Day Four Cheltenham Festival 2023 Preview

James Mackie | @JMackieRacing

Cheltenham - March 17 2023
Cheltenham 13:30
4
Mr P W Mullins

Blood Destiny

J: Mr P W Mullins
T: W P Mullins
N/A
Age: 4
Weight: 11-2
OR: 146
Days: 62

The first selection on the final day of the 2023 Cheltenham Festival is Blood Destiny in the Grade One Triumph Hurdle with the exciting juvenile looking to stay unbeaten this season.

Second in France back in April 2022 behind Bo Zenith for Gary Moore, he was then bought and sent to Willie Mullins and on both his starts to date looks an absolute weapon.

Sent to Cork on seasonal/yard debut back in December, he went on to win by five lengths but it could have been much more having never been asked to extend.

Seen again at Fairyhouse he went on to bolt up by 18 lengths in a better event on soft/heavy ground and he now sees himself has the second favourite behind stablemate Lossiemouth for the Triumph Hurdle.

The third and fifth have since come out and won the Grade Two Adonis Hurdle and Boodles Juvenile Handicap and although Paul Townend has chose Lossiemouth he looks a class act.

DateCourseDistanceTypeWeightPosition
14/01/24PUN19.5Sft10-122
14/12/23NAA20Sft/Hy11-41
10/04/23FAI16Y/Sft11-02
17/03/23CHL17Sft11-29
14/01/23FAI16Sft/Hy11-51
Cheltenham - March 17 2023
Cheltenham 14:10
21
Harry Skelton

Pembroke

J: Harry Skelton
T: Dan Skelton
N/A
Age: 6
Weight: 10-9
OR: 136
Days: 48

Next up is the County Handicap Hurdle over 2m1f and with a huge field going to post we have picked out two horses at each way prices.

The first selection is the Dan Skelton trained Pembroke who looks to be on a very feasibly treated off his mark of 136.

A heavy ground winner at Wetherby over two miles, he then went to Ludlow on good to soft ground and bolted up by 16 lengths under a penalty.

Up in trip last time out in the Grade Two Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle at the trials meeting he didn’t stay the trip but ran a lovely race and now in handicap back at two miles he will handle the soft ground and of 136 looks reasonable.

Dan Skelton has a great record in this race and can go close again with Pembroke.

DateCourseDistanceTypeWeightPosition
21/01/24LIN16Sft11-53
09/12/23AIN20Hy11-81
22/11/23WAR16.5Sft11-41
29/10/23AIN16GS11-104
08/10/23UTT16GS11-22
Cheltenham - March 17 2023
Cheltenham 14:10
22
Jonathan Burke

Gin Coco

J: Jonathan Burke
T: Harry Fry
N/A
Age: 7
Weight: 10-8
OR: 135
Days: 124

The second selection in the event is the Harry Fry trained Gin Coco who is another runner that could be better than his mark suggests racing off 135.

A very consistent horse throughout his career finishing second back in October 2020 on his British debut in a maiden hurdle and then next time out got off the mark at Fontwell when bolting up by 14 lengths.

Sent to the Punchestown festival last season off a mark of 123 he finished a good second to a well handicapped horse in Broomfield Hall in a 25 runner handicap.

Seen twice this term he went on to win on seasonal debut at Newton Abbot over 2m1f and when last seen in the Greatwood Hurdle he finished second behind I Like To Move It who was very well handicapped that day.

He has just bumped into a few horses throughout his career but hopefully off 135 this will be his day.

DateCourseDistanceTypeWeightPosition
16/12/23DON16.5GS10-810
24/11/23ASC15.5Gd11-81
15/10/23FFO16GS11-45
17/03/23CHL17Sft10-815
13/11/22CHL16.5Gd11-32
Cheltenham - March 17 2023
Cheltenham 14:10
24
L P Dempsey

Glan

J: L P Dempsey
T: Gordon Elliott
N/A
Age: 8
Weight: 10-7
OR: 134
Days: 175

At a huge price in the County Hurdle, Glan for Gordon Elliott could be weighted to go close but will have to be better than she has been so far this term.

A good winner of a 17 runner handicap at Fairyhouse last season, she has then chucked in three bad runs out of four but her fourth of 20 in the Galway Hurdle two starts back off a mark of 130 is very promising and if getting back to that form at 50/1 she is live outsider only carrying 10st 7lb off a mark of 134.

Cheltenham - March 17 2023
Cheltenham 14:50
19
A P Heskin

Three Card Brag

J: A P Heskin
T: Gordon Elliott
N/A
Age: 6
Weight: 11-7
OR: 142
Days: 51

The second Grade One of the afternoon is Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle over three miles and we have dutched the race with two horses.

The first is the talented Three Card Brag for the McNeill family who will love the step up in trip and love the soft ground conditions.

A bumper winner last season at Wexford on debut, in October this season he made his debut over hurdles and got off to a superb start by beating the talented Sandor Clegane by close to seven lengths.

Since then he has been tried at 2m and 2m4f and has always looked like he has wanted a step up in trip to three miles, staying on strongly over 2m at Navan in a Grade Three behind Hercule Du Seuil and Imagine and then next time out Naas up at 2m4f he was a head second to the talented Inthepocket in a good Grade Two, that saw Absolute Notions back in third.

In both those runs he got tapped for a bit of pace but stayed on after the last very strongly suggesting going up to three miles would suit him.

Seen once more to date in heavy ground at Fairyhouse over 2m 3 1/2f, he battled and stayed well to get back to winning ways, seeing off Spanish Harlem by 12 lengths.

He is a very talented individual that just needs to be given a chance at a trip and be gets that here.

DateCourseDistanceTypeWeightPosition
31/12/23PUN24Hy11-122
02/12/23FAI21.5Sft11-122
26/04/23PUN20Y11-126
17/03/23CHL24Sft11-75
25/01/23FAI19.5Sft/Hy11-101
Cheltenham - March 17 2023
Cheltenham 14:50
7
Rachael Blackmore

Hiddenvalley Lake

J: Rachael Blackmore
T: Henry De Bromhead
N/A
Age: 6
Weight: 11-7
OR: 144
Days: 29

The other selection in the Albert Bartlett is the Henry De Bromhead trained Hiddenvalley Lake who has been seen three times over hurdles this term and looks a very classy stayer.

A winner on hurdles debut over 2m3f at Naas, he then made it 2/2 at Cork in a good Grade Three over three miles, powering away from a good horse in Cool Survivor by eight lengths.

Sent to Clonmel last time out in the same race Minella Indo and Monalee used before winning the Albert Bartlett in the past, he was a close second behind stablemate Monty's Star.

He showed big staying ability that day coming off the bridle and finding loads for pressure and that will play to his strengths in this event up the hill.

DateCourseDistanceTypeWeightPosition
11/02/24NAV21Hy11-61
09/12/23NAV20.5Hy11-12F
17/03/23CHL24Sft11-79
16/02/23CLO24Sft11-62
11/12/22COR24Y/Sft11-01
Cheltenham - March 17 2023
Cheltenham 15:30
6
Paul Townend

Galopin Des Champs

J: Paul Townend
T: W P Mullins
N/A
Age: 7
Weight: 11-10
OR: 173
Days: 41

The pinnacle race of the 2023 Cheltenham festival is the Grade One Gold Cup and we can't look past the favourite Galopin Des Champs, who is a class act.

From what this gelding has shown so far he has got the lot, he jumps incredibly, he has pace to get away from the field but he has also has shown stamina being a three mile Grade One winner over hurdles.

He should be unbeaten over fences if it wasn’t for that freak fall in the Turners last year, his two wins at Leopardstown last season were breath taking especially in Grade One company at the DRF and then he finished last season by landing the Gold Cup Novice Chase at Fairyhouse.

On his seasonal debut this season he showed us he settled better, jumped more economically and just looked gagging for a step in trip when making a mockery of the Grade One John Durkan Chase field.

Sent to the DRF for a second year he was a powerful winner of the Grade One Irish Cup beating Stattler by 8 lengths and he just looks the class horse in the field

The further he goes the better he will be in our opinion and although short we can’t even find anything to take him on with because he is just a superstar.

DateCourseDistanceTypeWeightPosition
03/02/24LEO24.5Sft11-101
28/12/23LEO24.5Sft11-101
26/11/23PUN19.5Sft11-123
26/04/23PUN24Y11-102
17/03/23CHL26.5Sft11-101
Cheltenham - March 17 2023
Cheltenham 15:30
9
Sean Bowen

Noble Yeats

J: Sean Bowen
T: Emmet Mullins
N/A
Age: 8
Weight: 11-10
OR: 167
Days: 48

At a bigger price from an each way perspective is the Emmet Mullins trained Noble Yeats who could stay on for a place late in the day.

2022 Grand National winner Noble Yeats firmly put himself into the reckoning for the Gold Cup when landing the Grade Two many Clouds Chase at Aintree at the start of December.

A horse with bundles of ability, this season he looks to have been aimed at tougher staying chases in the Grade One category.

At Aintree on his third run this season, having won nicely at Wexford on his second start of the season, he took on the likes of Ahoy Senor, Dashel Drasher and Chantry House and he went on to win extremely easy.

Noble Yeats was 33/1 before the off at Aintree and is now a general 7/1 for the big event off the back of his performance.

The way he showed a rapid turn of pace just before the last and then after it was frightening and to win a Grand National and have that much pace, he looks a very special horse.

Sent to the Grade Two Cotswold Chase last time out he ran a cracking trial for the Gold Cup when staying on up the hill for second and with stamina no issue he has big place claims.

DateCourseDistanceTypeWeightPosition
27/01/24CHL24GS11-21
27/12/23LIM20Hy11-102
21/05/23AUT30VSft10-107
15/04/23AIN34.5GS11-114
17/03/23CHL26.5Sft11-104
Cheltenham - March 17 2023
Cheltenham 16:10
23
Mr B O'Neill

Vaucelet

J: Mr B O'Neill
T: D M Christie
N/A
Age: 8
Weight: 12-0
OR: 145
Days: 81

A quirky race that some people love and some people dislike but the Foxhunters does offer a opportunity for value selections.

Our first is the David Christie trained Vaucelet who has done nothing wrong all season and rounded out last season with a good second to last years winner of this race Billaway.

This season being a younger horse than Billaway he has progressed massively landing a hat-trick when winning at Stratford, Portrush in a PTP and Down Royal on Boxing Day.

A horse with bundles of ability that handles soft ground and he has a big chance to go close.

DateCourseDistanceTypeWeightPosition
26/12/23DRO24Sft11-75
02/06/23STR27.5Gd12-02
19/05/23DPT28.5Gd/Y12-02
28/04/23PUN24Y12-02
17/03/23CHL26.5Sft12-07
Cheltenham - March 17 2023
Cheltenham 16:10
3
Miss Alice Stevens

Bob And Co

J: Miss Alice Stevens
T: Harry Derham
N/A
Age: 12
Weight: 12-0
OR: 132
Days: 364

At a bigger price Bob & Co although a 12 year old has a big chance in this race moved to Harry Derham having been with Paul Nicholls this horse won the Punchestown Champion Hunters Chase beating the winner of this race last year Billaway in 2021 and although falling in this race last year he can go close being a classier horse than most.

Harry Derham has made a great start to his career as a trainer and this looks to be his best chance at this years festival and he handles soft/heavy ground.

Cheltenham - March 17 2023
Cheltenham 16:50
1
Paul Townend

Allegorie De Vassy

J: Paul Townend
T: W P Mullins
N/A
Age: 6
Weight: 11-5
OR: 151
Days: 54

The penultimate race of the 2023 Cheltenham Festival is the Grade Two Mares Chase over 2m4 1/2f and Allegorie De Vassy if jumping better will take all the beating.

An extremely smart mare for Willie Mullins having some superb form over hurdles when winning on both her starts over flights rounding off her hurdles career with a win in the Grade Three Solerina Mares Novice Hurdle at Fairyhouse.

Picking up a setback she missed the 2022 Cheltenham Festival when favourite for the Mares' Novices' Hurdle, but getting over that injury she has been back this season and looks a top chaser in the making.

Seen twice to date over fences she made a good debut at Limerick over Christmas when bolting up by 19 lengths and then at Thurles last time out won by the same margin to have a combined 38 lengths winning distance so far.

She does need to jump better than she has in her two starts but she has a serious engine and looks the one to beat especially with the form of her last run working out well.

DateCourseDistanceTypeWeightPosition
10/02/24NAA16Hy11-51
01/01/24FAI21.5Hy11-32
09/11/23CLO20.5Hy11-51
28/04/23PUN21Y11-33
08/04/23FAI21.5Sft11-32
Cheltenham - March 17 2023
Cheltenham 17:30
5
Ben Harvey

Imagine

J: Ben Harvey
T: Gordon Elliott
N/A
Age: 5
Weight: 11-6
OR: 139
Days: 33

The final race of the 2023 Cheltenham festival is the Martin Pipe Handicap Hurdle and we are backing Gordon Elliott to take the race with either of these runners.

The first is Imagine with the five year old holding some smart form throughout his career and on a mark of 139 he could be well in.

A winner on his first two starts in a bumper and a maiden at Punchestown and Wexford In November he went to Navan and finished a good second to a nice type in Hercule Du Seuil.

Second again next time out behind Inothewayurthinkin in what looks another good piece of form, he made it a hat-trick of seconds next time out behind the talented Hunters Yarn.

139 might not be able to stop this horse.

DateCourseDistanceTypeWeightPosition
14/01/24PUN19.5Sft11-104
26/11/23PUN16Sft11-41
07/11/23FAI16.5Hy11-121
26/04/23PUN20Y11-53
17/03/23CHL20.5Sft11-65
Cheltenham - March 17 2023
Cheltenham 17:30
3
Sam Ewing

Cool Survivor

J: Sam Ewing
T: Gordon Elliott
N/A
Age: 6
Weight: 11-7
OR: 140
Days: 41

Then other Gordon Elliott horse is Cool Survivor who is a powerful stayer that will handle conditions and the finish extremely well.

Sent hurdling this season when winning well on hurdles debut in a Maiden at Punchestown over 2m 4 1/2f, he then made it 2/2 at Cork when stepped up to three miles in a Listed Race.

A month later over the same course and distance at Cork he was a good second to Hiddenvalley Lake who looks to have a big chance in the Albert Bartlett.

Last seen when staying on behind Good Land, Absolute Notions and Sandor Clegane in the Grade One Nathaniel Lacy Novice Hurdle at the DRF, he now drops into a handicap and being a strong stayer at this trip he can go close.

DateCourseDistanceTypeWeightPosition
04/02/24LEO21.5Y/Sft10-04
12/12/23PUN23.5Hy11-124
25/11/23PUN19Sft11-124
22/10/23LIM19Sft11-122
15/04/23AIN20GS11-7F