Jimmy Beadle: Storylines flood from Gold Cup in big finale
The potential storylines are endless for the final day of what looks set to be a very emotional Prestbury Park as the Cheltenham Festival draws to a close on Friday evening.
The Betfred Gold Cup, which is many people’s highlight of the racing calendar, looks set to be a vintage renewal with two former winners back to reclaim their crown among a number of young pretenders and of course the red hot favourite Silviniaco Conti.
The peoples champion Tony McCoy will also take his final ride aboard Ned Buntline in a race that is named in honour of the remarkable man and is sure to be heavily punted by admiring fans dreaming of the fairy-tale farewell and could see the biggest cheer of all.
Paul Nicholls has carried all before him this season and the champion elect hopes to put the icing on the cake as his stable star Silviniaco Conti aims to prove the doubters wrong and finally claim the Cheltenham Gold Cup.
After falling when cruising three fences from home two years ago and then last season inexplicably tiring very quickly on the running after taking it up after the last fence he has to prove that he finally get up the famous Cheltenham hill and win the ultimate prize.
With a King George victory and a Betfair Chase victory to his name this year he has the best form going into the race but with the lingering doubts about his course form I think the red-hot favourite is worth taking on.
One horse who is certain to relish the Cheltenham hill and the atmosphere of the festival is the Jonjo O’Neill trained Holywell.
A winner at the last two Cheltenham Festivals proves his love for the place and with the ground drying out and his stable in scintillating form he seems to have everything in his favour.
A recent comfortable victory up at Kelso highlighted his wellbeing and with doubts over so many of the field he seems a really solid bet at around 10/1.
Coneygree looks very likely to head for the easier option of the RSA Chase, Many Clouds has to prove he is not a mudlark, former winner Bobs Worth has to show a Lazarus-style return to form and most of the others have to prove they are up to the standard of winning a Gold Cup.
Road To Riches and Djakadam are two Irish raiders who could certainly prove to be massive dangers and are probably feared most for two very shrewd trainers in Noel Meade and mastermind Willie Mullins.