Cheltenham Festival 2022 Day Four Preview

James Mackie | @JMackieRacing

Cheltenham - March 18 2022
Cheltenham 13:30
12
Paul Townend

Vauban

J: Paul Townend
T: W P Mullins
N/A
Age: 4
Weight: 11-0
OR: 146
Days: 41

The first selection on the final day of the Cheltenham festival comes in the Grade One JCB Triumph Hurdle and the horse we have sided with is the Willie Mullins trained Vauban.

Being bought by Rich Ricci from France after four decent runs on the flat, he was given to Mullins and made his hurdles debut around Christmas time.

He took on the ex John Gosden horse Pied Piper and went down by half a length in heavy ground, but the Gordon Elliott Juvenile has since gone on to bolt up in a Grade Two at Cheltenham.

Vauban also franked the form last time out when taking the Grade One Spring Juvenile Hurdle at the Dublin Racing Festival and if improving again could be very tough to beat looking to have bags of pace.

DateCourseDistanceTypeWeightPosition
07/11/23FLE16Gd8-914
07/08/23NAA12Sft9-91
20/06/23ASC14Gd9-81
28/04/23PUN16Y11-122
14/03/23CHL16.5Sft11-104
Cheltenham - March 18 2022
Cheltenham 14:10
15
Paul Townend

State Man

J: Paul Townend
T: W P Mullins
N/A
Age: 5
Weight: 11-1
OR: 141
Days: 45

The County Hurdle is the first handicap event of the afternoon on Gold Cup day and with over 20 runners heading to post we have picked out two horses that could go close.

The first is the Willie Mullins trained State Man who could be chucked in off his mark of 141.

Falling on Stable debut this term when looking the likely winner, he showed bundles of ability at Limerick last time out to win easily by 12 lengths.

Mullins has a superb record in this race winning five of the last 11 renewals of the race and he could be another Graded horse in a handicap for the master trainer.

One to follow.

DateCourseDistanceTypeWeightPosition
04/02/24LEO16Sft11-121
29/12/23LEO16Sft/Hy11-121
25/11/23PUN16.5Sft11-121
28/04/23PUN16Y11-121
14/03/23CHL16.5Sft11-102
Cheltenham - March 18 2022
Cheltenham 14:10
16
Conor Orr

Colonel Mustard

J: Conor Orr
T: Mrs Lorna Fowler
N/A
Age: 7
Weight: 11-0
OR: 140
Days: 40

At a bigger price and looking at more from an each way stand point is the Lorna Fowler trained Colonel Mustard who has some strong graded form.

A very consistent type for a decent yard, the seven year old has been seen three times this term, making his seasonal debut at Galway when winning a maiden in good style and has then since placed in some good races.

In December he finished a good second behind Jonbon in the Grade Two Kennel Gate at Ascot and then last time out at the Dublin Racing Festival he was a fair third behind Sir Gerhard and Three Stripe Life in the Grade One Tattersalls Irish Novice Hurdle.

Sir Gerhard, Three Stripe Life and Jonbon have all franked the form at the Cheltenham festival this year and now in a handicap off a mark of 140, with 3lb claimer Conor Orr on board, he looks extremely well in.

DateCourseDistanceTypeWeightPosition
17/02/24WCN15Hy11-42
01/12/23NBY20GS11-45
10/11/23DRO19.5Sft11-122
28/04/23PUN16Y11-123
22/04/23AYR16Gd11-52
Cheltenham - March 18 2022
Cheltenham 14:50
10
Richard Patrick

Hillcrest

J: Richard Patrick
T: Henry Daly
N/A
Age: 7
Weight: 11-8
OR: 148
Days: 27

The 19 runner Grade One Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle looks an absolute cracker this year and with so many fancied horses going to post we have picked out two selections.

The first is the Henry Daly trained Hillcrest for the late Trevor Hemmings, with this horse showing last time out he is a thorough stayer.

The seven year old for Henry Daly has been a superb horse for the yard, being a smart bumper horse at the start of 2021, placing on debut and then getting off the mark at Wetherby.

Given a break and sent over hurdles this term, he made a smart debut at Aintree over 2m4f, beating a next time out winner and then backed that up at Wetherby over slightly further, taking a novice hurdle under a penalty by 20 lengths.

Looking to land a hat-trick over hurdles he went to Cheltenham in a hot Listed event and saw of the highly rated I Am Maximus and Get A tonic with ease.

Hillcrest went back to Prestbury Park in the Grade Two Ballymore Trial and unfortunately unseated his rider before we could tell what would happen.

Turned out quickly having been none the worse for that mishap he went into deep ground at Haydock and blitzed a field in a good Grade Two over this trip and his time figures that day were superb.

He looks one of the more likely winners and has been highly progressive all season.

Cheltenham - March 18 2022
Cheltenham 14:50
1
Harry Skelton

Ballygrifincottage

J: Harry Skelton
T: Dan Skelton
N/A
Age: 7
Weight: 11-8
OR: 136
Days: 54

At a much bigger price for the Skelton team is the smart Ballygrifincottage, who has plenty of experience over this trip and could be a lively outsider.

Running in four point to points before coming to Skelton he won three events over three miles in taking style and he has continued his form since going over hurdles under rules.

The seven year old made his debut for the Skelton's at the December meeting at Cheltenham finishing a good third behind Blazing Khal and Gelino Bello.

He went on to frank that form last time out in heavy ground at Lingfield over 2m7f and he just looks to be the gritty and determined type you need for a race like this.

DateCourseDistanceTypeWeightPosition
11/11/23WCN25GS10-10PU
21/10/23NAB21Hy11-83
18/03/23UTT23.5Sft11-4PU
04/02/23WET24GS11-5PU
30/11/22HAY21.5Sft11-21
Cheltenham - March 18 2022
Cheltenham 15:30
6
Davy Russell

Galvin

J: Davy Russell
T: Gordon Elliott
N/A
Age: 8
Weight: 11-10
OR: 168
Days: 80

The pinnacle race of every jumps season is the Gold Cup and in the 2022 renewal we are putting up the Gordon Elliott trained Galvin.

Galvin has been amazing for his connections during his career and has a big chance in the Gold Cup.

Winning the National Hunt Chase last year at the festival and finishing second in the 2m4f Handicap Chase that his since been scrapped the year before, his festival form is good.

This year he has been campaigned for this event, winning in October at Punchestown in a Grade Three Chase and then went to Down Royal and finished second to a primed Frodon in the Grade One Ladbrokes Champion Chase.

Last seen at Christmas he was given a stunning ride by Davy Russell to see off rival A Plus Tard in the Grade One Savills Chase at Leopardstown and that could be some of the best form heading into the race.

We find in the Gold Cup you should go stamina over class and Galvin looks to have both and surely has a huge chance.

DateCourseDistanceTypeWeightPosition
11/02/24NAV21Hy11-34
15/12/23CHL29.5Sft11-115
17/11/23CHL29.5GS11-78
15/04/23AIN34.5GS11-11UR
15/03/23CHL30Sft11-72
Cheltenham - March 18 2022
Cheltenham 16:10
2
Mr P W Mullins

Billaway

J: Mr P W Mullins
T: W P Mullins
N/A
Age: 10
Weight: 12-0
OR: 140
Days: 34

A race that had been a minefield for punters over the years is the 3m2f Hunters Chase and we fancy two near the top of the market from a class angle.

A very consistent horse but frustrating to back at the same time, Billaway was second in the race last year being beaten by a short head and has been campaigned fairly similar finishing second on debut at Thurles albeit needing the run and then went to Navan and landed the same race he did last year before heading to the festival.

He is arguably the most talented horse in the field and having not won the race last year, he will want to go one better this year.

DateCourseDistanceTypeWeightPosition
10/02/24NAA25Hy12-02
19/05/23DPT28.5Gd/Y12-01
28/04/23PUN24Y12-0UR
08/04/23FAI25Sft12-02
17/03/23CHL26.5Sft12-0F
Cheltenham - March 18 2022
Cheltenham 16:10
3
Mr David Maxwell

Bob And Co

J: Mr David Maxwell
T: Paul Nicholls
N/A
Age: 11
Weight: 12-0
OR: 137
Days: 27

At a bigger price is one of Paul Nicholls best chances of a winner at this year's festival with Bob And Co been set up for this race.

A consistent horse last term, winning a Hunters' Chase at Hexham before heading to the Punchestown festival in April and beating Billaway by a nose in the Champion Hunters Chase.

This season he has been seen twice to date, finishing second on his come back run in May at Stratford and then last time out had a big prep run at Haydock when a narrow second behind Cousin Pascal.

That looked like a big pipe opener for this event and if that was the case he should be much better here at an each way price.

Cheltenham - March 18 2022
Cheltenham 16:50
3
Mark Walsh

Elimay

J: Mark Walsh
T: W P Mullins
N/A
Age: 8
Weight: 11-2
OR: 155
Days: 34

The penultimate event of the afternoon is the Grade Two Mares' Chase and we are giving another chance to last year's second Elimay.

The Willie Mullins trained grey has been a very consistent horse over the years and overall holds some of the best past form in the race.

Finishing second in this at last year's festival behind stablemate Colreevy, with the mare going on to frank the form after that beating Monkfish and Envoi Allen, it stacked up as credible form.

Elimay this term needed her first two runs to warm up, running no race at Aintree when third of four runners and then at Fairyhouse was second behind Mount Ida, who she takes on again here.

She bounced back to form last time out over two miles in the Listed Opera Hat Mares Chase at Naas and she looked back to her best.

She should have been primed for this event like last term and can get justice for her narrow defeat the season before.

Cheltenham - March 18 2022
Cheltenham 17:30
10
Lorcan Williams

Langer Dan

J: Lorcan Williams
T: Dan Skelton
N/A
Age: 6
Weight: 11-3
OR: 137
Days: 24

The final event of the 2022 Cheltenham festival is the Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys' Handicap Hurdle over 2m4f and we have two each way punts.

The first is the Dan Skelton trained Langer Dan who is the best handicapped horse at the Cheltenham festival this year on his form last year.

Finishing second in this race last year behind the superstar Galopin Des Champs, he must have felt done by knowing what we know now about that Mullins horse.

He has not been seen for 11 months after that, suffering a small setback but returned in February when running at Taunton in a Handicap Hurdle off 5lb higher.

It was an obvious prep run for this event finishing last of the sixth, but still running a decent race and strangely the handicapper dropped him 3lb for that run.

He heads into this years event off a mark of 137 which is only 2lb higher than in the race last year and that gives him a huge chance.

DateCourseDistanceTypeWeightPosition
13/01/24KEM21GS12-014
16/12/23DON16.5GS11-79
09/12/23SAN16Hy12-0PU
13/11/23KEM21Gd12-06
15/03/23CHL21Sft11-41
Cheltenham - March 18 2022
Cheltenham 17:30
13
Shane Fitzgerald

Chemical Energy

J: Shane Fitzgerald
T: Gordon Elliott
N/A
Age: 6
Weight: 11-3
OR: 137
Days: 111

At a bit more of an each price is the Gordon Elliott trained Chemical Energy who looks to have been primed for this event all season.

Sent hurdling this term having been a fair bumper horse last season, he made a very pleasing debut over flights, winning a 14 runner maiden over 2m4f and Navan in emphatic style.

He then dropped down to, two miles and finished a fair second behind the smart My Mate Mozzie and when last seen back up in trip to his preferred 2m4f, beating a nice horse in Lunar Display.

The better the ground the better chance he seems to have and having not ran since November, keeping his mark for this race, he should go close off a mark of 137 in his first handicap event.

DateCourseDistanceTypeWeightPosition
20/09/23LIS24Y/Sft11-46
10/04/23FAI29Sft11-0PU
14/03/23CHL30Sft11-72
29/01/23NAA25Sft11-34
22/10/22CHL24.5Gd11-71