The County Hurdle has been a nightmare for punters with no favourite winning since 2004. The field can be narrowed down when taking into account that 12 of the last 13 winners were rated between 128-139 and 15 of the last 16 winners were novices or second-season horses.
Cheltenham Gold Cup day four tips and best bets by Marlborough
1.30pm – Triumph Hurdle
There not appear to be much depth to this race and SIR EREC, who had smart Flat form before switching to hurdles, can maintain his unbeaten record. He is not particularly flashy but, as one would expect from his early career, highly professional. He certainly will not be beaten for stamina. Quel Destin, a course winner, has done everything asked of him and has only been beaten once in six outings but his form is solid rather than spectacular. Almost 50 per cent of Nicky Henderson’s 16 runners in the past 10 years have made the drame and three have won so Adjali and Pentland Hills have to be respected, particularly Pentland Hills, who made a bright start at Plumpton.
- Marlborough’s tip – Sir Erec
- Marcus Armytage’s tip – Sir Erec
- Ross Clarke’s tip – Sir Erec
- Charlie Brooks’ tip – Sir Erec
2.10pm – County Handicap Hurdle
A field of 26 and barely one that can be confidently dismissed. I am trusting that the class of Willie Mullins’ MR ADJUDICATOR, a winner and twice runner-up in three Grade Ones last season can carry him through. Encouragingly, he has form in a big field, which has been a positive pointer in previous years. Ruby Walsh has chosen Whisky Sour from three Mullins runners but he has three pounds more than when third behind Mohaayed a year ago and not improved since. Western Ryder likes it around here but has nothing in hand from this mark. Sternrubin, High Expectations and Storm Rising were all on the shortlist.
- Marlborough’s tip – Mr Adjudicator
- Marcus Armytage’s tip – Mr Adjudicator
- Ross Clarke’s tip – Capitaine
- Charlie Brooks’ tip – High Expectations
2.50pm – Albert Bartlett Novices Hurdle
This poses a severe test for novices and has proved a strong guide to future staying stars. CAP YORK has already won over three miles, landing a strongly-run handicap at Punchestown. This is clearly a step up in grade but for such an inexperienced horse – he had only run three times prior to that – to comfortably account for seasoned performers was commendable and he has boundless potential. Lisnagar Oscar improved markedly for a step up to this trip at Haydock and is another heading in the right direction. Rhinestone has displayed a smart level of form already but may have even more to offer at this distance.
- Marlborough’s tip – Cap York
- Marcus Armytage’s tip – Birchdale
- Ross Clarke’s tip – Lisnagar Oscar
- Charlie Brooks’ tip – Rhinestone