By the end of this, the final race of day three, it’ll be hugely interesting to see where the owner, jockey and trainer standings lie.
All we can do is try to help punters along and in what is the “lucky last”, we’ve picked out the below six horses who we feel have the best chance of landing this top amateur riders’ race over the Gold Cup trip.
Paul Nicholls was furious with Cheltenham’s decision to water before Wednesday’s action and it has contributed to ruining a couple of chances for him. He has a squeak here though with his Cat Tiger.
The eight-year-old comes into this in good form. A winner at Ascot over three miles on soft ground, Cat Tiger shouldn’t be wanting for stamina as they hit the rising ground.
Since arriving from France in March last year he has done little but improve so must be considered and was always on the shortlist.
Come On Teddy
Lightly raced types are always interesting at this meeting and Come On Teddy is such a type having only had three outings over fences.
Although he was no match for the likes of L’Homme Presse on his second start, he won on debut over fences before chasing home Omar Maretti at Catterick which is form we like as you’ll see.
He was arguably better than Omar Maretti at Newcastle considering he gave him 8lbs, while they are off level weights today.
There’s a lot to be said in amateur races for the jockey making a much bigger difference than in pro races, so with Sam Waley-Cohen on board Mister Coffey has his chances boosted.
His profile is a fine one. Seven years old, Mister Coffey has had just three chase starts and ten runs under rules in total which tells us there is plenty more to come from him.
He was just OK on debut before finishing second at Kempton, but his run behind L’Homme Presse last time out may have been underestimated.
True, he was beaten 21 lengths there but he beat Pic D’Orhy who came out and won a Grade 2 and is now rated 154, while L’Homme Press of course was tremendous here on Wednesday.
Off a mark of only 137 and with one of the top jocks in this sphere up top, he must have a very fine chance indeed.
After Omar Maretti beat Come On Teddy at Newcastle he went on to score again at Catterick and it’s possible the bookmakers will not make much of that form.
In fact, Alex Hales’ runner has done nothing wrong and if he improves again then he simply must go well here.
Omar Maretti keeps moving up the handicap of course, but he’s not doing so at a rate of knots and there is undoubtedly more in the tank.
School Boy Hours
Money started to come in on Wednesday for School Boy Hours and when that happens for a JP McManus-owned runner at Cheltenham, you simply have to sit up and take notice.
In terms of his form, he comes into the race as one of the key runners. School Boy Hours took down a 28-runner, €180,000 chase at Leopardstown over Christmas and it was a race that featured plenty of horses taking in Cheltenham this week.
There is nothing wrong with that, but he has gone up significantly in the handicap and has to take another step forward.
Gordon Elliott has booked top amateur Jamie Codd for Smoking Gun and that should hopefully mean we see the best of this horse.
Although we could just about argue that he’s getting better and better which is what puts him on this list, he has been doing so mostly while being beaten and he is now 16 races into his chase career.
It would take a great effort for him to win, but with doubts surrounding a number of others he may still be in with a chance.
The form line involving Come On Teddy and Omar Maretti is an interesting one, and while there has been a weight turnaround between the two since Newcastle the latter named has improved which makes picking between the two quite difficult.
In any event, MISTER COFFEY is preferred for a Nicky Henderson team that has seen the real highs and lows of Cheltenham this week.