Rachael Blackmore previews her rides on final day of Cheltenham Festival including A Plus Tard in the Gold Cup
LEGENDARY jockey Rachael Blackmore has five rides on the final day of the Cheltenham Festival.
And she’s confident of glory on A Plus Tard in the Gold Cup.
Rachael Blackmore won Thursday’s Ryanair Chase aboard Envoi Allen and now aims for an even bigger prize on the final dayPA
Here the former Champion Hurdle and Gold Cup winner assesses her chances in each race.
1.30 – Ascending
I ride Ascending in the Triumph Hurdle on Friday.
He was a good horse on the flat for Clive Cox, he reached a rating of 82 and he handled soft ground well on the flat.
He hasn’t won in two runs so far for Henry, but he has run well both times.
He was only beaten a half a length by Tekao in a maiden hurdle at Leopardstown over Christmas, and he finished fourth in the Grade 1 Spring Juvenile Hurdle last time.
He has a fair bit to find on Gala Marceau and Lossiemouth on that run, but he didn’t jump very well there.
If he can jump a bit better, he should be capable of running a nice race.
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2.10 – Ballyadam
I’m looking forward to riding Ballyadam too in the County Hurdle again. He ran well in the race last year, he was only beaten a total of six lengths by State Man.
He is 4lb higher now than he was last year, but he goes into the race in good form.
He put up a very good performance last time in finishing third behind Gaelic Warrior in the big two-mile handicap hurdle at the Dublin Racing Festival at Leopardstown.
That form was obviously enhanced by Gaelic Warrior, who finished second in the Ballymore Hurdle on Wednesday, and by fourth-placed Anna Bunina, who finished second behind Queen’s Brook in a Grade 3 hurdle at Punchestown next time.
That was his first run since the Galway Hurdle, so hopefully he will come on for it. He goes well at Cheltenham and I hope that he can go well.
2.50 – Hiddenvalley Lake
The Albert Bartlett Hurdle is a race that could suit Hiddenvalley Lake.
He did well to win his maiden hurdle at Naas in November over two miles and three furlongs on his first run for Henry, and he improved on that a lot when he stepped up in trip for a Grade 3 race at Cork.
His stamina kicked in at Cork, he stayed on strongly from the second last flight to win well.
He was beaten last time in a Grade 3 hurdle at Clonmel, but the race wasn’t run to suit, and he was still only beaten a half a length by a good horse, his stable companion Monty’s Star, giving him weight.
Minella Indo was second behind Allaho in the same Clonmel race before he won the Albert Bartlett Hurdle, so I am hoping that history can be repeated.
It’s a competitive race but I think this lad is a talented individual.
3.30 – A Plus Tard
I’m really looking forward to riding A Plus Tard again in the Gold Cup.
Last year was magic. To go so close on him in 2021, then to go back last year and for him to win it like he did, it was unbelievable. He found another gear up the run-in.
PABlackmore triumphed on A Plus Tard in the Gold Cup last year[/caption]
His preparation this year has obviously not been ideal, but his work has been very good recently. He seems in great form.
I rode him out on Wednesday morning and he seems to have travelled over well. He seems in great order and it would be brilliant if he could win it again.
It’s very cool to be coming back here to ride the reigning Gold Cup title holder.
4.50 – Magic Daze
Magic Daze is stepping up to two and a half miles for the first time in the Mares’ Chase, but I am hopeful that she will stay. She won her point-to-point, and there is plenty of stamina in her pedigree.
She loves going forward, but she doesn’t burn herself out too much when she does. She finishes off her races strongly over two miles.
She was very good last time at Naas, she got into a lovely rhythm in front and she stayed on well up the hill to beat Dinoblue, and Dinoblue ran very well in the Grand Annual on Wednesday.
This is a strong Mares’ Chase, but Magic Daze doesn’t have much to find with the top-rated mares on official ratings, and she goes into the race in good form.
She ran very well at Cheltenham too in the Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle a couple of seasons ago. She jumps well and if she relaxes for me, she has every chance of staying.