Cheltenham Festival Gold Cup day tips: Our Duke to strike gold
By Lewis Jones
Last Updated: 16/03/18 3:53pm
Throw another second on the pile - the fifth of what's been an agonising week of punting. I've set up camp in Frustrated-ville.
Mall Dini just couldn't get there in the Kim Muir yesterday and we stand with just 4pts of profit in the bag now as we continue to hammer the crossbar with our selections. Hope springs eternal on this fine Friday, though, as it's Cheltenham Gold Cup day and I'm excited about OUR DUKE in the big one at 3:30.
The stars and the weather are aligning for this horse. Second season chasers have a phenomenal record in the blue riband event, winning 10 of the last 18 renewals. Such is the epic test that a Gold Cup provides, horses that haven't been scarred by one before are seemingly at an advantage.
That puts me off Native River, who is a gallant horse but one that was beaten last season. I'm fully expecting Our Duke to be strong where it matters in the final quarter of the race after what looks set to be a fiercely run affair with Might Bite, American and Native River all likely to force the pace. Our Duke's beating of RSA Chase winner Presenting Percy last time out reads exceptionally well now and as long as his jumping, which can be scruffy, holds up, then the 9/2 available will give you an exciting run for your money.
REDICEAN is a tentative selection in the JCB Triumph Hurdle (1:30) with Sky Bet's offer of money-back as a free bet on all losers in mind.
Money Back Offer
Sky Bet are refunding all losing bets on the first race each day at the Cheltenham Festival.
This looks a competitive race and comparing the form-lines between the UK and Ireland is tricky, but Redicean is unbeaten and has looked very strong at the end of his races, powering clear in the style of a top-class animal at Kempton. Whether he's got the class to live with favourite Apple's Shakira is unknown but at the prices, Alan King's juvenile is worth chancing.
The key to finding the winner of the Albert Bartlett (2:50) is focusing on horses with experience and stamina. I'm swerving those at the head of the betting on those grounds and taking a swing at some gigantic priced ones.
If you forgive his last run, MULCAHYS HILL is no 40/1 shot in this field. His performance in the slug-fest that was the Challow Hurdle at Newbury has stuck in my mind as he cantered clear around the bend but idled badly when left in isolation. In fairness to him he kept on in fine style when Poetic Rythum bruised past him and was only just edged out. That race bottomed him, which left the tank empty when a well beaten 11/4 favourite behind Black Op and Santini in a key race on Cheltenham trials day.
He's better than that and is now fresh again for trainer Warren Greatrex, who had a winner on Thursday with Missed Approach - he'll outrun his odds.
ENNISCOFFEY OSCAR has also been underestimated by the market at 20/1 in the same race. Winners of Graded races over three miles tend to run well in the contest due to their battle-hardened nature and this horse showed guts to land the Grade Two Albert Bartlett River Don Novices' Hurdle at Doncaster despite being carried across the track by the runner-up. That form does need improving on but he's taken a step forward every time he's run, meaning there could be more to come for the Emma Lavelle team.
My final recommended tip of the day (and the week, boo-hoo) comes in the last at 5:30 - or the "get out of jail stakes" as those who have had a treacherous week like to call it.
The race is named after Nicky Henderson's father and this horse finished a close-up third last season off the same mark. Looking at his efforts this season it seems Henderson has been saving him for a big crack at this two-mile handicap.
However, the eight-year-old is a tricky customer and doesn't like getting his head down in a finish, hence I'm put off by the each-way prices as he's likely to get out-battled late on. One thing he is, though, is a strong traveller and that should take him into the business end of the race, where the 5/2 should land.
Sky Sports Acca
Follow our tip for Mulcahys Hill & Theinval both to place at 40/1 with Sky Bet here.
Advised tips with staking plan:
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