21.8 C
Friday, May 29, 2020

The Superstars Set To Clash

Jon Vine offers tips for this week’s Cheltenham Festival


The horse racing world was plunged into a wave of disappointment when Colin Tizzard confirmed Thistlecrack had suffered a minor tendon tear and would be forced to miss the rest of the season. The Gold Cup favourite had been wowing fans throughout his first season as a chaser, attacking the fences with the great style, panache and bravado. His win in the King George VI Chase was one of the stand-out performances of the season and it’s a real shame we won’t watch the imperious nine-year-old strut his stuff on the Gold Cup stage.


However, Thistlecrack’s absence leaves a golden spotlight at the Cheltenham Festival just waiting to be filled. The Gold Cup field may have lost its favourite, but there will still be a large battalion of potential champions approaching the starting line on Friday 17th March, all capable of landing the most prestigious prize in all of horse racing.


Tizzard, however, remains the trainer of the top two horses in the Gold Cup. Native River has recorded three superb victories this season, including the much sought-after Hennessy Gold Cup and Welsh National handicap prizes, when carrying an uncomfortably large weight. Cue Card looked back to his very best when cruising to the Ascot Chase title on his latest appearance. Question marks were raised about the eleven-year-old capability of performing at the highest level – after high-profile defeats in the Charlie Hall and the King George VI Chase at Kempton – but Racingtips.com believes he is still a wily challenger to be feared with his win at Ascot, combined with the successful defence of his Betfair Chase crown earlier in the campaign.


Don Cossack claimed Gold Cup glory for Gordon Elliott last spring before he was sent blissfully into retirement. The Irish will be desperate to keep the Gold Cup on the Emerald Isle for another year and they will be sending a dangerous army of Irish raiders to Cheltenham in search of more Gold Cup glory.


Lexus Chase champion Outlander, along with Empire Of Dirt and Don Poli will fly the Gigginstown flag in the Gold Cup, whilst trying to help Gordon Elliott return to the winners enclosure for the second successive year. Willie Mullins’ Djakadam will be having his third crack at the Gold Cup after finishing second last year and runner-up to Coneygree in 2015.


Sizing John has made a rapid rise from Douvan’s bridesmaid to Irish Gold Cup winner and Cheltenham contender. Champagne West’s stylish win in the lucrative Thyestes Handicap at Gowran Park means he’s a tricky travelling contender who has to be respected.


Bristol De Mai, Tea For Two and Smad Place will garner plenty of support from the crowd, who will be in a frenzied mood as the Gold Cup competitors hit the track on the final day of the Festival – all looking to win their connections a share of mammoth prize and etch their names into horse racing’s history books.


For more news and tips on the 2017 Cheltenham Festival, click here.


The Cheltenham Festival runs from 14th to 17th March 2017 at Cheltenham Racecourse, Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, GL50 4SH.


Picture credit: Flickr @Carine06.



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Most Popular

An Eaton Mess

80 Eaton Square apartment for sale for £22.5 million in spite of needing complete renovation; it is listed at a price 25% cheaper than it was five years earlier through Chestertons.

Desmond Dropped

Ex-Daily Express owner Richard Desmond’s plans for a 1,500 apartment complex kicked out as Tory housing minister Robert Jenrick MP is shown to have “unlawfully approved” the proposed scheme.

Moron of the Moment – Darren Grimes

In threatening respected writer Peter Jukes with legal action, Darren Grimes yet again shows himself as nothing but a petulant pillock.

Mixed Up McGee

Dippy Debbie McGee yet again confirms her status as the ultimate airhead in boasting about her connections to ‘Randy Andy’ and is met with a denial from a royal source.

Could Mark Alexander be Innocent?

With humanitarian Terry Waite questioning the safety of the conviction of Mark Alexander for murdering his conman father Samuel, is it time that this curious case was reviewed?

Distraction Dom

Matthew Steeples suggests devious Dominic Cummings might actually be the best asset bungling Boris Johnson has got left; the king of distraction has made Jennifer Arcuri go away.

A Box Office Balls-up

Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea council’s decision to approve replacement for Kensington Odeon with a 63% smaller cinema is deservedly condemned as a “box office balls-up.”

A Magnum Muckup

Unilever ludicrously forced to “urgently” recall Magnum ice cream because it contains MILK. Health and safety busybodies at their finest.

Hero of the Hour – Adrian Chiles

BBC presenter Adrian Chiles’s delight in the simple pleasures of a pint in a park during lockdown reflects how so many feel.

Moron of the Moment – Larysa Switlyk

“Bitch of the first order” Larysa Switlyk takes to Instagram during the coronavirus lockdown to brag about her latest massacres; this moronic monster previously paid to shoot sheep in England.

Roy Clark’s Roller

‘I Never Picked Cotton’ singer Roy Clark’s Rolls-Royce heads to auction complete with suicide doors and emblazoned with his initials in gold leaf.

Lockdown Lunacy

Aleks Walker examines what famous folk have been doing at home during the coronavirus lockdown and identifies some quite bizarre examples.

Smiling Churchill and Scowling Edward

Rare photograph of Winston Churchill dining with Edward VIII to be sold as part of a sale on the eve of the 80th anniversary of him becoming Prime Minister. In a reversal of roles, it is the royal (nicknamed ‘Our Smiling Prince’) who is scowling whilst the future Prime Minister (nicknamed ‘Our Scowling PM’) smiles.

More Matters Marmalade – Part V

More Matters Marmalade – Part V – Guardian readers on marmalade – Letter penning ‘Guardian’ readers return to their favourite subject – marmalade. This time marmalade and tights.

Heroine of the Hour – Anne Diamond

Heroine of the Hour – Anne Diamond on Duchess of Sussex book – Anne Diamond is right to call out the Duchess of Sussex’s mint-making collaboration with Omid Scobie and Carolyn Durand’s ‘Finding Freedom’ as annoying, daft and delusional.

Beauty’s in the Eye of the Bargain Basement Bugatti

Replica “homage to Jean Bugatti’s Type 57S Atlantic coupé” to be auctioned for a sum 99.9% lower than the most famous of the four originals is said to be worth. £124,000 to £165,000 for the 2016 ‘Assembled Vehicle’ 1939 Delahaye USA Pacific by Terry Cook.

Weather Now

clear sky
21.8 ° C
22.8 °
20.6 °
33 %
0 %
21 °
22 °
22 °
21 °
21 °