Betting expert Dave Nevison marks your card for the action on day four of the 2023 Cheltenham Festival.
The Cheltenham Festival concludes with what promises to be a terrific Boodles Cheltenham Gold Cup. I think there are question marks about all the runners at the front of the market, which might allow an old timer to go in again.
I have combined him with a couple more experienced types who might put it up against the lightly raced improvers in the supporting handicaps.
2.10 Cheltenham: Sharjah
It is difficult to look past Willie Mullins in this race and typically I might be looking for a lightly raced massive improver of which there are several, and not just from his yard.
There is not a horse more exposed than Sharjah but this may prove to be another shrewd bit of placing, running this horse off top weight in the most competitive 2m handicap of the season.
Sharjah has been runner up in two Champion Hurdles and he’s been a prolific winner in Grade One races.
Last time, dropped to a Grade Three, he was desperately unlucky, making a bad mistake which knocked him back so far he couldn’t make up the lost ground.
He cannot afford to lose concentration in a race like this, but I feel his class could still carry him home.
3.30 Cheltenham: Minella Indo
The form of Henry De Bromhead’s yard before the Festival was questionable but they have been in rude health at this meeting.
Minella Indo seeks to become the first horse since Kauto Star to regain the Gold Cup and, while he might not win, I make him great each-way value at 20/1.
When on song, he is a brilliant staying chaser who excels in soft ground and really digs in after the last. I don’t think he has was at his best all last season and he seemed to cave in when second to his stable companion A Plus Tard last year.
His battling qualities were back on show in his prep run, when he dug in to beat Stattler at Tramore over a trip short of his best. I don’t anticipate losing money backing him to fill one of the four or even five places (Sky Bet) on offer by the bookmakers.
5.30 Cheltenham: West To The Bridge
It was an insult putting this horse in at 66/1 earlier in the week but my fingers were not fast enough to get on. I still think he is a big price, at 40/1, to land an extra place.
He might not be completely exposed, even though he is a 10-year-old, as he spent a considerable time not enjoying going over fences.
Since being switched back to hurdles he has improved with each race this season. He bolted up at Sandown last time, doing this column a big favour in the process, and the 5lb penalty certainly would not have stopped him.
He is trained by Dan Skelton, who seems to be the only English trainer who can put it to the Irish battalion in these handicaps. The young rider has had a good time for the yard this season.
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