Cheltenham 2014’s Morning Line: everything you need to enjoy day four at Cheltenham — and pick a winner

It’s nearly time to pack our bags and head home for another year but before that, we’ve still got seven cracking races to enjoy on Friday’s card.

Briar Hill ridden by Ruby Walsh comes home to win Briar Hill romped home to win the Champion Bumper at 25/1 last year. He's a much, much smaller price today though. Dan Sheridan / INPHO Dan Sheridan / INPHO / INPHO

Three big talking points

1. Cup runneth over: A sell-out crowd of 67,500 is expected in Cheltenham this afternoon and while they won’t all be backing Bobs Worth, there won’t be a inch of space in the stands when he sets off to defend his Gold Cup (3.20pm).

There are many, many reasons to favour him — not least the fact that he’s five from five around this track including three Festival wins — but the most obvious danger comes from the Paul Nicholls-trained Silviniaco Conti, who fell three from home in this race last year.

Last Instalment is billed as the best of the Irish runners but he’ll need a Trojan effort on ground that’s less than favourable, if he even runs, so maybe Gigginstown teammate First Lieutenant is the one to shortlist instead.

2. Will Briar Hill be a banker or bust? Anyone who attended a Cheltenham preview night — or knows anyone who knows anyone who attended a Cheltenham preview night — will know how sweet the Mullins yard are on Briar Hill.

Patrick Mullins openly declared the 2013 bumper winner the best of their novice hurdlers and, after seeing how impressive Vautour and Faugheen were earlier this week, that is very high praise indeed.

It’s no surprise that he’s been hammered in the betting for the Albert Bartlett Novices Hurdle (2.40pm) — in from 4/1 at the start of last week to 13/8 at the time of writing — and plenty of punters will be using him as their get out of jail card.

David Pipe’s Kings Palace is the obvious pick of Britain’s staying novices in a race that should be there for the taking.

3. Top jocks: The Prestbury Cup may be a foregone conclusion — England have an unassailable 14-6 lead after the first three days — but the jockeys’ championship couldn’t be closer. Ruby Walsh, Barry Geraghty and Tom Scudamore all have three wins apiece heading into the final day.

The trainers’ race is every bit as close with Willie Mullins, David Pipe and Jonjo O’Neill all poised on a three apiece as well.

Nap of the Day

We’ve seen new winners crowned in each of the championship races so far this week but now it’s time for a familiar face to take the crown. Back Bobs Worth at 7/4 to win the Gold Cup (3.20pm) again.

An each-way fancy

Tiger Roll — 8/1 at the time of writing — has very strong claims in a Triumph Hurdle (1.30pm) blown wide open by the withdrawal of Le Rocher and Activial.


It’s not a great day for piecing together an accumulator but if you fancy Briar Hill and Bob’s Worth to justify their banker status, a punt on Tammys Hill in the Foxhunters Chase will take your treble to around 55/1.

The Winner’s Enclosure: More Of That delivers Power punch for the bookies

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