WE have just about had it all in the first three days of Cheltenham Festival.
Now it is time for the big one – the Gold Cup.
SunSport tipster Steve Mullen – Templegate to you and me – has been poring over the form for months.
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Here, he reveals which runners he thinks can land the spoils, and bag you a small fortune in the process.
AL BOUM PHOTO (3.05 Cheltenham, nap – bets bet)
He has had his usual smooth prep and has every chance of landing a third Gold Cup in a row. He has been Mr Reliable for a few seasons and Willie Mullins knows exactly how to peak him for today.
He has had his usual spin around Tramore and, while last season’s win wasn’t as impressive as the first one, he got the job done.
He’s a proven stayer who jumps well, will be fine on the ground and we know Cheltenham suits him down to the ground. The public may have not latched on to the nine-year-old but he can do the business.
ZANAHIYR (1.20 Cheltenham, nb – next best)
He was a winner on the Flat last season and has brought all that speed to hurdling where he is unbeaten after three starts over timber.
He kicked off with a simple enough novice win at Ballinrobe before taking a big step up when landing a Fairyhouse Grade 3 by an impressive 14 lengths.
He followed that in good style by taking a Leopardstown Grade 2 without really having to hit top gear. He can progress again and this good ground is fine.
LANGER DAN (4.50 Cheltenham, treble – chuck in for a big win)
He bolted up in Saturday’s Imperial Cup and can strike again under a 5lb penalty. There’s a £50,000 bonus up for grabs and it’s clearly been the plan for a long time with this five-year-old.
After a couple of quiet runs, he was revved up at Sandown and zoomed away from his rivals after travelling really strongly.
This is a better race but he looks well ahead of the handicapper and should have no problems with this step up in distance. He goes on this quicker ground and can grab the bonus cash.
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1.20 Zanahiyr (nb)
Impressive wins on all three starts and can improve again.
1.55 Belfast Banter
Lovely low weight and went close in a strong race last time.
Improving and went close in much stronger contest latest.
3.05 AL BOUM PHOTO (NAP)
Has enough class to land the Gold Cup hat-trick.
Second in this last year and has improved since then.
Yet to taste defeat since going over fences and can strike again.
4.50 Langer Dan (treble)
Won well on Saturday and looks ahead of the handicapper.
Don't forget, there are more races going on around the UK on Friday and Templegate has a pick in those too.
Has gone well here before and big chance on comeback run.
Going strongly until taking late tumble at Southwell latest.
2.20 Zee Man
Won easily on last visit here and a little unlucky last time.
In good form on the Flat and looks on fair handicap mark.
Struggling on heavy and will appreciate this much quicker ground.
Had a welcome break and won convincingly two starts ago.
Hated the mud latest and much better form in these conditions.
1.35 Lead Story
Loads in hand when scoring over course and distance last time.
Convincing here last time and this longer trip not a worry.
Did well to win here latest and big chance from just 2lb higher.
3.20 Crimson King
In form of his life and two easy wins over C&D lately.
3.55 Al Nefud
Well bred and should go close on debut.
Went close on debut despite running very green, more to come.
5.05 Too Shy Shy
Best over this C&D so ignore modest Southwell run latest.
Unlucky on five-timer bid here on Wednesday and can strike again.
5.45 Geography Teacher
Has shown all his best form over this course and distance.
In good form and should be helped by going up to this trip.
6.45 If You Dare
Showed lots of promise when second on debut at Lingfield.
7.15 Travel Lightly
Back to best when winning over course and distance last time.
7.45 Day Trader
Been running well and huge chance if taking to this surface.
Two easy wins heading here and big chance of the hat-trick.
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