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Dublin: 14°C Tuesday 20 October 2020

Back-to-back Gold Cups for Native River? 3 tips ahead of Day Four at Cheltenham

In the latest edition of Heed Your Hunch, Thom Malone runs the rule over Friday’s races.

EACH DAY OF the Cheltenham Festival, Heed Your Hunch will be bringing you tips for the first, the last and the feature race at Prestbury Park thanks to Betway.  

Dublin Racing Festival - Day Two - Leopardstown Racecourse Joseph O'Brien, Mark Walsh and Sir Erec at Leopardstown. Source: PA Wire/PA Images

Irish bankers generally arrive earlier in the week. This year though, the Triumph Hurdle will carry so many hopes for the Green Army at Prestbury Park. Sir Erec (Evs) is favourite and will officially be Joseph O’Brien’s first Triumph winner.

Although his dad Aidan has his name on the scoreboard beside Ivanovich Gorbatov, really his son did the work from his Pilltown base, not Ballydoyle.

Sir Erec is a top class flat horse — his closest rivals from Ireland are in the same ownership so won’t oppose him — and the best English challenge won’t run. The son of Camelot will have the Irish punters dining at the round table for the rest of the day.

The festival’s blue riband looks a vintage renewal this year. Native River is aiming to become the first dual winner since Kauto Star and first back-to-back winner since Best Mate.

Those stats show just how difficult it is to back up, it has become rare for the holder to even get a chance to reclaim their crown. It’s a stronger field with more classy horses in attendance than last year, but the best horse often gets beaten in the Gold Cup — it’s a relentless grind over three and a quarter miles.

Richard Johnson onboard Native River celebrates winning Native River and Richard Johnson. Source: James Crombie/INPHO

The Colin Tizzard-owned nine-year-old has never been out of the first three over fences, including his last three visits to Cheltenham. Native River (4/1) will bring the field to a world of pain and won’t stop. Winning will be an outstanding achievement, but he will not be out of the frame.

The closing race of the festival is the Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle. Gordon Elliot has won the last two renewals of this race. He was an assistant to Martin Pipe in his youth and clearly has an affinity for the race. Dallas des Pictons (5/1) looks to be his main hope and is the type of horse who excels in this one.

Get your money back as a free bet if your horse loses in the first or the last race over each day of the Cheltenham Festival with Betway’s Money Back Special. You can also win a prize of £25k each day of Cheltenham on Betway’s Insider Blog with 4 To Win, a free-to-play prediction game. Offer as above. 18+, always gamble responsibly. For more, see 


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