Friday's 2023 Cheltenham Festival tips: Best bets for the ITV races

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The big race is today, the Cheltenham Gold Cup, but let's not forget the other four cracking races the ITV cameras are serving up on Friday, March 17, including the Grade 1s Triumph Hurdle and Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle.

First up, we'll give you a quick list of the horses we believe have the best chances for the main five races that are being shown on the telly.

Then, for those of you that like a bigger price, we have a handful of juicy each-way selections to get the mouth watering.

If you want some more detail on why our tipsters have selected these horses we'll thrash out a little bit more info further down the page.

Good luck and please gamble responsibly.

(Please be aware tips might be updated if a horse becomes a non-runner)

Hot tips for day four of the Cheltenham Festival

13:30 JCB Triumph Hurdle - Blood Destiny

14:10 McCoy Contractors County Hurdle - Gin Coco

14:50 Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle - Three Card Brag

15:30 Cheltenham Gold Cup - Galopin Des Champs

16:10 St James' Place Festival Challenge Cup - Vaucelet

Strong each-way selections for day four of Cheltenham

13:30 JCB Triumph Hurdle - Zenta

14:10 McCoy Contractors County Hurdle - Path D'oroux

14:50 Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle - Stay Away Fay

15:30 Cheltenham Gold Cup -  Ahoy Senor

16:10 St James' Place Festival Challenge Cup - Famous Clermont

13:30 JCB Triumph Hurdle - Blood Destiny

The Willie Mullins train should be powering down the tracks from the first race of the final day with seven of his charges going off in the JCB Triumph Hurdle.

Blood Destiny is the pick, despite only having two runs for Mullins - winning a maiden hurdle at Cork in December before storming to an 18-length win at Fairyhouse in January.

Conditions will suit this four-year-old and he is tipped to have a big future.

The threat is likely to come from one of Mullins' other runners Lossiemouth, who was on a three-race winning streak before finishing an unlucky second to stablemate Gala Marceau at the Dublin Racing Festival.

The extra furlong is seen as a plus and she can gain some revenge over her fellow inmate.

Zenta and Hypotenus are worth considering for a place.

14:10 McCoy Contractors County Hurdle - Gin Coco

The eye is drawn to top weight and Willie Mullins-trained Sharjah, who was runner-up in both the 2020 and 2021 Champion Hurdles.

Sharjah has won six Grade Ones and is a strong traveller, and can win in a big field as his Galway Hurdle victory shows, but the selection will be seven-year-old Gin Coco.

He has been kept fresh for this job following his runner-up effort in the Greatwood here in November and also won in October.

Pembroke and Path D'oroux have bold each-way claims.

14:50 Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle - Three Card Brag

Those sniffing about for a big price might do well to consider Paul Nicholls' lightly-raced Stay Away Fay.

Just the two hurdles races for the six-year-old has served up a win and an unlucky second place behind Donald McCain's prolific winner Maximilian back in January. The Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle often throws up a shock result with Very Wood (33/1), Penhill (16/1), Kilbricken Storm (33/1), Minella Indo (50/1) and The Nice Guy (18/1) all winning in the last 10 years, so Stay Away Fay shouldn't be ruled out.

But it's Gordon Elliott's Three Card Brag who will be our main selection after beating Spanish Harlem by 12 lengths at Fairyhouse in January, he looks likely to improve by stepping up in distance.

The six-year-old has had a productive season so far, winning on debut at Galway and then coming home third in a Grade Three novice hurdle at Navan in November He missed out by a neck in the Grade Two Navan Novice Hurdle, a race won by subsequent Supreme Novices' Hurdle fourth Inthepocket.

15:30 Cheltenham Gold Cup - Galopin Des Champs

Mullins can land a third Cheltenham Gold Cup with red-hot market favourite Galopin Des Champs.

The seven-year-old has been to the Festival on two occassions, winning the Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys' Handicap Hurdle in 2021 ahead of Langer Dan, who won the Coral Cup on Wednesday.

But it will be the 2022 visit that punters will want to forget as he stumbled upon landing over the last when 12 lengths clear in the Turners' Novices Chase which allowed Bob Olinger to claim a win he didn't really deserve. It was a rare blip in a winning streak that has landed seven wins in eight races since the Cheltenham win in 2021. This season has confirmed that promise, with wins in the John Durkan and Irish Gold Cup, although he does have to prove his stamina over an extra quarter of a mile.

The big threat comes from Paul Nicholls' Bravemansgame, although he has to answer stamina questions too.

The eight-year-old emerged as a genuine Gold Cup contender when running out a clear-cut winner of the King George at Kempton, and his preparation has been geared around this ever since. Nicholls would love to break his Cheltenham drought with a win in the big one.

Last year's winner A Plus Tard was disappointing in the Betfair Chase back in November and hasn't run since, so won't be giving up the crown without a fight.

Noble Yeats bids to become the first horse since L'Escargot to win a Gold Cup and a Grand National and should not be dismissed, while Minella Indo, Sounds Russian and Ahoy Senor should be considered as each-way punts.

16:10 St James' Place Festival Challenge Cup - Vaucelet

David Christie holds Vaucelet in high regard and he can land him the St. James's Place Festival Challenge Cup Open Hunters' Chase, after he hit the bar with Winged Leader in the same race last year. The eight-year-old won Stratford's Champion Hunters' Chase last season and is unbeaten in his last three outings.

Billaway looks an obvious danger having won this race last year, while also landing second place in the same race in 2021 and 2020, though he's now 11 and will be wearing blinkers for the first time. However, he did win his last race at Naas in February.

Chris's Dream and The Storyteller are joint top-rated in this and have to be respected, while Famous Clermont catches the eye for those looking for each-way chance.

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