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Homeracing

Vautour Impresses on Cheltenham Day 3; Final Picks For The Festival's Final Day

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TwinSpires Staff

March 12th, 2015

by CANDICE HARE

Vautour was perhaps the most impressive on day three of the festival, as he backed up his short priced favoritism when he demolished his opposition in the JLT Novices’ Chase. It was a day where frontrunners did well as him, Ryanair Chase winner Uxizandre, and World Hurdle winner Cole Harden virtually made all en route to their victories. The soon retiring A.P. McCoy got his first win of the festival on Uxizandre, whom he gave a peach of a ride. On another sentimental note, 12-year-old veteran The Package won the final race of the day, the Kim Muir Challenge Cup Handicap Chase, finally getting that elusive festival win in what was his sixth appearance at the meeting.

The final day of the Cheltenham festival is here, which means it’s time for the most prestigious race of them all: the Gold Cup Chase. A field of 18 lines up for this year’s Gold Cup and although favorite Silviniaco Conti enters here following another fine season, memories of him laboring up the uphill finish after a similar campaign last season make him tough to take on top at a short price and even more so if the expected rain moves in overnight. With rain in the forecast, we’ll look to longshot Houblon Des Obeaux, who has finished second to the likes of Coneygree, The Young Master, and Many Clouds in his three most recent starts. He’s a massive price overseas, however, and he looks to be one who could make the frame should the race become a true stamina test. We’ll also box him in an exacta with Coneygree, Many Clouds, and A.P. McCoy’s mount Carlingford Lough, all of whom should appreciate softer ground conditions.

Peace And Co is a heavy favorite in the Triumph Hurdle, but he is a quirky sort who struggles to settle and he is a bit of a headcase who requires the usage of ear plugs, so it is possible that the festival crowd and the fanfare of it all could unnerve him a bit. Nicky Henderson’s Top Notch has won all three of his starts since arriving from France including his most recent nine length victory at Haydock. Any bit of rain that hits the course only helps his case. He looks the value in here, so we’ll use him to win.

The festival concludes with the renamed A.P. McCoy Grand Annual Chase Challenge Cup, a Grade Three handicap contested over two miles and 110 yards. J. P. McManus owned runners have a fantastic record in this race and we’ll go with one of his quartet in Eastlake, a relatively consistent sort who has a win and a third from three races at Cheltenham. He was sixth in this race last year. We’ll also play him in an exacta with fellow McManus runner and A.P. McCoy’s final mount Ned Buntline; Next Sensation, last year’s fourth place finisher after he went far too fast early on; and interesting longshot Grumeti, who gets the addition of blinkers for this run.

Recommended Wagers:

Race 1: Top Notch to win

Race 4: Houblon Des Obeaux to win and place & exacta box Houblon Des Obeaux, Coneygree, Many Clouds, and Carlingford Lough

Race 7: Eastlake to win and place & exacta Eastlake, Ned Buntline / Eastlake, Ned Buntline, Next Sensation, Grumeti

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