Day 4 Cheltenham Preview - Friday

1.30 Triumph Hurdle Grade 1


16 of the last 19 winners won last time out
18 of the last 22 winners had at least three prior starts over hurdles
16 of the last 19 winners had won at least twice over hurdles
7 of the last 9 winners made hurdles debut December or later
Only one winner rated lower than 80 on the flat since 1996
12 of the last 18 winners started in the first four of the betting, and 5 of the last 6 since inauguration of Fred Winter Juvenile Handicap
The Irish have won 1 of the last 14 renewals

Main Connections Comments

Far West

"He is vying for favouritism in the Triumph Hurdle and I think he's got a very good chance. He won a very tactical affair at Ascot last time - it was fantastic to see that as well as staying and jumping, he's got a fantastic turn of foot. Ruby was thrilled. He was really impressive and sprinted away. He's been working with Zarkandar and has improved all through the winter. He's got everything - he's got speed, he jumps, and I'm really looking forward to the Triumph. We bought him as a chaser but I'd say we'll end up staying over hurdles next season and he could be really interesting." - Paul Nicholls

Our Conor

"He looks the one they all have to beat to me. What really pleased me about that last day was that it was a really good time. If we'd beaten Willie's horse (Diakali) and it was a poor time people could have said it wasn't much of a race but they can't when the time is good. That race is usually a good trial for the Triumph and we're very happy with him." - Dessie Hughes

Rolling Star

"They're obviously two nice four-year-olds and have come a long way clear so hopefully the form is reliable. It's only his second run over hurdles and first for us so it was pretty experimental. There's a couple of others still to fire but I suspect that is where he's going to have to head." - Nicky Henderson

Verdict: Our Conor


2.40 Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle Grade 1


Six and seven year olds have won all bar the first of the eight renewals.
Seven winners have been returned at a SP of 9/1 or shorter.
Five winners had previously won or been placed at Cheltenham.

Main Connections Comments

Utopie Des Bordes 

"She is two out of two for me and won a nice Listed race at Sandown the other day over two and a half miles. We are going to up the trip to three miles because it seems she stays." - Nicky Henderson

Our Vinnie

"Our Vinnie is very genuine and tough. The Albert Bartlett at Cheltenham is the long-term aim, but obviously he would have to keep improving to go there." - Charles Byrnes

Le Bec

"Le Bec may not have the pace of Tocca Ferro, who was on his way to becoming a Champion Hurdle horse before injury intervened, but he's got his class and a very high cruising speed that he can maintain over a trip. I was delighted with his Sandown effort considering the ground was very much against him and we expect him to improve again for the step up to three miles, so the Albert Bartlett is definitely the plan. He remains in great form at home, working exceptionally well and although the ground is starting to come his way now, we've decided to send him straight there rather than give him two races in a short space of time. He's not a horse who needs the fizz taking out of him, so it isn't something I'd be unduly worried about." - Emma Lavelle

Verdict: Our Vinnie 


3.20 Gold Cup Grade 1


12 of the last 15 winners had been placed at the festival before
10 of the last 21 winners were second season chasers
12 of the last 13 winners had all won a race that season
The last 12 winners were in the front three in the betting
11 horses priced 33/1 and bigger have been placed since 1997
73 of 75 horses beaten in the race before since 1994 have been beaten again. The only exceptions are Kauto Star (once) and a carried-out See More Business
17 of the last 19 winners were aged between seven and nine
No horse older than ten has won since 1969
Only one horse since 1963 (Dawn Run) has won with less than six runs over fences

Main Connections Comments

Bobs Worth

"He’s a very easy ride. He just does as much as you ask him to do – nothing really flash – but every time you ask for a little bit of an effort, he delivers. He has the right profile (for the Gold Cup) - he’s an RSA winner and is four from four at Cheltenham. There’s every reason for Bobs Worth to be at the head of the market." - Barry Geraghty

"He has really got a bit to prove in that he has only really had one run outside novice chasing and that was in a handicap so he has got to do it against the big boys. It was a good performance in the Hennessy as it was in the RSA last year. It is a step up and I would have liked to have run him more on the way. He had one little hiccup himself and the whole winter has been the same – the ground has been desperate. His one opportunity to run came when the ground was bottomless and I am glad we did not go for that. He is a horse who is a bit more fragile than some of them and he wouldn’t want a hard race in heavy ground beforehand." - Nicky Henderson

Captain Chris

"He jumped beautifully up to then and it was just unfortunate. I think he'll go for the Gold Cup, and the better the ground the better his chance. He stayed on well in the Ryanair a year ago, and he stayed on again in the King George." - Philip Hobbs

Long Run

"His preparation is all going to plan. He was only six when he won the Cheltenham Gold Cup and then wasn’t just at his very best last season. I cannot tell you that he is completely different this year but he is in very good order. Some cheek-pieces might just sharpen him up – there is no point being proud – they are not the prettiest  things in the world but if they make him go faster why not. He has regained the King George and maybe he can regain the Gold Cup.” - Nicky Henderson

Silviniaco Conti

"Kauto won this as a six-year-old and went on to win the Gold Cup in the same season, and this horse is very, very exciting. He jumps, he has speed and he stays very well. I said coming into today that if he won he would go for the Gold Cup and that is the plan. You couldn't leave him in his box on Gold Cup day after that performance. He could be really interesting, come Cheltenham. I thought he didn't get the credit he deserved at Wetherby [winning the Charlie Hall Chase]." - Paul Nicholls

Sir Des Champs

"He's a lovely big horse, he's built to carry 12 stones over three miles, which is ideally what you want in a chaser. I think the key to him is that he's so relaxed. I've never seen him at full strength or full speed, he just does what he has to do. That's just the way he is I think. - Willie Mullins

Verdixt:  Bobs Worth