Barry Geraghty’s William Hill blog: Get ready to give it up for Galopin

Barry Geraghty’s William Hill blog: Get ready to give it up for Galopin

William Hill ambassador Barry Geraghty looks over all seven races on Gold Cup Day at Cheltenham and puts up his best bets.

Cheltenham, Friday

1:30pm – Triumph Hurdle

With Sir Gino being withdrawn, this now looks a very open and competitive race. The horse I like is SALVATOR MUNDI, who was second behind Sir Gino on his only run in France, and makes his debut here for the Willie Mullins team. It was a good performance on debut in Auteuil with potential to build on that, and there is a very strong word for him. The each way value could be with Bunting who wasn’t beaten far in his hurdle at Leopardstown and could be one with an outside chance. 

2:10pm – County Hurdle

Another wide-open competitive handicap, where the one I like is ZENTA. She was third in last year’s Triumph Hurdle, and went on to win at the Aintree Festival after that. In her first run this season, she was tried over fences but reverted back to hurdles at Leopardstown where she led two out – which was probably a bit too soon – and got beat. She is a filly who does well in the spring, and I expect her to go well here. 

2:50pm – Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle

This is always a very difficult race and takes a really good staying novice to win. For me, READIN TOMMY WRONG is the one to beat. Ile Atlantique ran a decent race in the Gallaghers behind Ballyburn, which was a bit of a boost in form for Readin Tommy Wrong after he got the better of that horse at Naas last time. I’m very sweet on this fella. There is also possible value in Captain Teague, who will really enjoy the trip. 

3:30pm – Cheltenham Gold Cup

For me the Gold Cup is all about GALOPIN DES CHAMPS. He put in a brilliant performance at Leopardstown over Christmas as well as last time out in the Dublin Racing Festival where he had to make his own running. I don’t think he jumped as well as he can there and Fastorslow got close to him. This should be run at a good gallop and he should be able to take a lead, which is going to really suit him. He’s the class act in the race and now as an eight-year-old he should be reaching his peak. In terms of his main dangers, Fastorslow has a chance as does Gerri Colombe, but I think Bravemansgamecould chase him home again. I think he would have won the King George if he was a fresh horse and didn’t go to Haydock the time before, and had he won at Kempton then he’d probably be around 5/1 second favourite here. He looks a value each way bet with that in mind. 

4:10pm – St. James’s Place Open Hunters’ Chase

This looks like a match between FERNS LOCK and Its On The Line. There was only half a length between these two at Down Royal over Christmas, with Its On The Line just getting the better of the argument. It’s a tricky race to weigh up. Its On The Line put in a big performance to just beat Billaway next time out at Naas, but that was a tough race, whereas Ferns Lock had an easier time in winning at Thurles. That freshness might just give Ferns Lock the edge and I’d narrowly side with him here. 

4:50pm – Mares’ Chase

On form, DINOBLUE is head and shoulders above her opposition. Her form is over two miles, though, and she’s stepping up to two and a half over fences for the first time here, so it just depends how soft the ground is going to be. If it is soft, I think it could make it more difficult for her and bring Limerick Lace and Brides Hill closer to her. 

5:30pm – Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle

Lots hold chances in the Festival finale, but two horses that are closely matched on form catch my eye. The first of those is ANSWER TO KAYF, who has been ridden by Johnny Shinnick throughout the season and has done well. He wasn’t beaten far behind Loughglynn in a good novice hurdle in Limerick back in December. WATERFORD WHISPERS is a horse that sneaks in here and looks like one that’s on the up. He seems to be learning as he’s racing and could be a smart sort. The fact Johnny Shinnick has been aboard Answer To Kayf all this season is a big advantage and he’d probably be my main pick.

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14 Mar 2024



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