Paul Ferguson has four selections at Cheltenham on Friday; Sir Erec 13.30, Lisnagar Oscar 14:50, Presenting Percy 15:30 and Dallas Des Pictons 17:30. Compare odds and bet.
Joseph O’Brien enjoyed his first festival success earlier in the week, when Band Of Outlaws impressively won the Fred Winter, providing further evidence of the strength of his four-year-old hurdling team. Top of the pack in the division is SIR EREC (1:30) and despite not having the ideal preparation (stone bruise last week), he is fancied to land the Triumph.
A lightly-raced high-class Flat performer, the Camelot colt appears to relish his hurdling and he ran out an impressive winner of the Spring Juvenile Hurdle last time. He should take plenty of beating under an in-form Mark Walsh.
The Albert Bartlett looks a deep race this year and, although there are a couple of less-exposed types who might be better long-term prospects, Rebecca Curtis’ LISNAGAR OSCAR (2:50) looks a solid each-way option. The impressive Haydock winner boasts plenty of experience and continues to improve with every run.
Plenty has been made of the Gold Cup preparation of PRESENTING PERCY (3:30) but last year’s RSA winner is taken to land the week’s feature, despite having not seen a fence in public since. The form of his Galmoy Hurdle win is a long way removed from a Gold Cup, but it isn’t easy to forget the ease with which he won last year’s RSA and that piece of form wouldn’t leave him with too much to find.
After just five starts over fences, the dual-festival winner remains open to considerable improvement. He won’t have any problem with the ground or trip, and he is fancied to score for Pat Kelly and Davy Russell.
The last race this year is the Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle and DALLAS DES PICTONS (5:30) was the one handicapper whom I backed when the entries were initially released a couple of weeks ago.
A maiden hurdle winner at Punchestown in mid-January, he then won a 3m handicap at the Dublin Racing Festival, but he should have no problem in dropping back in trip and you often need a stayer in this strongly-run race. Whilst a couple of those in behind on that occasion couldn’t boost the form in the Coral Cup on Wednesday, his earlier 3-length second behind City Island now reads particularly well and he could easily be a Graded class performer in a handicap.
1:30 Cheltenham Festival – Sir Erec; 10/11 William Hill
2:50 Cheltenham Festival – Lisnagar Oscar; 13/2 Ladbrokes
3:30 Cheltenham Festival – Presenting Percy; 4/1 Unibet
5:30 Cheltenham Festival – Dallas des Pictons; 7/2 bet365