It’s the final day of another roller coaster ride of a Cheltenham Festival and on Gold Cup Friday, we’ve highlighted four really interesting Dark Horses well worth keeping an eye on…
Dark Horse: 1.30 Cheltenham - PIC D’ORHY
This French recruit has a rating of 149 and possesses some very smart form in his native country. He makes his debut for Paul Nicholls here and has to be considered the Dark Horse in the Triumph Hurdle. It could be that this outing will serve as a sighter for Aintree, you’d certainly expect him to improve for this experience. Similarly, it would be no surprise to see Pic D’Orhy run a big race. Harry Cobden has chosen Quel Destin as the form horse, but he has ridden the horse at home and really likes him.
Dark Horse: 2.10 Cheltenham - COUNTISTER
Countister is a gorgeous looking daughter of Smadoun, last seen finishing 5th behind Laurina in the 2018 Mares’ Novices Hurdle, where she ran well but didn’t quite progress from the promise she’d shown earlier on in the season. She remains entirely unexposed and it was interesting to hear Henderson say he’s enjoyed a clean run through in her prep for this task in the County Hurdle. Countister runs off a really workable mark of 133 and has a lovely racing weight of 10st 6lb on her back. Barry Geraghty and the JP McManus operation are in hot form at the Festival this week and this 7yo rates a real dark horse in this very difficult and open contest.
Dark Horse: 2.50 Cheltenham - CAP YORK
Cap York sidestepped a shot at Thursday’s Pertemps and takes his chance in this Grade 1 contest. Noel Meade has been sounding some confident quotes about this horse in recent weeks and on his very tidy success at Punchestown last time out, it is not hard to see why. He jumps well, stays well and seems to be a straightforward here. He is a bit of an outsider here no doubt, but still rates as an interesting dark horse in the Albert Bartlett. Bryan Cooper takes over from Sean Flanagan.
Dark Horse: 3.30 Cheltenham - AL BOUM PHOTO
Bar the elusive Presenting Percy, Al Boum Photo has to be considered the Dark Horse in the Gold Cup. This handsome 7yo chestnut has has only been seen once this season, at Tramore, where he slammed stablemate Total Recall in very taking style. It seems like this horse has been knocking on the door of a Championship performance for some time now, but he is yet to string it all together on the big day; without mentioning the mishap at Punchestown. Paul Townend bids to make amends here on the biggest day of all and this youngster doesn’t have too many miles on the clock like many of these, so the pair have every chance of getting involved.
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