DONN MCCLEAN: Ahead of the final day of Cheltenham, Racing TV’s Donn McClean previews a trio of races including The Gold Cup.
I think that Solo is vulnerable. I thought it was a bit of an overreaction to his performance the last day where his time wasn’t anything to write home about. It was four seconds slower than the Kingwell Hurdle, so the fact he was given a rating of 157 could prove to be quite steep. He could well win, but he’s got to do it again for me.
It’s a fascinating race with Allmankind, who likes to go forward, ASPIRE TOWER who also likes to be up with the pace, as does Goshen. It means it’s going to be very interesting tactically, but I do think there has been a bit of an overreaction to Aspire Tower’s fall the last day. He probably would have won had he stood up and I don’t think Rachael Blackmore had really pushed the gas pedal. I retain a lot of faith in him at 7.5 and I also think A WAVE OF THE SEA might be a bit underrated too.
He won the Spring Hurdle at Leopardstown after that dramatic conclusion, but I just think he’s getting better as the season goes on. His jumping was much slicker the last day and he was very impressive when he won at Down Royal earlier in the season. The pace in the race should bring his stamina in to play and if he can jump as well as he did at Leopardstown, he could run better than his price of 11.0 suggests.
Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle
I like LATEST EXHIBITION at 5.0 who is a very solid contender. He’s got plenty of the attributes you look for in this race and he was very good at the Dublin Racing Festival over 2m6f. He stayed with a really pacey horse in Abacadabras at Navan in November over two miles which was a really good effort considering he’s clearly better over further. The step up to three miles should really suit and it would be great for Paul Nolan and Brian Cooper to get back in the winners’ enclosure at Cheltenham.
I think FURY ROAD might be a bit underrated too. He was favourite for that aforementioned 2m6f race at Leopardstown on the back of his previous win and he’s certainly worth a second look in this. It might prefer softer ground which would be a slight worry if the ground continues to dry up.
Last year’s winner Al Boum Photo is the rightful favourite for the showpiece of the week, the Gold Cup. He’s had the same prep as 12 months ago, but we all know how hard it is to win the race twice, let alone back-to-back. Willie Mullins has said he’s had the ideal preparation having only had that run at Tramore on New Year’s Day and if he’s going to do it again it will probably be this year.
He’s the one to beat, but I do like the chances of DELTA WORK who is probably the value at 6.5. He was beaten in the RSA last year, but didn’t really have the run of the race that day and made a few niggly mistakes which didn’t help either. He’s won his last two starts and I think he’ll be even better over this 3m2f trip.
He’s a Cheltenham Festival winner having won the Pertemps as a five-year-old. That’s a pretty impressive achievement and he seems to be improving with every run. His jumping has been better recently and I think he’s got an awful lot in his favour.
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