Tom Lee’s Cheltenham Festival tips: Day 4 – Opt for this ambitious each way Lucky 15 on Gold Cup day


What difference a day makes!

Unable to buy a winner on the opening two days, a 179/1 four-timer for the Willie Mullins and Ruby Walsh combination silenced the doubters on day three at Cheltenham, with the pair enjoying victories for Yorkhill (JLT), Un De Sceaux (Ryanair), Nichols Canyon (Stayers' Hurdle) and Let's Dance (Mares' Novice Hurdle).

It wasn't all about the big battalions though, as Thursday also belonged to one of the game's most effective target trainers, Galway man Pat Kelly, who struck with 11/1 shot Presenting Percy in the Pertemps Final, making it back-to-back wins in one of the meeting's toughest handicaps for his tiny five-horse operation, following the success of Mall Dini (who finished a gallant fifth in last night's Kim Muir) in 2016.


Looking ahead to Friday's crescendo and the Gold Cup card, who is it that's likely to be making the headlines on the fourth and final day?

My strategy for Unibet punters is to opt for an ambitious each way Lucky 15, comprising the following ammunition:

Kicking off in the County Hurdle at 2.10pm, the Philip Hobbs-trained Wait For Me (17.00) is one who could easily have been wrongly overlooked.

Sent off the 7/1 joint-favourite for this race a year ago when finishing fourth, he's now lower in the ratings and likely to be around three times those odds.

Third in the Champion Bumper in 2015, Wait For Me does seem to be a horse who reserves his best form for Cheltenham in the spring, and sporting a first time tongue strap to help his breathing, he could be a lively player for in-form Hobbs and Champion jockey Richard Johnson, especially with a feather weight to carry from the foot of the handicap.

Next up, don't be too surprised if one of the high quality stables situated locally to Cheltenham racecourse have cause to celebrate, with the Tom George yard preparing The World’s End (9.00) for the Grade 1 Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle (2.50pm). 

George left the crossbar trembling after saddling Singlefarmpayment to be second in Tuesday's Ultima Handicap Chase, and compensation may await.

The World’s End has embarked on a three-race winning spree this season, arriving here after his most recent victory in the Prestige at Haydock Park, the same trial which produced the 2012 winner of this race, Brindisi Breeze. 

Moving on, it's little secret that Irish-trained horses have dominated the first three days of the meeting, and they may well hold sway at 3.30pm, with Sizing John (8.00) the each way suggestion to land the day's feature, the Timico Gold Cup.

Expertly trained in County Kildare by Jessica Harrington, this fast-improving seven-year-old has been mighty impressive the last twice, upped in trip to two and a half miles when netting the Kinloch Brae Chase at Thurles, before zapping any lingering stamina doubts by seeing off a quality field to land the Grade 1 Irish Gold Cup at Leopardstown last month. 

He'll need to be even better here, facing superior opposition and an extra quarter of a mile on a more demanding track, but he's in good hands and can cause an upset, with confidence boosted by a win for the Harrington-trained Supasundae on Wednesday.


The fourth and final leg of the multiple rolls around at 4.50pm with the Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys' Handicap Hurdle, a perennially tricky puzzle which may go the way of Coo Star Sivola (13.00) .

Ridden by an ace pilot in Lizzie Kelly, under whom this smart five-year-old was third in the Fred Winter at last year's Festival, Coo Star Sivola has thrived this season and has won two of his three outings. 

Pleasingly, he seems to go particularly well at Cheltenham, recording form figures in four visits of 2/3/1/6, and like Sizing John comes from a yard who've had some luck here this week, with his trainer, Nick Williams, getting on the scoresheet with 33/1 Flying Tiger late in the day on Wednesday.  

Back those four in an each way Lucky 15 and hope for some luck in-running, it is Cheltenham after all!