We are all set for a sensational final day of the 2018 Cheltenham Festival, and the feature race on Friday will be the Timico Cheltenham Gold Cup, as last year’s RSA Chase hero Might Bite aims to land more festival glory, but the likes of Native River and Our Duke will add more depth to what should be hugely exciting renewal of the meeting’s showpiece.
With reigning champion Sizing John ruled out of the race, we will have another winner on this year’s trophy, and the quirky Might Bite will be aiming to build on his King George VI Chase win, and hand Nicky Henderson his third Championship race win this week following on from Buveur D’Air in the Champion Hurdle and Altior in the Champion Chase.
However, Native River shaped with real promise on his comeback run at Newbury, where he stormed to victory in the Denman Chase, while Jessica Harrington will have former Irish Grand National winner Our Duke as an able deputy for Sizing John, and with Presenting Percy franking his Red Mills Chase form by landing the RSA Chase on Wednesday, then Our Duke is sure to be spearheading the Irish challenge alongside Killultagh Vic, who will aim to hand Willie Mullins his first Gold Cup win.
Friday’s action kicks off with the JCB Triumph Hurdle and Apple’s Shakira will be aiming to cement her place as the best juvenile in training this year at 1:30pm, but he will have a strong Irish contingent to deal with, as the Emerald Isle clan look to pull even further clear in the Prestbury Cup after six winners on Thursday, while at 2:10pm the County Hurdle will be a hugely competitive betting heat for punters to get stuck into, and is one of the feature races of the day.
Prior to the Gold Cup we will see the staying novice hurdlers take centre stage in the Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle and Santini will be a leading contender for the aforementioned Henderson, who will want to warm up for the Gold Cup with a winner, but Chef Des Obeaux and Chris’s Dream will be a leading brace of adversaries bidding for Grade 1 glory at 2:50pm.
We have the amateur riders’ Gold Cup at 4:10pm, as the Foxhunters’ Chase sees Pacha Du Polder try to retain his crown, while the customary finish to the Cheltenham Festival will see the Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle at 4:50pm and the Grand Annual Handicap Chase at 5:30pm round off what has been another memorable four days at the home of National Hunt racing.