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Keith Melrose
  1. Cheltenham Festival
  2. Horse Racing Tips

Cheltenham Festival betting tips: A Plus Tard backed for Gold Cup repeat

It is Cheltenham Gold Cup day on Friday and Keith Melrose from the Racing Post picks out his best bets on the first four races, including the feature event.

1.30 Cheltenham

Gala Marceau @ 9/2
1pt win

2.10 Cheltenham

Hunters Yarn @ 5/1
1pt each-way (six places)

2.50 Cheltenham

Seabank Bistro @ 25/1
1pt win

3.30 Cheltenham

A Plus Tard @ 7/1
1pt win

More Mullins joy in Triumph

The Triumph Hurdle is another all-Irish affair to all intents and purposes, so the Grade 1 equivalent race at the Dublin Racing Festival is likely to prove indicative.

Lossiemouth had a torrid run through that race and she almost certainly shaped better than winner Gala Marceau on the day, but the odds of the form being upheld are still a bit longer than they ought to be.

Gala Marceau had better form than Lossiemouth in France, she easily won a Listed race that has worked out well.

She arguably has more scope to improve than Lossiemouth, who was reportedly showing plenty before she even made her debut for Willie Mullins.

With another six weeks since the DRF, it is far from a remote possibility that Gala Marceau has Lossiemouth behind her again.

Yarn to continue the Mullins tale

Mullins won the County Hurdle last year with Grade 1-bound State Man, who finished second to Constitution Hill in Tuesday's Champion Hurdle.

Hunters Yarn has a pretty similar profile and is fancied to bring his trainer another County Hurdle success.

He was a smart bumper horse and comes into this race as unexposed as it is possible to be for the County Hurdle after just four runs.

He took a significant step up when winning a Listed race last time, when his jumping was still inconsistent, but he was electric when the race was at its hottest. That bodes well for a big-field handicap like this.

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Dine out on Bistro

There is also a sense of Mullins deja vu in the Albert Bartlett. He won this race 12 months ago with one of his less-fancied sorts and Seabank Bistro could be the one to take the honours this time.

Seabank Bistro was fourth in last year's Champion Bumper, having taken the longest route possible.

He has improved with each run over hurdles, including a meeting with Corbetts Cross in which he emerged as the best horse at the weights, and remains with untapped potential for this staying trip as he is bred to ultimately prove to be a classy staying chaser.

Champion to defend Gold Cup crown

With so much said about Mullins on this card and Galopin Des Champs throughout the season, the wind will be at that horse's back in the Gold Cup.

But I will once again emphasise the task he would face if taking on a back-to-form A Plus Tard.

Of course, since he won last year's Gold Cup by 15 lengths A Plus Tard has been seen only once, and that was a deplorable run in the Betfair Chase.

While that run was poor, it is also skimpy evidence on which to disregard such a champion.

That he is here at all underlines that he is thought fit and Henry de Bromhead has had an excellent week so far. He can cap it off with the biggest win of all.

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