rivals are going to really challenge.

Redicean has been popular since his flawless performance at kempton a few weeks ago.Last year however, the irish challenge in this race looks too good to ignore. Farclas is our favourite of the irish challengers. He came to gordon elliott’s yard from the flat and looked good on his debut in graded company at leopardstown over christmas. He came second to mr adjudicator last time out but I am expecting him to improve again. In the county hurdle, there was plenty of ante-post interest for former triumph hurdle winner ivanovich gorbatov.

He was one of the big gambles at the festival last year, before coming sixth. He was only beaten by three lengths though and we fancy him for another big festival run.

The gold cup is the pinnacle of the week, the biggest betting race over four days. It looks a very strong contest and a case can be made for many. However, we are keen to take on ante-post favourite might bite. The king george form isn’t that great and I’m not convinced that he is 100 per cent at home on the course.Gordon elliott I also think it’s unlikely he will get an easy lead.

Native river is now joint favourite. He was very impressive in the denman chase and is a proper stayer. We know he will handle the conditions. He came third last year and if he runs the same sort of race as he did then, he will be a player.

However, I think jessica harrington could land back-to-back wins. Our duke has everything you can want in a gold cup and if he can avoid a major jumping error I think he’s the one to beat. He came back into the frame after winning at gowran park and, with robbie power in the saddle, he will be a real danger. Burning ambition looks like a strong favourite in the foxhunter chase.

He was beaten by gilgamboa last time out, but it was still a good run and with jamie codd on board, we fancy him. Gordon elliott loves the martin pipe and JP mcmanus loves a cheltenham plot. Here, they have fancied sire du berlais who we will be sure to keep on side.Last year

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