Cheltenham Day 4: De Bromhead gunning for third consecutive Gold Cup crown

It’s Gold Cup Day at Cheltenham, as local trainer Henry De Bromhead bids to capture a third consecutive crown via either of his historic winning duo, A Plus Tard and Minella Indo. 

The Knockeen handler has had a tremendous week to date, with only Willie Mullins training more winners so far at this week’s Festival - with Honeysuckle, Maskada and Envoi Allen all scoring to date for the Butlerstown maestro. 

De Bromhead has runners in most of Friday’s races, while there is another local hopeful in the Foxhunter’s Chase - a prolific winner for Declan Queally, Rocky’s Howya. 

Here’s how Day 4 plays out: 


Triumph Hurdle (13:30): The champion race for juveniles is once again dominated by Willie Mullins’ representatives, with the market led by stablemates Blood Destiny, Lossiemouth and Gala Marceau. 

Gala Marceau landed Grade 1 honours at the Dublin Racing Festival after Lossiemouth was blocked in, but many believe you would be foolish not to forgive the Rich Ricci-owned filly, who is likely to go off favourite. 


Blood Destiny will be ridden by Patrick Mullins, having been a comfortable winner of his two starts to date for Closutton at Cork and Fairyhouse. 

There is local representation in the form of the De Bromhead-trained Ascending, who finished fourth in the race won by Gala Marceau at Leopardstown. 

Dungarvan jockey Niall Houlihan rides Jupiter Du Gite for Gary Moore.

The brother of Clarence House winner Editeur Du Gite, he was ridden by Houlihan when a comprehensive 66/1 winner on his stable debut at Newbury, but he disappointed last time out when last bar one in the Grade 2 Triumph Hurdle trial at Cheltenham in January. 

County Hurdle (14:10): Mullins representatives are again prominent in the County Hurdle, won by State Man last year - with Hunters Yarn and seven-time Grade One winner Sharjah in with big chances for the leading trainer. 

Emmet Mullins and JP McManus are represented by Filey Bay, who boasted wins at Wincanton and Doncaster before finishing an eye-catching second to Aucunrisque in the Betfair Hurdle. Aucunrisque also runs, while Harry Skelton’s Pembroke and Harry Fry’s Gin Coco hold high hopes for the British. 

Henry de Bromhead has one runner in the race, Ballyadam, second in the 2021 Supreme Novices’ Hurdle, before finishing fifth in this race last year. 

Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle (14:50): Knockeen are double-handed in the Albert Bartlett over three miles, and hold two potential stars of the future in Hiddenvalley Lake and Monty’s Star. 

The duo battled it out for a 1-2 in a Grade 3 Novice Hurdle at Clonmel last month, but Hiddenvalley Lake, owned by Robcour, has long been highly thought of, winning convincingly in a Grade 3 at Cork in December as well as scoring on debut at Naas. 

Rachael Blackmore rides Hiddenvalley Lake while Sean Flanagan partners Monty’s Star, but the Knockeen duo face some stiff competition, particularly in the form of the favourite - McManus and Emmet Mullins again represented by the talented and versatile Corbetts Cross. 

Three Card Brag holds a live chance for Gordon Elliott, while Embassy Gardens, Seabank Bistro and Shanbally Kid are among the Willie Mullins’ runners, with Wexford trainer Paul Nolan also sending out promising Sandor Clegane. 

Cheltenham Gold Cup (15:30): The big race of the week sees the market headed, as it has been for most of the year, by the Willie Mullins-trained Galopin Des Champs. 

The Martin Pipe winner in 2021, Galopin Des Champs has been a revelation over fences, winning the John Durkan and Irish Gold Cup with ease so far this year. 

He has never ran over the Gold Cup trip, but is as short as 11/8 to break the De Bromhead hold on jumps racing’s most coveted prize. 

It is a star-studded field of thirteen, and after the success of Envoi Allen last year, reigning champion A Plus Tard has been slashed in to 4/1 for De Bromhead. He won the race in stunning fashion last year, but has had his injury woes this campaign and faces an uphill task to replicate his best form. 

Paul Nicholls’ Bravemansgame is the strongest UK runner in the market, having jumped like a dream when capturing the King George Chase at Kempton on St. Stephen’s Day. Grand National winner Noble Yeats is seeking to create history for Emmet Mullins, while last year’s National Hunt Chase winner Stattler is the Willie Mullins second-string. 

Gordon Elliott runs Savills Chase winner Conflated who will be partnered by Davy Russell, while Minella Indo, last year’s runner up and the 2021 champion for Knockeen, will have his third different rider in three years - courtesy of Mark Walsh. 

He was a game winner of the Savills Chase at Tramore on New Years Day, a race twice won by Al Boum Photo en route to his victories in the Gold Cup in 2019 and 2020. 

Incidentally, this is the first time Minella Indo will ever come into the race off the back of a  victory. Ground will be a concern for Shark Hanlon’s €800 hero Hewick, while Ahoy Senor, Protektorat, Sounds Russian, Royale Pagaille and Eldorado Allen complete the field. 

Foxhunters Chase (16:10): 24 runners go to post in the Hunters Chase with two local representatives. 

The field is headed by long-time favourite Vaucelet for Fermanagh man David Christie. He has long been touted for this race, but this will be his first ever run at Cheltenham. 

Christie will be hoping to get the better of Billaway, who stunningly headed his horse Winged Leader at the line last year. Famous Clermont is also a big threat for Chris Barber, having found the winning post on his last four starts. 

Chris’s Dream is the Knockeen representative in this race, with Maxine O’Sullivan taking the ride. A three-time Graded winner, he has won his last two point to point starts at Moig South and Carrigarostig by a combined 25 lengths. 

Chris O’Donovan will ride Declan Queally’s Rocky’s Howya, who has been a prolific victor of his last five starts, the last of which was a 45-length romp ahead of Chatham Street Lad. 

Emmet Mullins has a ‘potential future Graded horse’ in six-year-old It’s On The Line who is the mount of Derek O’Connor, while one time great The Storyteller will bid to roll back the years for Gordon Elliott, having previously captured the Brown Advisory and various Grade Ones in his heyday. 

Mares’ Chase (16:50): Henry De Bromhead’s Robcour-owned runners are out in force, with Magic Daze lining up as an 8/1 shot in the Mares’ Chase. 

She has been in fine form of late, winning two of her last four starts, the last being a Listed Mares’ Chase at Naas in February. 

Magic Daze faces tough opposition on this occasion, chiefly in the form of Allegorie De Vassy, yet to taste defeat in four starts for Willie Mullins. Colm Murphy will also be hoping for a return to the big time via Impervious, who performs on soft ground, winning Graded races at Cork and Punchestown over Christmas. 

Past winner Elimay is a 25/1 shot, while Gavin Cromwell is represented by Jeremy’s Flame, and Riviere D’etel holds an each-way claim for Gordon Elliott. 

Martin Pipe (17:30): The closing race of the Festival is the Martin Pipe Conditional Hurdle, where Mullins and Elliott again vie for favouritism via Spanish Harlem and Cool Survivor. 

Iroko, Might I and Irish Hill are among the British contenders, while last year’s winning trainer Joseph O’Brien has no runner in this year’s equivalent. 

Henry De Bromhead teams up with Tallow jockey Mikey O’Connor who rides Spirit of Legend, winner of a Navan hurdle at this trip in November. 

Niall Houlihan also has another ride for Gary Moore in the form of Fifty Ball. He has been a three time winner in the past, but has struggled this season and is deemed an 80/1 shot having finished last when last seen in an Ascot Handicap in February. 

Local runners and riders - Friday March 17th: 

1:30 - Ascending (Henry de Bromhead)

Jupiter Du Gite (Niall Houlihan) 

2:10 - Ballyadam (Henry de Bromhead)

2:50 - Hiddenvalley Lake (Henry de Bromhead)

Monty’s Star (Henry de Bromhead)

3:30 - A Plus Tard (Henry de Bromhead)

Minella Indo (Henry de Bromhead)

4:10 - Rocky’s Howya (Declan Queally)

Chris’s Dream (Henry De Bromhead)

4:50 - Magic Daze (Henry De Bromhead)

5:30 - Spirit Of Legend (Henry De Bromhead & Mikey O’Connor)

Fifty Ball (Niall Houlihan)