The Cheltenham Festival week is one of the most exciting in racing, if not sport in general, but it’s unquestionably true that it has been building up to this moment.
The Gold Cup remains the standout race of an excellent week, with seasoned punters and those with only a passing interest in the sport alike getting up for this one.
There are three Grade 3 races and three Grade 1 offerings in among it all, with the Gold Cup obviously being the feature race, hence the moniker of Gold Cup Day being attached to this one.
If you have landed on this page and you are looking for information about the races along with some clues of who to back on Gold Cup Day then you are in luck, read on. If you would like to supplement your betting with a new or existing customer betting promotion to add value check out our home page where we have carefully selected the best deals.
Going, Weather Forecast & Ground Conditions
The rain has been intermittent both in the build-up to the Festival and over the first couple of days, so the fact that the forecast has it drying off a bit for Gold Cup Day simply means that it won’t be quite as boggy as it could otherwise have been.
If you were paying attention yesterday you’ll know what the going was like on the New Course, with many expecting it to be soft in the main, possibly heavy in places.
It is pretty much guaranteed to rain on Gold Cup Day, but not as much as earlier in the week when storm Gareth blew through, threatening the cancellation of Ladies Day.
Critically the wind will be much less blustery by Friday, it will still be around and noticeable but again no where near as bad as early week.
The day may well be about the main event for most people, but the organisers of the Cheltenham Festival aren’t stupid and have surrounded it by races that promise to give you plenty to cheer about. There’s also plenty to mull over in the sense of which bets to place, as the following preview of them all will tell you.
Gold Cup Day Tips and Race Previews
The first race of the day is the Grade 1 Triumph Hurdle, proving that there’s more to Day 4 of the Festival that just the Gold Cup. Run for the first time in 1939 and featuring 8 hurdles across 2 miles and 1 furlong, this is for juvenile novice hurdlers and is therefore only open to horses aged 4. The weight is 11 stone, with fillies getting a 7 pound allowance.
The Triumph Hurdle often throws up horses that are sold as ‘bankers’, with Samcro taking the headlines last year and the talk of the town in 2019 is Sir Eric. Joseph O’Brien will be hoping that he can follow in his father’s footsteps with a win in this race as a trainer, having watched his 4-year-old former flat racer win both of his starts over hurdles so far.
Paul Nicholls will be hoping that he’s got something to say on the matter, having not one the Triumph since 2011 when Zarkandar managed it for him. Quel Destin is his offering this time around and certainly promises more value than the odds-on favourite Sir Eric.
- Winner Tip: Sir Eric
- Each-Way Bet: Quel Destin
County Handicap Hurdle
The County Handicap Hurdle has been taking place since 1920 and the first of 2 Grade 3 races during the day. Raced over approximately 2 miles and 1 furlong with 8 hurdles during that time, it’s seen by many as the Triumph Hurdle for more experienced horses. They can be 5-years-old and up, with the weight they’ll carry being determined by the handicapper.
With the previous 13 winners of this race being rated in the 130s, it’s a race where you’ll want to see what the handicapper’s got to say before nailing your colours to the mast. The question you’ll need to answer is whether you fancy an Irish trainer to follow in the footsteps of 8 of the previous 12 winners or whether Dan Skelton’s 2 wins from the previous 3 is likely to continue.
If it’s the latter that you want to opt for then Chti’bello is likely to represent good value, though some way sure of Skelton’s Mohaayed who won as a 33/1 outsider in 2018. Eclair De Beaufeu has finished inside the top 4 in each of his 7 races, including finishing first at Limerick and Fairyhouse.
- Winner Tip: Chti’bello
- Each-Way Bet: Eclair De Beaufeu
Spa Novices’ Hurdle
The final race before the big one is the Spa Novices’ Hurdle, which is open to novice hurdlers aged 4 and over. It’s run over 3 miles and has 12 hurdles for the competitors to jump, with the weight information being as follows:
- 4-year-olds: 10 stone 11 pounds
- 5-year-olds and over: 11 stone 7 pounds
- Fillies and mares receive a 7 pound allowance
The race was introduced when the Festival was extended to 4 days back in 2005 and neither a specific jockey not a trainer has been able to stamp their authority on it yet. Experience could be key for this demanding race, with 12 out of the previous 14 winners having run a 3 mile race before being victorious here.
It could be question of whether you want to go on long odds that have a decent chance or shorter odds on a horse that flatters to deceive. Lisnagar Oscar falls into the latter category, winning well at Haydock but losing out to Rockpoint in December. Rockpoint has much longer odds, which is what appeals here.
- Winner Tip: Lisnagar Oscar
- Each-Way Bet: Rockpoint
Now it’s time for the big one, the race that everyone has been waiting for. The Gold Cup is a real test of a horse’s stamina, run as it is over 3 miles, 2 furlongs and 70 yards and challenging the runners with 22 fences during that. It’s for horses aged 5 and over, with the following weight information being something you’ll want to take into account:
- 5-year-olds: 11 stone 8 pounds
- 6-year-olds and over: 11 stone 10 pounds
- Mares get an allowance of 7 pounds
Whilst the race boasts a number of famous winners, with Arkle and Best Mate being obvious examples, Kauto Star is the most recent to have won it twice and even he needed a year off in between victories. It’s a race that tends to favour horses that haven’t won it before, so you might want to look away from the most obvious names on the card.
Presenting Percy is one that many people are talking about, thanks in no small part to his winning performances at the Festival 2 years running in the Pertemps and the RSA. One man who is desperate to get a Gold Cup win under his belt is Willie Mullins who, remarkably, has yet to do so. He’s got a few chances to this year, with Kemboy one of his best bets.
- Winner Tip: Presenting Percy
- Each-Way Bet: Kemboy
Foxhunter Challenge Cup
Essentially a Gold Cup for amateur riders, the Foxhunter Challenge Cup is run over the same course. That means it’s around 3 miles, 2 furlongs and 70 yards, features 22 fences and is for horses aged 5 and up. The weight information is 11 stone 12 pounds for 5-year-olds, 12 stone for horses age 6 and over and sees mares once again given a 7 pound allowance. The key thing to remember is the riders will be amateurs, so bear that in mind when the card is confirmed.
Pacha Du Polder has won this one the last 2 times out, following in the footsteps of On The Fringe. He’ll be hoping to make it a hat-trick and if he does it there won’t be a dry eye in the house, with Paul Nicholls confirming that this will be his last run out before retiring. The value in this one lies away from the favourites, with Ucello Conti being seeing their odds come in after winning a hunter chase in January.
- Winner Tip: Ucello Conti
- Each-Way Bet: Pacha Du Polder
Johnny Henderson Grand Annual Chase
The second-to-last race of the day is the Johnny Henderson Grand Annual Chase, which takes place over 2 miles and 62 yards and features 14 fences. It’s been taking place since 1834 and is a handicap race for horses aged 5 and over.
Paul Nicholls has won 2 out of the last 3 runnings of this as trainer, sandwiched between a victory for Jessica Harrington; something to bear in mind when you’re looking at the runners and riders. It’s normally something of a manic race, with horses going hell-for-leather for the finish line. That means experience might be crucial, so looking to a horse like Not Another Muddle, who has won 3 out of his 4 starts in chasers, might pay dividends.
- Winner Tip: Magic Saint
- Each-Way Bet: Not Another Muddle
Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle
The Festival comes to a close with the Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle, which is run over around 2 miles and 4.5 furlongs. It’s only been taking place since 2009 and is a handicap offering for horses aged 4 and over. There are 9 hurdles that need to be jumped during this one and, as the name suggests, it’s for conditional jockeys.
One thing worth noting is that when the review into the Cheltenham Festival was carried out, changes to the conditions for this race were recommended and will be in place for its running this year.
Willie Mullins has won this race 3 times, making him its most successful trainer, so you might want to see which horses he’s decided to enter. Gordon Elliot won it last time out, though, and his Dallas Des Pictons offering is well-fancied. He’s also likely to put Éclair De Beaufeu into the field and with 9 of the previous 10 winners being 5 or 6-years-old the 5-year-old might be worth an Each-Way punt thanks to the increased odds on offer.
- Winner Tip: Dallas des Pictons
- Each-Way Bet: Éclair De Beaufeu
Cheltenham Day 4 Betting Summary
There’s so much to enjoy on Gold Cup Day, with even the races after the main event being filled with promise and open fields.
The Gold Cup will always be the main talking point, though, and there’s plenty of value to be found by looking further down the field.