Gold Cup Day at last and the match up we have all been waiting for between dual winner, Kauto Star and defending Gold Cup champion Long Run. These two head a very good looking field of runners but for most people who follow National Hunt racing they only want to see one winner and that is ‘Kauto Superstar’ a horse with no equal in modern times. As always there is a magnificent supporting cast of six races, including the Grade 1 Albert Bartlett Novice Hurdle over 3 miles. The day begins at 1.30 with the Grade 1 Triumph Hurdle for juveniles and concludes with the exciting ‘Grand Annual Chase’ over a quick two miles at 5.15
1.30 JCB Triumph Hurdle
A cracking curtain raiser to the final day of the Festival with a great many highly rated juveniles going ‘hell for leather’ over a very quick 2m1f course. Although not a great race for favourite backers, the winners still tend to come from those well backed, which will put any amount in with chances. Sadlers Risk, Baby Mix and Grumeti are all being touted as likely winners but punters should monitor the market very closely before making any bets.
2.05 County Hurdle
A very competitive handicap that has been won for the last two years by horses trained by Willie Mullins. However Paul Nicholls who has saddled three winners in the last ten years has a strong hand again this time around with three runners headed by the much fancied Ted Spread.
2.40 Albert Bartlett Novice Hurdle
Likely favourite for this is Boston Bob also trained by Willie Mullins a horse that is said to have the potential of being a truly great future champion. It was won in 2011 by Bobs Worth who was the winner of this week’s RSA Chase at the Festival. Mount Benbulben from the Gordon Elliott stable is another entry with a big reputation and should go off as the second favourite.
3.20 Cheltenham Gold Cup
The battle that everyone in racing has been waiting for. The Kauto Star v Long Run head to head has been the main headline talking point all week at the Festival with opinion divided on which of the two will prevail. Four past encounters and two wins each, the backdrop could not be better but it should not be forgotten that there are some very useful rivals up against them making far from a two horse race.
4.00 Foxhunter Chase Challenge Cup
Always a very open race which often throws up a long odds winner, such as 33/1 shots Zemsky last year and Amicelli in 2008. Amongst the favourites will be Cloudy Lane trained by Donald McCain who should be well suited to these conditions, despite being 12 years old.
4.40 Martin Pipe Conditional Jockey’s Handicap Hurdle
There will be no trainer more eager to win this race than Martin Pipe’s son David who saddles the favourite Street Entertainer as well as 16/1 shot I’msingingtheblues. Also being backed is Bourne from the Donald McCain stable and Toner D’oudairies trained by Gordon Elliott.
5.15 Grand Annual Chase Challenge Cup
This is a hugely entertaining and competitive finale to the Festival, raced over 2m1f usually at breakneck speed. It is always a big betting race which gives punters a final chance to make amends or crown the week with a final winner. The favourite to win this year is Toubab from the Paul Nicholls Ditcheat stable.