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Cheltenham Day 4 Tips: Kevin Blake’s going Large in the County Hurdle

We’ve reached the final day of the Cheltenham Festival and Kevin Blake is hoping to start the day with a couple of winners…

“Henry De Bromhead’s horses have been acquitting themselves well all week and hopefully this fella will add to that.”

Back Gau Du Large each-way, 7 places @ 34.033/1 14:10 Cheltenham

We spend all season building up to the Cheltenham Festival, then all of a sudden we’re onto the last day of it! At the time of writing before day three kicks off, this column has failed to land a big blow yet, but we hit the frame with a 20/1 poke on day two and hopefully that is a sign of better to come.

New course set to suit Fil Dor

The first race of interest is the JCB Triumph Hurdle (13:30) and while the focus will be on the well-fancied Vauban and Pied Piper, I’ll take my chances with the Gordon Elliott-trained Fil Dor.



Trainer: Gordon Elliott, Ireland
Jockey: Davy Russell
Age: 4
Weight: 11st 0lbs

The son of Doctor Dino looked to be the leading juvenile of the season in the first half of the campaign, winning his first three starts over hurdles in fine style.

He stepped up to Grade 1 level in the Spring Juvenile Hurdle at the Dublin Racing Festival last time and while Vauban lowered his colours, there are reasons to suggest that he’ll be able to reverse that form on the biggest stage.

In the Spring Juvenile Hurdle, the early pace was steady and that very much played to Vauban’s strengths, as he appeals as being a speed horse. He was able to quicken past Fil Dor on that day, but Fil Dor kept galloping and what is likely to be a much truer test of stamina will suit him much better.

The new course at Cheltenham very much suits horses like Fil Dor and while he seems to have a difficult task on his hooves to reverse Leopardstown form with Vauban, I’ll take a chance that he’ll be able to.

Strong pace set to bring out the best in Large

The other race of interest is the McCoy Contractors County Handicap Hurdle (14:10) and the one I like at a big price is the Henry De Bromhead-trained Gua Du Large.



Trainer: Henry de Bromhead, Ireland
Jockey: Rachael Blackmore
Age: 6
Weight: 10st 11lbs
OR: 137

The six-year-old has the right sort of profile for this race being a relatively unexposed sort.

We haven’t seen much of him this season, but the last time we did he won a valuable handicap hurdle at Fairyhouse in November, coming from last to first to grab the verdict close home. The form of that race has worked out quite well in his absence and the British handicapper hasn’t been overly tough on him by giving him a 4lb higher mark than his Irish rating.

A strongly-run race will suit his style and he should get that here. Henry De Bromhead’s horses have been acquitting themselves well all week and hopefully this fella will add to that.

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