GOLD CUP DAY: SHAMROCK runs through the first four races on Gold Cup day in search of a winner or two on the final day of the Festival.

I’m so tempted to head to Dundalk tonight instead !! It’s been one of them weeks so far for me – I can’t really have any excuses for Annie Power, my bet of the week, she ran well but not quite good enough.

It’s of course a hugely difficult card to finish the week.

1:30 JCB Triumph Hurdle (Juvenile Grade 1) (4yo, Class 1, 2m 1f, 15 runners)

Willie Mullins and Ruby Walsh at 12/1 in a hurdle race with a horse who is unbeaten in three starts ! It’s a bit of a tempter – you can’t ever dismiss the combination at this meeting – remember Briar Hill at 25/1 in the bumper last year? Abbyssial made all to win a Grade 2 at Fairyhouse last time out to beat better fancied stable companion Adriana Des Mottes. This is clearly a step up in class again but Abbyssial appeals on the BETDAQ place market.

2:05 Vincent O’Brien County Handicap Hurdle (Grade 3) (5yo+, Class 1, 2m 1f, 28 runners)

Irish trainers have a good recent record in the race and Tom Foley can keep the run going with Never Enough Time who won with plenty in hand at Leopardstown last time out. He looks well handicapped at the moment and has run into form at exactly the right time. A win and place bet.

2:40 Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle (Registered As The Spa Novices’ Hurdle) (Grade 1) (4yo+, Class 1, 3m, 19 runners)

Briar Hill sprang a 25/1 surprise in the Champion Bumper last year and has done absolutely nothing wrong since over hurdles – but if you were crabbing him you would point to the fact that they have come in uncompetitive races and he has gone off at 1/9, 1/4 and 1/3. He is drifting a little in the market today but I think that’s more a case of the layers trying to get a result on one of the shortest price favourites of the day. We know he has the class and I’m keeping the faith.

3:20 Betfred Cheltenham Gold Cup Chase (Grade 1) (5yo+, Class 1, 3m 2f 110y, 13 runners)

Mixed news this morning on the Irish trained challengers this morning. First Lieutenant is out of the race but Last Instalment has been given the go-ahead. Last year’s winner Bobs Worth and unlucky faller Silviniaco Conti rightly head the market in a race where the winner has been in single figure odds for the last 13 runnings. Last Instalment was very impressive when winning the Hennessy Gold Cup at Leopardstown and hopefully can be equally as effective on the better ground. He’s a winner on better ground but obviously not at this level !!

3 points PLACE Abbyssial (1.30 Cheltenham)
3 points WIN and PLACE Never Enough Time (2.05 Cheltenham)
10 points WIN (NAP) Briar Hill (2.40 Cheltenham)
2 points WIN and PLACE Last Instalment (3.20 Cheltenham)

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