Cheltenham Festival 2024: tips, news and Gold Cup buildup on day four – live | Cheltenham Festival 2024

Key events

The Gold Cup is one of the biggest horse races in the world – but when it was first run, it wasn’t even the main event at Cheltenham. Greg Wood takes a look back at 100 years of history:

Good morning, everyone. Here’s the Friday schedule and the latest odds from Oddschecker.

1.30 JCB Triumph Hurdle – odds

2.10 BetMGM County Handicap Hurdle – odds

2.50 Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle – odds

3.30 Boodles Cheltenham Gold Cup Chase – odds

4.10 St. James Place Challenge Cup Open Hunters’ Chase – odds

4.50 Mrs Paddy Power Mares’ Chase – odds

5.30 Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle – odds


Greg Wood

Greg Wood

Good morning from Cheltenham, where the first full house of the week (we think) is pouring into the track – and absolutely legging it, in some cases, to bagsy seats in the bar – ahead of the final day of the Festival meeting, and to mark the 100th birthday of the Cheltenham Gold Cup.

Declining crowds at the Festival have been a theme of the week, and yesterday’s figure was 12 per cent down on last year, which was, in turn, well down on the year before. But there is a definite buzz around the area today, and a sense that there are just a lot more people here already, so it will be a real cause for concern if the attendance figure falls below the official “cap” of 68,500.

It probably helps that the feature race of the week has a bit of something for everyone, including an even-money favourite in Galopin Des Champs, the defending champion, who demands to be either backed or opposed. Willie Mullins’s chaser has looked magnificent at times since his victory here last year, not least when he ran away with a race at Leopardstown’s Christmas meeting, but there has been a sub-par performance or two along the way as well, and Fastorslow, the second-favourite, is 2-1 up in their three meetings so far.

Hewick, the King George winner, has sadly been ruled out, but it is actually possible to make some kind of case for every runner in the field. Two of the biggest outsiders – Monkfish and The Real Whacker – are former winners of the Brown Advisory Novice Chase here over three miles, while two more – Gentlemansgame and Jungle Boogie – are so lightly-raced over fences that they really could be anything, and represent trainers with a fine Gold Cup pedigree.

Among the shorter-priced alternatives to the favourite, Gerri Colombe was touched off in the Brown Advisory last year, while Bravemansgame is a former King George winner and L’Homme Presse – the third former Brown Advisory winner in the field – has looked tailor-made for this race since his Festival success two years ago, when he powered through the line as if he wanted to go around again.

It is a fascinating puzzle and a suitably competitive race for the Gold Cup’s big anniversary, on a card that also includes two more Grade One events for novice hurdlers – the Triumph Hurdle and the Albert Bartlett. And as ever, if you can’t (or would prefer not to) be there, you can follow all the action as the Festival builds to a crescendo here on the Guardian’s live blog.

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