By News Team
Last Updated: 18th March 2021
It’s the final day of Cheltenham 2021 and we’ve saved the best till last with the blue ribband, the Gold Cup, set to take centre stage.
There are six other fascinating races too and here are Nick Luck’s fancies as he bids to cap off a good week with a few more winners.
QUILIXIOS can take the Triumph Hurdle (1.20pm) for an in-form team, having rather been in the shadow of his more highly regarded former stablemate Zanahiyr for much of the season. Like everyone else, I have been massively impressed by Zanahiyr, but I am slightly perturbed by both his long absence and the application of a tongue tie for the first time. The form of Quilixios ties in quite closely, I prefer his prep and – most importantly – I prefer his price of 9/2.
LE PATRIOTE is a sporting pick at 33/1 in a typically tough County Hurdle (1.55pm). Thought up to contesting the Champion Hurdle last year, and running creditably over fences this season, this sort of race is more his bag, as he showed when winning the Swinton off a big weight two years ago. His young rider is serious value for his claim, his trainer has pulled off this sort of gambit before, and the drying ground should help considerably.
VANILLIER looks overpriced at 25/1 in the Albert Bartlett (2.30pm). I don’t think the front of the market is all that solid here (for all I respect Stattler), and you just have to forgive the selection one poor run when he was reportedly sick. His dour staying second in a Grade 2 at Limerick at Christmas puts him on the premises and he is massively overpriced for a much-respected trainer.
A PLUS TARD has been my selection for the Gold Cup (3.05pm) all season and I’ve no reason to doubt him now at 4/1, particularly with the stable so hot this week. My view is that he was value for far more than the winning margin in the Savills, as he was stuck behind Allaho (who was going nowhere) before being asked to close down the well-ridden leaders. He hit the line hard, however, and I have every confidence that an even greater test of stamina will suit him. I can see Santini running well again with the visor on, while I like the booking of Jack Kennedy on the selection’s stablemate Minella Indo, who seems to come alive at Cheltenham.
PORLOCK BAY is a big price at 20/1 in the Hunters’ Chase (3.40pm), but ought not to be overlooked. He was not given a hard time at Wincanton, but travelled all over a smart horse in Sametegal for most of the race and was ridden with this race in mind. What he proved that day was that he was up to this test of stamina (as his pedigree suggested) and better ground won’t inconvenience him.
ELIMAY has taken her game to a new level this year and looks a good favourite for the inaugural running of the Mares’ Chase (4.15pm). While Shattered Love could get closer on this better ground, and Colreevy is a formidable opponent, the selection is a beautifully neat and economical jumper who ought to love it round here. She’s an 11/8 chance.
GALOPIN DES CHAMPS can take the Martin Pipe (4.50pm) for Willie Mullins and Sean O’Keefe. Consistently set very stiff targets, this lightly raced horse ran a screamer behind Appreciate It at the Dublin Racing Festival when sent off 100/1 and looks quite well treated off mark of 142. Judged on his background, his pedigree and his French debut, he ought to be a very strong contender to improve for this step up in distance at 7/1.