Sport

Fortune’s tips to help you strike Gold on the festival’s final day

SportBy Michael Fortune
Road to Riches can take gold in the blue riband event
Road to Riches can take gold in the blue riband event

There was a time when your mind was made up about the Gold Cup months in advance, but it appears nowadays that the overall standard of Grade One chasers has levelled off considerably. A glance at the ante-post odds on Friday morning saw nine horses priced on some boards at 10/1 or less.

The general favourite is Silviniaco Conti which basically refused to win last year’s race when acting the monkey on the run-in. He had fallen three out the previous year but he has yet to show that he can come up the hill at Prestbury Park.

Paul Nicholls argues that the horse was troubled by an ulcer last year and will be a different horse this time. His supporters also had a major ulcer afterwards! In his defence he has run better this season when winning the Betfair Chase and the King George but this is his toughest test by far this season.

A replay of last year’s race will show a phalanx of runners in contention on the run-in and we had Silviniaco and Bobs Worth mugged by Lord Windermere and On His Own in the final yards. What it proved was that the Irish pair definitely come up the hill!

I never thought it was possible that a Galway Plate winner would be one of the major fancies for the Gold Cup. But what do we find? The last two winners of the Plate, the summer handicap, figure among the top four favourites for the Cup. And do you know what? Both have realistic hopes of taking the trophy.

Having lost my faith in Road To Riches following his novice days, he has come storming back this season and his victories at Galway, Down Royal and Leopardstown mark him down as the most consistent and progressive chaser in the game. He will also relish the ground if it remains good.

John Kiely’s Carlingford Lough did us a favour when winning the Hennessy at Leopardstown and this 2013 Galway Plate winner has a real chance of giving Tony McCoy the perfect result in his last Gold Cup.

Oliver Sherwood’s Many Clouds and past winner Bobs Worth enter into the equation but I have this feeling that in Road To Riches we are witnessing a horse very much on the upgrade and well capable of giving Noel Meade the thrill of his lengthy career as a racehorse trainer. Let’s go with Riches to lead home Silviniaco Conti and Boston Bob which could represent real each way value at current odds of 25-1 and even 33-1.

A BIG HERO

Ireland will win the Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle! But therein lies a problem as we are represented by two young horses that have the world at their feet, Black Hercules and No More Heroes.

I’m siding with No More Heroes this time. Apparently he was wrong last time but he was massively impressive attacking the hill at Navan beating Shaneshill over two-and-a-half miles.

Best Bets

2.40 – No More Heroes

3.20 – Road To Riches

4.40 – Roi Des Francs

Fortune’s Top Tips:

1.30 – 1 HARGAM; 2 Petite Parisienne; 3 Peace And Co 

2.05 – 1 QUICK JACK; 2 Calipto; 3 Waxies Dargle

2.40 – 1 NO MORE HEROES; 2 Black Hercules; 3 Beast Of Burden

3.20 – 1 ROAD TO RICHES; 2 Silviniaco Conti; 3 Lord Windermere

4.00 – 1 PAINT THE CLOUDS; 2 Carsonstown Boy; 3 Muirhead 

4.40 – 1 ROI DES franCS; 2 Le Mercurey; 3 Jollys Cracked It

5.15 – 1 NED BUNTLINE; 2 Monetaire; 3 Next Sensation             

The programme:

1.30 JCB Triumph Hurdle. 2m. 1f.

2.05 Vincent O’Brien County Handicap Hurdle. 2m 1f.

2.40 Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle. 3m.

3.20 Betfred Gold Cup. 3m. 2f 110y.

4.00 St James’s Place Foxhunter Chase. 3m. 2f 110y

4.40 Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle 2m 4f 110y

5.15 AP McCoy Grand Annual Chase. 2m 110y.