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Cheltenham 2021 Your ultimate guide to the final day of the Cheltenham Festival


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15 March 2019; Al Boum Photo, with Paul Townend up, jumps the last on their way to winning the Magners Cheltenham Gold Cup Chase on Day Four of the Cheltenham Racing Festival at Prestbury Park in Cheltenham, England. Photo by Seb Daly/Sportsfile

15 March 2019; Al Boum Photo, with Paul Townend up, jumps the last on their way to winning the Magners Cheltenham Gold Cup Chase on Day Four of the Cheltenham Racing Festival at Prestbury Park in Cheltenham, England. Photo by Seb Daly/Sportsfile

15 March 2019; Al Boum Photo, with Paul Townend up, jumps the last on their way to winning the Magners Cheltenham Gold Cup Chase on Day Four of the Cheltenham Racing Festival at Prestbury Park in Cheltenham, England. Photo by Seb Daly/Sportsfile

It has been a cracking week of racing at Cheltenham and now for one final day of drama.

Cheltenham: Friday

It's been a tough time for the Gordon Elliott team, but exciting prospect ZANAHIYR (1.20) can lift spirits in the Triumph Hurdle.

Formerly with Mick Halford on the flat, better ground certainly won't be an issue - and on all we have seen so far, he is very hard to oppose.

Recently-departed former stablemate Quilixios is clearly a threat, though not as sure to cope with a faster surface.

Tritonic was a smart sort on the flat and was certainly very business-like in the Adonis Hurdle, but the form is hard to evaluate. David Pipe's steady improver Adagio is another for the shortlist.

The Gold Cup takes centre stage with Al Boum Photo bidding for a hat-trick. Just one race at Tramore, the only outing all season, seems an unusual preparation but it has worked a treat in the last two years.

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Al Boum Photo (Paul Townend) wins the Gold Cup
Cheltenham 15.3.19 Pic: Edward Whitaker

Al Boum Photo (Paul Townend) wins the Gold Cup Cheltenham 15.3.19 Pic: Edward Whitaker

Al Boum Photo (Paul Townend) wins the Gold Cup Cheltenham 15.3.19 Pic: Edward Whitaker

On Leopardstown Christmas form, A Plus Tard is certainly a threat and Rachael Blackmore interestingly opts for him, and stamina won't be an issue the way he finished at Foxrock.

Yet earlier this season MINELLA INDO (3.05) was the main Henry de Bromhead hope - and this smart sort, who really comes alive at this festival, looks a plum spare ride for Jack Kennedy and that new combination can grab the glory.

Santini went mighty close last season and should benefit from the undoubted fast pace that Frodon and Native River are going to inject.

Champ could be the joker in the pack and certainly sparkled over a much shorter trip last time.

Kemboy seems to keep his very best for Leopardstown, but he comes here in top form and will love the ground.

The Albert Bartlett is often a happy hunting ground for long shots and STREETS OF DOYEN (2.30) makes big appeal at juicy odds. John McConnell's progressive sort won at this track last October where he was completing a four-timer, and was put away until running in a hot contest over a trip way too short at Naas a few weeks back, which should leave him nicely primed for this.

Stattler and Fakiera might seem more obvious Irish contenders and are also guaranteed to see out this trip, with Torygraph a potential massive improver.

Barbados Buck's, Ardrimel and Threeunderthrufive are serious players for the home team in what looks a very open contest, though at nothing near the quality level we saw in last year's exceptional renewal.

Elimay will deservedly top the market for the Mrs Paddy Power Mares Chase after her good Thurles second to Allaho and then her sharp win at Naas over two miles.

Willie Mullins also strongly fancies Colreevy who is certainly in form, but has badly disappointed at this meeting in the past.

Former festival winner SHATTERED LOVE (4.15) has been enjoying something of a revival, and was a running-on second to Elimay at Naas. Another half mile here and better ground can see her turn the tables on the favourite.

Willie Mullins will again be the leading trainer at the festival, and can wrap up the week nicely with GENTLEMAN DE MEE (4.50) in the Martin Pipe. He was a 2/7 hotpot when winning at Naas on his only appearance, has unlimited potential and this should be both his first and last appearance in a handicap.

The programme

1.20 JCB Triumph Hurdle (2m 1f)

1.55 McCoy Contractors County Handicap Hurdle (2m 1f)

2.30 Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle (3m)

3.05 WellChild Cheltenham Gold Cup Steeple Chase (3m 2 1/2f)

3.40 St James’s Place Hunter Steeple Chase (3m 2 1/2f)

4.15 The Mrs Paddy Power Mares Steeple Chase (2m 1/2f)

4.50 Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle (2m 4 1/2f)

Declan's Top Tips

1.20: 1 ZANAHIYR (Nap); 2 Tritonic; 3 Quilixios

1.55: 1 THIRD TIME LUCKI; 2 Soaring Glory; 3 The Shunter

2.30: 1 STREETS OF DOYEN; 2 Barbados Bucks; 3 Cape Gentleman

3.05: 1 MINELLA INDO; 2 Al Boum Photo; 3 A Plus Tard

3.40: 1 IT CAME TO PASS; 2 Billaway; 3 Staker Wallace

4.15: 1 SHATTERED LOVE; 2 Elimay; 3 Annie Mc

4.50: 1 GENTLEMAN DE MEE; 2 Gabynacko; 3 Ganapathi

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