Fly high with Anibale at a massive 25/1
Last year’s third looks a bit of value in wide-open Magners Gold Cup for trainer Martin
The final day of the Cheltenham Festival is upon us and it promises to be something special, with Native River hoping to retain his Gold Cup crown, with a host of contenders in opposition lining up to shoot the champion down.
It promises to be a fascinating renewal and could go any way, with the last year's 1-2-3 lining up, as well as pretender to the throne Presenting Percy and King George hero Clan Des Obeaux.
Willie Mullins also fires four darts at it as he bids for a first Blue Riband, while Thistlecrack's connections will also be hoping for a big run.
There could be any of up to 10 results for this afternoon's big one but it's hard to get away from the size of the price of Tony Martin's ANIBALE FLY (3.30).
He is largely a forgotten horse despite finishing third last year at a similar price to today's - before going on to then place in the Grand National behind Tiger Roll.
Trainer Tony Martin has mapped out a course to the race this year in an unconventional manner, with Anibale Fly running at Cork in the Hilly Way over two miles and then when really catching the eye last time out at Gowran Park.
He followed Monalee home there over an inadequate trip but showed plenty of pace and was really staying on strongly late on.
It was simply a prep run for today but Martin will have been delighted by it and it is sure to have left him spot on.
He might not be leading at the last and he will find it tough to win but 25/1 is much too big for a horse who jumps and stays, and has the services of the on-form Barry Geraghty in the saddle.
With plenty of bookies offering four places in the each-way market, he looks a fantastic each-way play and, who knows, he could just outstay them all late on.
To kick off the afternoon there can only be one place to start and that's Sir Erec (1.30) in the Triumph Hurdle.
Joseph O'Brien has already saddled one juvenile winner this week when Band Of Outlaws hacked up in the Fred Winter, and he has made no secret of the regard he holds Sir Erec.
This entire colt was placed in an Ascot Group Two on the Flat in October and has created a massive impression with his two hurdles runs, first beating Tiger Tap Tap (who has each-way claims here) and then scorching clear at Leopardstown at the Dublin Racing Festival, doing it from the front and winning by six lengths.
He jumps well, has class and gears and looks bombproof in the Triumph.
The County Hurdle looks a minefield, simply put, but two against the field are MR ADJUDICATOR (2.10) and Eclair De Beaufeu.
Firstly, Mr Adjudicator comes right into the mix off the back of his second behind Champion Hurdle hero Espoir D'Allen at Naas last time out. That was his first run of the season but he was a fine second in the Triumph last year and looks like he's had his mark protected for this since.
Eclair De Beaufeu ran a similarly promising race on his last start when fourth at the Dublin Racing Festival, with the likes of Jezki and Ivanovich Gorbatov just in front of him.
He had won his previous two starts and has actually gained plenty of experience in maidens.
That last run will stand to him and he could still be quite well handicapped off a mark of 136.
The Albert Bartlett has no real standout performer and it could pay to side with the father and sin duo of Philip and Luke Dempsey and their DERRINROSS (2.50).
This lad showed promise in Bumpers (was a neck second to Next Destination) and also had some smart form in maiden hurdles last season without getting his head in front.
That meant he remained a novice for this season and he has taken advantage, big time, in the staying division this year.
First, he beat Sams Profile, who ran a cracker in Wednesday's Ballymore, in a Cork Grade Three before stepping up again to beat the big boys when landing a Limerick Grade Two in December.
The mud was flying that day so the ground will hold no fears and, while he will have to do it the hard way if he is to make all like before, he will try and try and will keep battling on up the hill.
The Foxhunter's isn't one to get too heavily involved in but HAZEL HILL (4.10) is a prolific pointer who absolutely bolted up at Warwick in January.
If he reproduces that he'll be bang there.
The Grand Annual can go the way of Paul Nicholls and MAGIC SAINT (4.50).
This progressive five-year-old was impressive last time at Wincanton and looked to have a bit more up his sleeve even after a four-and-a-half length win.
In second that day was last year's runner-up of this race Gino Trail so there is a nice guide there and Magic Saint should be bang there.
Finally, Dallas Des Pictons (5.30) won a valuable pot at the Dublin Racing Festival on his handicap debut and he can follow up here in the Martin Pipe.
He also has form that ties in with Ballymore hero City Island and could be a step ahead of these with Donagh Meyler in the saddle.