Tanya Stevenson
Tanya Stevenson's Racing UK Blog
Friday 14th March 2014
Racing UK
Lion Can Be King of Cheltenham on Day Four

We hit the crossbar big time on Thursday and it is very much a case of what might have been for most of our selections. 

After virtually losing my voice when cheering home Sam Twiston-Davies on Pineau De Re, I had to control myself as there were still a couple of hours to go on air.

Luckily I had a packet of Halls in my pocket and a bottle of water to keep me from losing my voice. 

In the Ryanair Chase, Hidden Cyclone ran a blinder and I actually managed to regain some composure to wish him home – no shouting and screaming, this time.

There was the sense of inevitability that he was always going to play second fiddle to Dynaste, but connections can take great credit with how Hidden Cyclone has performed throughout this season.

There was a lot of money being circulated in the betting ring and on the exchanges, much more so than Tuesday and Wednesday.

Bookmakers had some light relief when the well supported Felix Yonger got beat in the JLT Novices’ Chase.

But then a body blow to the layers, in one of the most competitive handicaps of the year, the Pertemps. In a race that has gone to a horse priced up at double figures throughout the past decade, Fingal Bay showed guts and determination to carry top weight around Prestbury Park and jockey Richard Johnson did well to prevail in his second tight photo of the week.

The Ladbrokes World Hurdle was billed to be a match between Annie Power and Big Buck’s. Punters ploughed into Annie Power sending her off the 11-8 favourite and some layers may have had to nip off early as their liabilities were so large.

But it proved an important lesson not to disregard the remainder of the field, as both headline acts were outshone by a supposed understudy in More Of That, who continued his unbeaten.

Cries of ‘God was a bookmaker’ came from one person in particular who shall remain nameless, but for at least the last few strides of the 2014 World Hurdle, I would have had to agree.

To try and recoup losses punters got stuck into Colour Squadron, and after his defeat, the backers waved the white flag of surrender for the day.

The biggest praise and plaudits of Thursday belong to Rishi Persad in the St Patrick's Derby, for the feat of staying on Twelve Strings after the saddle slipped four furlongs out. Phenomenal effort, Rishi.

Although I haven’t tipped him up on the blog, I’m going for Bobs Worth in the Gold Cup, and as a little bit of speculative interest, I’ve backed Knockara Beau on the exchanges place only, as well as Teaforthree.  Ludicrous, yet interesting if they were to sneak into fourth position in The Gold Cup.

My biggest wager of the day comes courtesy of Vieux Lion Rouge in the Martin Pipe Handicap Hurdle. I have been keeping a close eye on this horse for a very long time and he has only tasted defeat once in his career so far. The form of his stable couldn’t be any better and my only concern would be the ground for him.

Alavain ran a little under the radar in the Betfair Hurdle last time out. He was well backed on the day and is well worth supporting in the County Hurdle. It is worth getting out the race replay for his Betfair Hurdle run as it was very eye-catching.

At much bigger odds, Prince Siegfried enters the Albert Bartlett with a little bit to prove following his deplorable run in the rescheduled Tolworth Hurdle at Kempton. It is worth noting that the eight-year-old would have been second to Irving before falling at the last at Ascot in December and could out-run his odds of 100-1.

Coral 2-for-1 Offer:
Bobs Worth or Silviniaco Conti at 3/1 to win the Gold Cup

Tanya's Friday Cheltenham tips:

2.05 Cheltenham: Alaivan at 12-1 with Ladbrokes

2.40 Cheltenham: Prince Siegfried

4.40 Cheltenham: Vieux Lion Rouge

Tanya's Pointers:


Nicky Henderson has won the race five times

Barry Geraghty is attempting to become the most successful jockey by winning the race for a fifth time on

Only eight favourites have won in 48 runnings

Just seven Irish-trained winners since 1965

Five of the last eleven Adonis winners have come on to win

Seventeen of the last 20 (or 8 of last 10) winners won last time out

Twenty of the last 23 winners had run at least three times over hurdles

Fourteen of the last 18 winners were in the first four in the betting (8 of the last 10)


The winner has been Irish-trained six of the last seven years

Only two of the last ten winners were aged older than 6

Eight of the last ten started 10-1 or bigger

Ruby has won four County Hurdles

Paul Nicholls has won three County Hurdles

Since 2002 four winners have been grey, Thousand Stars, American Trilogy, Sporazene and Rooster Booster.

Thirty-three of the last 40 winners started no bigger than 16-1

Eighteen of the last 20 winners had run at least four times in the season

Eighteen of the last 24 winners finished placed at worst last time out

Eight of the last 10 winners carried 10-13 or less

Fiften of the last 18 winners had run in the previous five weeks

The biggest priced winner was Silver Jaro at 50-1


Eight of the nine had finished in the first two last time out

Eight of the nine winners were priced in single figures

Jonjo O’Neill is two from two in the race

The last eight winners were aged six or seven

Four of the nine favourites have won

Willie Mullins 12 runners have all been beaten

Paul Nicholls' eight runners have all been beaten

Nigel Twiston-Davies 8 runners have all been beaten

Seven of the nine winners had run at Cheltenham earlier in the season


Eleven of the last 14 winners had been previously placed at the Festival

Sixteen of the last 17 winners were aged between 7 and 9

Six of the last ten favourites have won

The last 10 winners were in the first three in the betting

Eight of the last ten winners won last time out

Horses aged ten or over are 0 from 45 in the last ten years

Bobs Worth is five from five at Cheltenham

Barry Geraghty has never finished out the first three in ten rides on Bobs Worth

Thirteen of the last 14 winners had run in either the King George or Lexus Chase

Eleven horses priced 33-1 or bigger have been placed since 1997

In the last 30 years six horses have won the King George and Gold Cup in the same season, Burrough Hill Lad 84, Desert Orchid 89, See More Business 99, Best Mate 2002, Kicking King 2005 and Kauto Star did it twice in 2007 & 2009

Kauto Star, Best Mate, L’Escargot, Arkle, Cottage Rake, Golden Miller and Easter Hero have all won the Gold Cup more than once

Bobs Worth is attempting to win his fourth race at the Cheltenham Festival

Knockara Beau will be running at his six Cheltenham Festival

All of Willie Mullins ten runners have been beaten, he has had three seconds and a third


Eighteen of the 20 winners were aged ten or younger

Eight of the last ten have been aged nine or younger

Fifteen of the last 16 had previously won under rules

Eight of the last ten finished in the first two last time out

Eight of the last nine had won at least twice in the current campaign