Fri, Mar 17, 2:46pm by Senior Writer
Surviving the Cheltenham festival with a profit is one of the finest things you will achieve as a punter, and as so often is the case, a big final day is crucial. So we head into the final day looking to find you a winner to send you off with some cash in your pocket.
Day Three saw the revival of Ruby Walsh. It’s debatable that Walsh is the greatest jumps jockey we’ve seen – certainly the recently retired AP McCoy stands above him – but his record at Cheltenham, where he has been champion jockey in eight of the past nine years is beyond anyone elses.
After going through the first two days in 2017 without a winner, Walsh did what no other jockey ever has at Cheltenham and ride four winners on a day, all for Willie Mullins, who had saddled up 25 unsuccessful runners in the first two days before the flood of success on Day 3.
There are many who by day four have thrown out the form guide and are just happy to back Ruby, and let’s not forget this meeting will take place on St Patrick’s Day, with the Irish fans cheering their champ home.
He has four rides on the final day all for Mullins, Bapaume ($15) in the JCB Triumph Hurdle, Renneti ($13) in the Randox County Handicap Hurdle, Augusta Kate ($7.50) in the Albert Bartlett Novices Hurdle and the favourite Djakadam ($4) in the feature race of the day, the Cheltenham Gold Cup.
This year’s Gold Cup is a wide open race, with Djakadam favoured to atone for his two second places in this race in 2015 and 2016. He was last seen at Leopardstown in late December, where he was beaten into third as a short -riced favourite.
But the Walsh and Mullins factor, plus his previous near misses in this race sees him at the top the market.
The veteran Cue Card, who is making an amazing sixth appearance in this festival having won the Champion Bumper way back in 2010, is $5. He was cruising in this race 12 months ago, only to fall three pairs out. He comes off a good win at Ascot last time out.
Stablemate Native River is at $4.50 having run a big race when second in the National Hunt Chase Challenge Cup here 12 months ago and having won three races in succession, including a comfortable win in the Denman Chase at Newbury last time out.
Our tip is the $9 chance Sizing John. He has been third and second at this Festival over the past two years, beaten home by Douvan both times. He has now been given his chance over longer distance in his past two starts, winning over the 4000m at Thurles and then the 4800m of the Irish Gold Cup at Leopardstown.
He has to step up another 450m in this race, but he clearly relishes Cheltenham and I feel, it won’t be a great concern for him. He is our best bet of the day at $9 each way.
Suggested Bet: Back Sizing John at $9
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