Galopin to the end | 

All the tips for the final day of the Cheltenham Festival

Gold Cup will be the highlights on Day 4

Trainer Willie Mullins and jockey Paul Townend with Galopin Des Champs which has a big chance to land the Gold Cup. Photo: Seb Daly/Sportsfile© SPORTSFILE

John BrennanSunday World

We’ve had three glorious days of Cheltenham, and yet the best wine is kept until the end. Friday is Cheltenham Gold Cup day – for the honour that racing people crave winning above all.

The Grand National may be more lucrative and reach out to more people, but if you win the Gold Cup your horse’s name goes down beside those of Arkle, L’Escargot, Dawn Run, Best Mate, Kauto Star and Denman, truly the greats of the game.

After seeing six different horses of his finish second in the Gold Cup, Willie Mullins finally cracked the Gold Cup code in 2019 and 2020 with Al Boum Photo.

He’s back this year with Galopin de Champs, the 7/4 favourite for the showpiece (3.30). The horse is a class act, but is unproven over the demanding 3m 2.5f of the stiff Gold Cup course.

Henry De Bromhead’s pair, Minella Indo and A Plus Tard, are not, they have finished first and second in the last two Gold Cups, but both come into the 2023 edition with plenty to prove after an undistinguished season.

Noble Yeats, from the Emmet Mullins yard, tries to add this race to the Grand National he won last year. If it rains heavily over the hours before the race, this dour stayer cannot be ruled out. But rain is not what the ever-engaging ‘Shark’ Hanlon wants for his challenger, the €800 purchase – Hewick.

I’m with Galopin des Champs to confirm his class and a little each-way punt on Minella Indo at 20/1 might pay off too.

It could be a big day for the mighty Willie Mullins who has other favourites dotted across the card. His Blood Destiny is the 13/8 ‘jolly’ for the opening Triumph Hurdle (1.30). But I’m with Lossiemouth (2/1) who met all sorts of trouble in running at the Dublin Racing Festival in Leopardstown last month. I think she’ll prevail here.

Filey Bay (5/1) is a worthy favourite for the County Hurdle (2.10). But I wouldn’t put you off having a little bet on Path d’Oroux (14/1) from the Gavin Cromwell stable. He has been laid out for this race all year.

And I’m all over another Cromwell runner, Letsbeclearaboutit (14/1) in the third race, the Albert Bartlett Hurdle (2.50). Cromwell won this race with Vanillier two years ago and, again, the race has been the plan for the horse all year.

In the very last race of the 2023 Cheltenham Festival, The Martin Pipe hurdle for younger jockeys who have not won many races, Willie Mullins teams up with the star of the moment Michael O’Sullivan.

They have Spanish Harlem, the 11/2 favourite, and this has all the makings of a Mullins handicap special.

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