Tom Lee's Cheltenham Festival Tips: Day 4 - Back Cue Card To Claim Gold Cup Glory For Colin Tizzard

A packed to the rafters Cheltenham is quite an experience, and with punters buzzing after three magical and profitable days featuring Douvan, Annie Power, Sprinter Sacre, Vautour and Thitslecrack, Friday looks set to be a fitting crescendo...

Gold Cup day gets off to an electric start with the cream of the British and Irish four-year-olds locking horns in the JCB Triumph Hurdle (1.30pm), and though Zubayr caught the eye when readily annexing Kempton's Adonis Hurdle last month, it's the winner of Ireland's key trial that gets the vote, with Footpad the pick.

He made hay in Leopardstown's Grade 1 Spring Juvenile last month, in the process earning a mark of 150.

He's the selection of Ruby Walsh here from a couple of Willie Mullins possibles, and races in the colours of Simon Munir and Isaac Souede, owners of last year's 1-2 in this race, Peace And Co and Top Notch. 

Mullins already has a staggering seven winners on the board, and Footpad will be a tempting each way price to provide him with number eight. 

Leopardstown Races : News Photo

A sigh of relief was the order of the day when the declarations came through for the County Hurdle (2.10pm),  a happy conclusion to an anxious period after the Philip Hobbs-trained Wait For Me crept in as number 23 of the 26 runners.  

Placed in last year's Champion Bumper, he hasn't yet sparkled over hurdles but could be transformed on quicker ground in a faster run race. 

He'll be a tasty each way price to give Hobbs and his number one rider Richard Johnson their first win of the meeting.

At 2.50pm former Festival winner Neil Mulholland searches for his second victory at the meeting as a trainer, a year on from his breakthrough strike with The Druids Nephew.

He saddles the well-fancied Shantou Village in the Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle at 2.50pm, a strong travelling course winner who is stepping up in trip under Richard Johnson.

Cheltenham Festival - St Patrick's Thursday : News Photo

Drying ground is very much in his favour, plus he was what key market rival Barters Hill does not - Cheltenham form.

The day's highlight looms into view at 3.30pm, with the £575,000 Timico Gold Cup the most valuable prize of the meeting. 

A field of nine will do battle for steeplechasing's blue riband event, with that man Mullins double-handed with Djakadam and Don Poli. 

Both harbour strong chances, though top jock Bryan Cooper had to make an enviable choice between Don Poli and Don Cossack, opting for the latter, perhaps a tip in itself?

Davy Russell, on a high after wins at the meeting on Diamond King and Mall Dini, is the beneficiary of Cooper being unable to be in two places at once, coming in for the highly-prized spare on Don Poli.

However, all of them might be getting a birdseye view of the winner, with trainer Colin Tizzard tipped to complete a famous double by saddling Cue Card to win the Gold Cup, hot on the heels of Thistlecrack bulldozing his way to World Hurdle glory.

Colin Tizzard Stable Visit : News Photo

The trends bores will tell you that 10-year-olds don't win the Gold Cup, but this horse is more than a bit special, going unbeaten in three since a summer operation to sort out a trapped epiglottis.

Since then he's bagged big prizes at Wetherby, Haydock and Kempton, the latest in the King George when he arrived like a master thief to burgle the Boxing Day highlight from Vautour, in the shadows of the post. 

That piece of form was already brilliant, but was elevated further still by Vautour's rampant display in the Ryanair yesterday. 

Back Cue Card to complete an incredible 24 hours for team Tizzard. 

Good luck!


Tom's best bets with Unibet on day four:

1.30 - 5 Footpad (each way)

2.10 - 23 Wait For Me (each way)

2.50 - 16 Shantou Village (win)

3.30 - 2 Cue Card (win)