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3:30 Cheltenham Gold Cup

A PLUS TARD 7/2 generally – 1.5 POINTS WIN 

A horse who we sent out a few weeks ago and I still think he is the horse they all have to beat. I thought the ground would have been quicker but obviously a lot of rain fell yesterday, more than predicted but even so the forecast is dry from here so it should dry out enough. The more it dries the more chance he has.


This is the write up sent out 2 weeks ago:


I think the key to this race is going to be the conditions and at what pace the race is run at. From my reading of the race everything about this race is going to suit A PLUS TARD. As far as I can see after looking at many different angles, the pace is virtually non-existent. There is not one horse in the race in which you look to and immediately think they will take them along at a nice pace. The slower the pace the more it will suit A PLUS TARD as I really feel that the way you have to try to get A PLUS TARD is by making it a stamina test. Sure the horse who wins this race will have stamina on his side but I don’t think the race will be that type of race where the whole emphasis will be on stamina and once again it all comes down to the pace. You have not got a Frodon, a Denman, a Native River or a Coneygree this year and I can’t tell you how much that will play to the strengths of A PLUS TARD.

Secondly another play to get A PLUS TARD beat would be the ground. In Soft or Heavy ground it would again test his true stamina no matter what pace they went but the forecast is dry from Sunday afternoon, leading all the way up to the Gold Cup, which tells me the ground come Friday will be an absolute minimum of Good To Soft. 

It now becomes a race where you are trying to get a classy horse like A PLUS TARD, who has so much speed. We know this because he beat Chacun Pour Soi over 2m 1f, he was 2nd to Min in the Ryanair Chase in 2020 and you don’t run big races against those horses if you don’t have speed. Back in November he absolutely bolted up in the Betfair Chase at Haydock, by 22 lengths, on ground which was riding very quick. A PLUS TARD was just impeccable in the jumping department and jumped as well as I have seen any horse in a long long time. He travelled with such zest on decent ground and pretty much won on the bridle. It really was a wow moment for me and it was in the mould of how Kauto Star used to win those Betfair Chases on decent ground.

In all fairness Kauto Star and A PLUS TARD are quite comparable and I am not comparing them in terms of ability as A PLUS TARD ha got a long way to go to be in Kauto Star league, but I do feel they are very much the same horse, in that they were both speedy horses, both very very classy, both won over the minimum trip, both excelled on decent ground and both travel with zest.

I just think everything about this race screams A PLUS TARD and you will see him cruising to 3 out and then 2 out, before being sent on to jump the last in the lead.

I also think he is a much better horse this season than last year, when he came home 2nd in the Gold Cup to Minella Indo. I have watched the replay back and last year he didn’t jump with the fluency he does this season, yet only went down by 1 length and was actually closing on Minella Indo going to the line. A PLUS TARD also loves it around Cheltenham, coming alive in the spring time and his form at the Cheltenham Festival in the last 3 years, reads 132, it is line with Minella Indo form at the Cheltenham Festival whose form reads 121 in the last 3 years, yet our selection form never gets a mention.

Of the opposition I have no doubt last year’s winner Minella Indo will be at his peak in this race but I am just not sure the race will be run to suit this year. Will he have to make the running to ensure he gets the stamina test that is needed? If that is the case that is surely a negative. Will the ground be a bit too quick for him and play into the hands of ”faster horses” such as A PLUS TARD.

The same could be said about Galvin who beat our selection by a short head last time out, in the Savills Chase over the Christmas period. He was taken along by Kemboy that day but we don’t have that type of horse in the race this year, so will he have to make his own pace? Will it be the stamina test that he needs if he doesn’t make the running? We heard it recently from Gordon Elliott that Galvin is showing them speed they never thought he had. To me that is a negative as they have always felt he was a slow horse whereas our horse, we always knew he had the speed.

I also feel A PLUS TARD did a lot wrong last time out and went to the front too early and I don’t see Rachael Blackmore making the same mistake again and if that Savills Chase was run again, A PLUS TARD would win 9 times out of 10.

Of the rest I couldn’t have Protektorat on decent ground and I really don’t think he is up to this level. While Al Boum Photo has won this race 2 times, is not getting any younger and it would be hard to see him turning the form around from last season.

A horse who I do think will run well on decent ground is Chantry House but again I couldn’t have him in the league of A Plus Tard.

A PLUS TARD is remarkably only an 8 year old. He has been around for a number of years yet is only just at his peak. I think you are going to see him at his absolute best here and I would not be at all surprised if he won the race by a good few lengths. 

The 7/2 looks a great price as with everything we have talked about, down to the pace of the race, to the ground, to how they will travel, I would actually make him a 9/4 shot. 

We saw Rachael Blackmore become the first female jockey to win the Grand National last year and this year I think we are going to see our first female jockey win the Gold Cup. WIN.

A lovely winner on todays free tips and we go again tomorrow for Gold Cup Day, the big one.


Good Luck
JPW Racing Tipster

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