Cheltenham tips column by Greg Plummer
Surely it can’t get any better today?
I am penning this column before yesterday’s (Thursday) racing, but what we’ve witnessed in the first two days at Prestbury Park is nothing short of astonishing.
The sight of Sprinter Sacre charging up the Cheltenham hill on Wednesday, for me, provided one of those sporting moments which will live long in the memory.
It was, as rival trainer Willie Mullins put it, “a victory for racing” after all of the horse’s problems of the last two years.
It also capped a remarkable training feat by Nicky Henderson who has gone toe-to-toe with Mullins over the opening couple of days.
Alitor’s victory in the Supreme Novices Hurdle, lowering the colours of Min, got Henderson off to the perfect start. But Mullins, as expected, dominated the rest of day one with Annie Power’s victory in the Champion Hurdle capping an eventual three-timer for the Irish trainer.
Today, I expect Don Poli to provide Mullins with the one prize which has eluded him in racing – the Cheltenham Gold Cup. But I believe that the seven-year-old could be pushed all the way by Colin Tizzard’s Cue Card in another battle royale up the Cheltenham hill.
All eyes will be on Olympic cycling champion-come-jockey Victoria Pendleton, whose appearance at Prestbury Park is a victory in itself, on Pacha Du Polder in the Foxhunters.
Whatever the outcome, Pendleton has done the sport and herself proud.
Other horses I like today are Sceau Royal, for Alan King, in the Triumph and Velvet Maker in the Grand Annual, which will conclude the four day spectacular in the West Country.
Locally, Fakenham will show all of the Gold Cup action on a giant screen during its latest meeting today.
For me, Qasser in the Silver Cup is perhaps the best bet of the afternoon at the Norfolk track.