Cheltenham Festival - day four

Synchronised is the surprise winner of the Gold Cup as Kauto Star pulls out of the big race on the final day of the Cheltenham Festival.

16 March 2012 Last updated at 17:47

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As it happened

  1. 1744: 

    Whether it has paid you or cost you, I hope you have enjoyed the drama of it all this week. It is likely to be the last time you see Kauto Star at the course and is worth savouring for that alone. Thanks for all your messages. Bye for now.

  2.  

    Connor Axten on Twitter: Another successful day at Cheltenham. Two nice wins on synchronised and Attaglance.

    Glenn T on Twitter: "Only bet on 4 races and \u00a3520 up."

    Stewart Forsyth on Twitter: "Goodbye Cheltenham for another year, for once I am glad to see the back of you. It hasn't been a pleasure."

  3.  

    Winning jockey Paul Carberry: "I just kept waiting and giving him air and every time I asked he quickened nicely. Nicky Henderson and JP McManus have been the boys to ride for in this year's Festival."

  4. 1731: 

    It is a carve-up for trainer Nicky Henderson who will remember this week's trip to Cheltenham for a long, long time to come despite Long Run's failure. Bellvano's raking stride claws back the difference on Tanks For That and ruins Alan King's hopes of a winner at this year's Festival as he overhauls Kubeshwar.

  5.  
    RESULT- GRAND ANNUAL

    1. Bellvano P Carberry 20-1

    2. Tanks For That B J Geraghty 9-1

    3. Kumbeshwar R Thornton 16-1

    4. Anquetta A Tinkler 33-1

  6.  

    Winning trainer Nicky Henderson: "We fielded a fair few of them out there but getting three of the first four was wonderful. It has been an amazing week and it finished with a wonderful win."

  7.  

    BELLVANO WINS THE GRAND ANNUAL

  8. 1721: 

    It is looking like a straight duel between Thanks For That and Kumbeshwar into the home furlong...

  9. 1720: 

    Ultimate is out of contention after an error and Toubab hits the turf...

  10. 1719: 

    Kumbeshwar takes on the running and Thanks For That is looking pretty back in third...

  11. 1717: 

    And we are go with Idarah breaking first and Ultimate leading the way after the first...

  12. 1716: 

    Some last-minute tack adjustments for Alan King's Kumbeshwar delay the start of this finale.

  13. 1713: 

    The Festival ends with the Johnny Henderson Grand Annual. The Nicky Henderson-trained Kid Cassidy is the favourite in neck muzzle and ear plugs while the Racing Post's pick for the race Astracad goes off at around 7-1. Tanks For That, who won a big handicap at Cheltenham in November, is 9-1.

  14.  

    Pete in London: "Thanks go out to Mick Fitzgerald for his tips this morning! Salsify saved me day after losing on Long Run."

    Mick Fitzgerald has a record of three winners from eight selections for 5 live this week. Not too shabby a strike rate that...

  15.  

    Tom Martin on Twitter: "I just won with attaglance, a bet I put on at half 10 this morning!! YES!"

  16. 1659: 

    Haynes dropped his whip on the home turn and rode Ataglance home with just his hands and heels. Impressive stuff.

  17.  

    Winning jockey Harry Haynes: "The way things have worked out for me in the last year after being down and out having falls all the way to here is unbelievable. I've moved to Mr Jefferson's yard, he has put me on some nice horses and they have got me winning races again."

  18. 1654: 

    Winning trainer Malcolm Jefferson: "He is a lovely horse in great form. He is gutsy, tough, genuine and easy to train and I honestly thought we had a hell of a chance."

    That is a fifth win for Ataglance who was victorious at Market Rasen last time out, but had a further 9lbs to contend with in ths race.

  19.  
    RESULT- MARTIN PIPE CONDITIONAL JOCKEYS' HANDICAP

    1. Attaglance Harry Haynes 20-1

    2. Toner D'Oudairies K M Donoghue 7-1

    3. Oscar Nominee David Bass 10-1

    4. Make A Track B R Dalton 12-1

  20. 1649: 

    Toner D'Oudaires was travelling well and looked set for victory, but clouted the last, checking most of his momentum. Ataglance powers level with his floundering rival and then proves the stronger in the last few metres to win by a neck. There might yet be something for the stewards to have a look at with pack very close behind the front two.

  21.  

    ATAGLANCE WINS THE MARTIN PIPE CONDITIONAL

  22. 1645: 

    Toner D'Oudaires leads into the last fence...

  23. 1645: 

    Tornado Bob and Arab League lead the way with Toner D'Oudaires travelling well inside...

  24. 1644: 

    Changing Times is out front but running very wide and struggling and Tornado Bob and Arab League pick him off with three fences to go...

  25. 1642: 

    Arab League is keeping a good pace on the inside with Art Professor struggling to keep pace and travelling poorly...

  26. 1641: 

    Changing Times is at the front with Street Entertainer as they get away cleanly...

  27. 1639: 

    Kauto Star trainer Paul Nicholls tells Racing UK: "He is absolutely fine. Ruby did the right thing in pulling him and that is what you get whe you have a good wise head on a horse. I think he just pulled something over the water jump. I'm not going to speculate on his future but he won't race again at Cheltenham, I think that's pretty obvious, but I haven't spoken to [owner] Clive Smith yet."

  28. 1638: 

    Two more races to go with the Martin Pipe Conditional getting under way in a little under two minutes. A big favourite is the 9-2 Bourne who beat Smad Place at Ascot last time out. Street Entertainer at 7-1 and French challenger Toner D'Oudaires at 15-2 lead the chase.

  29. 1631: 

    It has been a good day for the bookies. Not a favourite amongst the five winners so far and Synchronised defused the avalanche of money wagered on the backs of Kauto and Long Run.

  30.  

    Billy Farr on Twitter: "I have had a fantastic Cheltenham this week. I'd be happy to repeat that every year. I flippin love jumps racing."

  31. 1618: 

    A gritty ride from Colman Sweeney who had to win the race twice over, surging past My Flora and Oscar Delta before feeling the heat of favourite Chapoturgeon on his collar as he urged his mount all the way through the line.

  32.  
    RESULT- FOXHUNTER CHASE

    1. Salsify Mr C J Sweeney 7-1

    2. Chapoturgeon Mr J Barber 3-1 Fav

    3. Oscar Delta Mr D Murphy 28-1

    4. My Flora Mr T David 4th

  33.  

    Winning jockey Colman Sweeney: "My mother owned it, my father trained it and to win here is just an unbelievable feeling."

  34.  

    SALSIFY WINS THE FOXHUNTER CHASE

  35. 1611: 

    Salsify and Chapoturgeon comes through to contest the lead over the home straight...

  36. 1610: 

    My Flora and Oscar Delta pull away from the rest...

  37. 1610: 

    Picaroon makes a mess of a fence six from home but Alex Dunn clings on. The leader is sucked back into the pack after that mistake...

  38. 1609: 

    Picaroon has cranked out a lead of 20 lengths but there is still a long, long way to go with seven to jump...

  39. 1608: 

    Roulez Cool dumps Sam Waley Cohen overboard and a bad day gets worse for the amatuer who picks himself up and dusts down...

  40. 1607: 

    Roulez Cool and Count Salazar move up inmto contention behind Picaroon...

  41. 1606: 

    Picaroon leads the way with Elezar just over his shoulder...

  42. 1605: 

    Enter Paradise is a faller at the third...

  43. 1605: 

    Finally he is convinced to join the race and we are finally away...

  44. 1604: 

    Picaroon is causing a further hold-up, standing rooted stubbornly to the spot and resisting all attempts by jockey Alex Dunn to get him going.

  45. 1602: 

    The Foxhunter Chase is next up with France's Chapturgeon set to head off as favourite. The Donald McCain-trained Cloudy Lane and Ireland's Merchant Royal also worth a heads-up. A third false start of the day means we'll get away a little later than advertised.

  46. 1556: 

    Kauto Star owner Clive Smith reports back what he has heard from trainer Paul Nicholls and jockey Ruby Walsh. It sounds pretty good for those hoping that we haven't glimpsed the last of him in action. Apparently he cleared the first two fences in regulation fashion, but may have just tweaked a muscle over the water.

  47.  

    Long Run jockey Sam Waley Cohen on Channel 4: "He ran his race and you are disappointed he didn't win, but not disappointed in the horse. There is no hard luck story here. I was happy going down the hill but when some space opened up, instead of poking through as he would if he had more in the tank he couldn't get away."

  48. 1550: 

    Princess Anne is on hand to give local legend Jonjo O'Neill his replica Gold Cup, before pressing the flesh with jockey AP McCoy and Kauto's groom in the winners' enclosure. Owner JP McManus is wreathed in smiles as the shutters fire for the front pages.

  49.  

    Tony McCoy on BBC Radio 5 live: "In any sport, if you do not have the will to win you have got nothing. This horse has heart."

    Jonjo O'Neill on BBC Radio 5 live: "That was magic. It is what jump racing is all about.

    "It has been a real team effort coming into this. Everyone has put their shoulder to the wheel.

    "There is nobody else who can ride him as well [as Tony McCoy]."

  50.  

    Billy Farr on Twitter: "Having watched that back again Long Run simply wasn't good enough. I think Sam Waley Cohen did his best."

  51. 1539: 

    Well, well, well. Pre-race expectations are blown asunder as Old Father Time gets his claws into Kauto Star and Long Run fails to find the pace that carried him a street clear last year. There were courageous runs from The Giant Bolster and Time For Rupert but it was Synchronised who had the class to tie up a first Gold Cup for owner JP McManus.

  52.  

    Winning trainer Jonjo O'Neill on Channel 4: "I knew when he was coming down the back with a bit of light we knew we had a chance, and AP got him into a great rhythm. It was a big team effort, everyone has done so much on this horse."

  53.  
    RESULT- GOLD CUP

    1. Synchronised A P McCoy 8-1

    2. The Giant Bolster T Scudamore 50-1

    3. Long Run Mr S Waley-Cohen 7-4 Fav

    4. Burton Port B Geraghty 8-1

  54.  

    Winning jockey AP McCoy on Channel 4: "He was off all the way but what I didn't want to be doing was firing him down the fences. He is an amazing horse and I am delighted for owner JP McManus."

  55.  

    SYNCHRONISED WINS THE GOLD CUP

  56. 1526: 

    The Giant Bolster hits the front before the final fence...

  57. 1526: 

    China Rock is well positioned on the outside and The Giant Bolster is well set as well...

  58. 1525: 

    Still Midnight Chase out front with Time For Rupert with Long Run just off the leaders as they leap the fifth from home...

  59. 1524: 

    The crowd applauded the departure of Kauto Star and Sam Waley -Cohen looked back to see his rival drop out...

  60. 1523: 

    Kauto Star is in trouble, Ruby Walsh not happy and KAUTO STAR IS PULLED UP AND OUT THE RACE...

  61. 1522: 

    Kauto Star is sat handily in second with Long Run ensconsed in the midst of the rest...

  62. 1521: 

    What a Friend is down at the second and out the race, Carruthers took a whack but is still in the contest...

  63. 1520: 

    With a roar from the crowd there are away with Midnight Chase leading the way...

  64. 1519: 

    Long Run will go off at around 15-8 with Kauto at 7-2 reflecting confidence in the younger runner's greater stamina. We are almost ready, the field stalking round waiting for the starter's orders.

  65. 1517: 

    There is a chink of light for the best of the rest though. Kauto's advancing years mean that the 12-year-old would be the oldest winner since What a Myth in 1969 while Long Run has looked tentative over the jumps this term. Burton Port has reportedly been flying under at trainer Nicky Henderson's HQ while Synchronised is attracting plenty of interest.

  66. 1513: 

    For all the green and yellow dotted support on display for Kauto Star, there is one heck of a story behind Long Run. The seven-year-old is piloted by amateur Sam Waley-Cohen, owned by Sam's father Robert and carries the initials of Sam's late brother Tom inscribed on his saddle.

  67. 1510: 

    Kauto roused himself to beat Long Run at Haydock before repeating the trick by coming home a length and a quarter clear on Boxing Day to become the first horse to win a fifth King George. The veteran is on a hat-trick today.

  68.   
    John Inverdale, BBC Sport's

    "I can't remember a time when a horse was applauded all away round the parade ring before a race. Even Ruby Walsh, who can look stern before a race, had a smile on his face."

  69. 1505: 

    Kauto seemed destined for retirement 12 months ago after trailing in third in last year's race as Long Run, five years his junior, scampered up the Cheltenham hill to Their form has taken different paths since then with the winner struggling to rediscover that dominance and Kauto Star back and burning bright.

  70. 1505: 

    Brindisi Breeze jockey Campbell Gillies: "It's great for Scotland and all of the team. We came here confident but he's blown us away again. He just pricked his ears the whole of the time. He's very genuine and he just keeps galloping - he's got the lot. All credit to him, he's a real athlete."

  71. 1503: 

    Kauto Star's trainer Paul Nicholls admitted to BBC Radio 5 live this morning that it is "probably" his charge's final appearance at Cheltenham. A 17th grade-one steeplechase win and third Gold Cup success will be a fine way to bid farewell.

  72. 1500: 

    It is the prize contest of the whole meeting and indeed the whole season. Old-school bruiser Kauto Star, attempting to land one final big one at Cheltenham, takes bright, flashy Long Run in the Gold Cup.Twenty minutes until the off.

  73. 1457: 

    Right, what's next? Oh.

  74. 1456: 

    A brave run from Brindisi Breeze gets the result it deserves. Ruby Walsh, on board Boston Bob, may have fancied his chances of reeling him in but there was no let-up from the Scottish winner who ploughed on and on for victory.

  75.  

    Winning trainer Lucinda Russell: "We have been trying to get winners back here at Cheltenham for Scotland. It is what you work for and it amazing that the right race comes at Cheltenham."

    Owner Sandy Seymour looks pleased as punch as well.

  76.  
    RESULT- NOVICES' HURDLE

    1. Brindisi Breeze C I Gillies 7-1

    2 Boston Bob R Walsh 6-5 Fav

    3 Grand Vision T J O'Brien 25-1

    4. Lovcen R Thornton 12-1

  77.  

    Winning jockey Campbell Gillies: "It is great for Scotland. We came here confident and he has blown us away again. The whole time he was pricking his ears up out in front and he jumped fantastically today. He is a real athlete."

  78.  

    BRINDISI BREEZE WINS THE NOVICES' HURDLES

  79. 1446: 

    The gap is closing with Boston Bob drawing in over the last

  80. 1445: 

    Brindisi Breeze shows no sign of tiring as he turns for home...

  81. 1445: 

    Boston Bob is being urged on by Ruby Walsh back in fifth as they approach the second last...

  82. 1444: 

    With two to go it is Brindisi Breeze who leads...

  83. 1444: 

    Big Occassion puts the pedel to the metal a touch as he attempts to force the pace...

  84. 1443: 

    Boston Bob is alongside Rocky Creek, both happy to sit and wait with plenty of distance to run still...

  85. 1442: 

    Dawn Commander and Mister Eckhart are lurking just behind the leading pair...

  86. 1441: 

    Boston Bob biding his time in midfield in the early stages...

  87. 1441: 

    Big Occassion and Brindisi Breeze lead the way and are going at a fair clip...

  88. 1440: 

    Boston Bob shortens to 6-5 as they get away first time....

  89.  

    Martin Brennan on Twitter: "Would it not complete a memorable week for Henderson/Geraghty if they won on Burton Port? I think it could happen."

  90. 1438: 

    Rocky Creek under Daryl Jacobs is the pick of the English runnners while Brindisi Breeze from Scotland could figure although trainer Lucinda Russell admits that he is more used to heavier ground.

  91. 1433: 

    There is a clear favourite to get behind if you believe in following that tradition. Willie Mullins-trained Boston Bob leads the betting at 5-4 after stringing together three victories in his last three outings. He leads a strong Irish contingent that also features Mount Ben Bulben, Sea of Thunder and Ipsos Du Berlais.

  92. 1430: 

    Next up is the Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle which has been a punter-friendly zone since its introduction seven years ago with three winners at shorter than 2-1 and only one a double-figure price.

  93. 1427: 

    Wales and Lions rugby union legend Gareth Edwards has been chatting with Clare Balding on 5 live duty at Cheltenham. Sadly his memories of the late Mervyn Davies are likely to be have taken up much of the interview. You can keep up with 5 live's activities via their photo gallery on their own pages.

  94.  

    Stewart Forsyth on Twitter: "Cometh the hour, Cometh the 4 legged Hero. IN KAUTO WE TRUST!"

    T minus one hour untill the Gold Cup off.

  95. 1421: 

    BBC Sport's Frank Keogh at Cheltenham: "Clifford Baker, the head lad at trainer Paul Nicholls' Somerset stable, rides Kauto Star out every day and is hopeful he can go close in the Gold Cup: 'He looks good. For some reason he is in better shape this season than he has been for a while. He looks as well as I've ever seen him look, if not better. As long as his schooling fall has no repercussions, there's no reason why he shouldn't run a big race today.'"

  96. 1420: 

    A superb ride from Tony McCoy. Alderwood was pushed wide by Plan A around the last corner and looked like he was out of the running, but the 16-time champion dug his heels in and pulled it out the fire to return the favour to Plan A in the dying stages.

  97.  

    Trainer Thomas Mullins on his first Cheltenham winner: "It is an unbelievable feeling. I just wanted to get one on the board. It is such a delight when you have Tony McCoy on board, he has it all sussed out for you."

  98.  
    RESULT- COUNTY HURDLE

    1. Alderwood A P McCoy 20-1

    2. Edgardo Sol Harry Derham 25-1

    3. Sailors Warn A E Lynch 16-1

    4. Plan A P Carberry 20-1

  99.  

    Winning jockey Tony McCoy tells Channel 4: "It was great for the horse. He got killed on the bottom bend but he could have stayed longer so the distance suited him."

  100.  

    ALDERWOOD WINS THE COUNTY HURDLE

  101. 1411: 

    Alderwood takes a knock and that might be the end of his chances...

  102. 1410: 

    Ifyouletmefinish has moved up into third while Raya Star is also on the move...

  103. 1409: 

    Desert Cry is being cut adrift at the back of the pack...

  104. 1409: 

    Dee Ee Williams from Plan A as they pour round the corner and take the long run into the sixth last...

  105. 1408: 

    Yep, clean away and The Bull Hayes sets the pace...

  106. 1407: 

    They are called back after a messy first attempt to start. Olofi has nosed ahead of Citizenship as favourite on the exchanges apparently. They look pretty well set for a second attempt.

  107. 1406: 

    Actor James Nesbitt was a part-owner of Ryanair Chase winner Riverside Theatre yesterday and Everton manager David Moyes will be hoping to spread a little more stardust around the winners' enclosure with his stake in Desert Cry. He is a 25-1 shot for any Toffees making a supportive punt.

  108. 1400: 

    Olofi has not won since a pair of victories in 2009 but trainer Tom George insists that he has had a run of bad luck so far this season. The money seems to agree with a price of 8-1.

  109. 1356: 

    Citizenship, trained by Jessica Harrington, is the 5-1 favourite for the County Hurdle on the back of a win at Leopardstown. Harrington won this race in 2003 and will be hoping to make up for a lack of success with Steps to Freedom in the opening race of this year's Festival.

  110.  

    BBC racing correspondent Cornelius Lysaght on Twitter: "Nicky Henderson jokes to #BBC5Live he will 'lock up' \u00a31m winner Conor Murphy to stop him leaving job."

  111. 1347: 

    Grumeti looked as though he had that one all tied up as he came over the last but the distance did for Alan King's prime hope as he faded badly. Countrywide Flame duly took his chance to steal in. Good news in that both Pearl Swan and jockey Ruby Walsh are fine and dandy despite their fall.

  112.  

    Winning trainer John Quinn: "He has never run a bad race and I thought he would have to find a bit but he is very tough and hardy and Dougie gave him a great ride to get back into it."

  113.  
    RESULT- TRIUMPH HURDLE

    1. Countrywide Flame 33-1

    2. Hisaabaat 20-1

    3. Grumeti 5-1 Fav

    4 Dodging Bullets 20-1

  114.  

    Winning jockey Dougie Costello: "He is not very big but he is tough and jumps and is quick. He was getting knocked about and I just tried to find him some room and he had plenty in the tank."

  115.  

    COUNTRYWIDE FLAME WINS THE TRIUMPH HURDLE

  116. 1336: 

    Grumeti and Dodging Bullets surge past heading to the last....

  117. 1335: 

    Sadler's Risk still holding them off as they approach the final turn...

  118. 1334: 

    Balder Succes is a faller and out of the race. Still Sadler's Risk up top but a host of pretenders just behind...

  119. 1333: 

    With six to jump Pearly Swan is dead last. Still Sadler's Risk making the pace...

  120. 1333: 

    Sadler's Risk leads the way ahead of Darroun and West Brit...

  121. 1332: 

    Away cleanly this time....

  122. 1332: 

    The field are looking frisky and they get called back after leaving behind an unprepared Grumeti who is backed in to 5-1 favourite just before the off.

  123. 1327: 

    Long Run jockey Sam Waley-Cohen tells 5 live: "I'm great and I'm hoping the horse is great - I haven't heard anything, which should be good news. If we can produce the performance of last year then, no question, we're good enough. But it's jump racing and we'll need a bit of luck."

  124. 1327: 

    Other pointers for you are to go for a favoured local. It is ten years since Scolardy took the Triumph Hurdle title over the Irish Sea and it has not been back since, while the last seven winners have come from amongst the first four in the betting.

  125. 1324: 

    Baby Mix's trainer Tom George tells Channel 4: "Everything was right at the Adonis, he has to be up in the first three or four to use his speed and his jumping."

  126. 1321: 

    Trainer Alan King is gunning for a third win in the race after previous victories with Penzance and Katchit and has decent claims in both Grumeti and Balder Succes. The latter prefers slightly softer ground and that may have swung stable jockey Robert Thornton to opt for Grumeti who is right up there in the betting behind favourite Baby Mix.

  127.  

    Oliver Bennett on Twitter: "I've gone for a combo forecast with Kauto, Long Run and Midnight Chase. I quite like China Rock as an outside place too."

  128. 1318: 

    Sadler's Risk was well beaten by Baby Mix in February but may fancy her chances of taking revenge over the longer two miles one furlong trip. A 7-1 shot under Richard Johnson in this one.

  129. 1312: 

    French raider Baby Mix leads the way in the betting heading into the Triumph Hurdle. After a successful career on the flat on the other side of the Channel she won the Adonis Hurdle at Kempton last month. Five of the last 12 winners in this race have warmed up with a win in that one.

  130. 1308: 

    A few non-runners to cross off your card for today. Quel Esprit is out of the Gold Cup while Masters of Arts and Snap Tie will miss the County Hurdle. Theatre Diva wouldn't make the Foxhunter Chase either.

  131. 1303: 

    With half an hour to go before the first race, where Pearl Swan has come in from 15-2 to 13-2 on a ripple of morning money, 5 live have kicked off their commentary. A quick manual refresh should bring John Inverdale and the rest into a little icon on the right-hand side of the page for UK users.

  132.  

    Adam Davies on Twitter: "Was meant to back Burton Port E/W, accidentally lumped it on the win, shouldn't be allowed to bet on a mobile phone."

  133.  

    Paul Steed on Twitter: "Yet another year when a two-horse race is won by a third horse. Synchronised 2012 Gold Cup winner!"

  134. 1255: 

    The race for the trainers' title has been put on the boil by Nicky Henderson's form so far at the festival. Six winners from his Seven Barrows yard in Lambourn at this year' Festival so far has moved him to within a little more than \u00a3100,000 of Paul Nicholls in terms of prize money for the season. Long Run is in Henderson's corner for the Gold Cup while Kauto is stabled with Nicholls. The race carries a pot of \u00a3284,750 for the winner so there is more than just equine bragging rights on the line today.

  135.  

    Spud via text: "The Cheltenham Festival is the best working week of the year. I know nothing about horse racing but have managed to wins some bets, and all this while avoiding to get the sack from work. Sensational entertainment."

    Steve.... hiding from the Boss, Malvern: "Kauto has had a tough run up to this meet, Long Run must fancy his chances today. 13.30 will start the most unproductive working-Friday of my life! Hopefully I make more in winnings than I do in wages!"

    I wonder if the betting industry's gains compensate for the general drag that this week places on the British economy? Stay sneaky with your punts people.

  136.  

    Billy Farr on Twitter: "I would love Kauto to win and Nicholls' big race form is largely holding up. 11/2 would be a big price!"

  137.  

    James Maidstone on Twitter: "Someone persuade me not to back Midnight Chase in the Gold Cup!"

  138. 1234: 

    So let us know your picks for the big race. Is it a case of the head says Long Run and the heart says Kauto Star? And if so how does your gut cast its deciding vote? You can text us on 81111 or tweet in on #bbcracing

  139.   
    BBC Sport's Frank Keogh, at Cheltenham

    "It's the calm before the storm with a heavy air of anticipation and excited chatter as a capacity crowd of more than 65,000 packs into the course for one of the most eagerly-awaited days in jump racing. Veteran Kauto Star has captured the hearts of racegoers and even many of those who are not betting on him confess they would love to cheer the 12-year-old home to victory up the Cheltenham hill."

  140. 1230: 

    Simon King, 5live's weather guru, has given us a few details on the expected conditions.

    "A cloudy day expected at the racecourse. It could get a little brighter during the mid-afternoon but will be fairly short-lived either way. Staying dry with a southwesterly wind gradually increasing throughout the afternoon and a maximum temperature of about 11 degrees."

  141.   
    Mick Fitzgerald, Former top jockey

    Former top jockey Mick Fitzgerald, at Cheltenham, as a BBC Radio 5 live pundit, has been giving us two selections each day - with two winners from his six selections so far. Here's his thoughts on today: "Boston Bob (1440) is my nap of the week. Ruby Walsh was very keen on his chances, regardless of what race he was running in. I saw Salsify (1600) yesterday morning on the track and was blown away by how well he looks. He was a very good winner last time."

  142. 1220: 

    There is hefty supporting cast as well today with a couple of Grade One races before the main event. This is how the day pans out:

    1330 JCB Triumph Hurdle 2m 1f

    1400 Vincent O'Brien County Handicap Hurdle 2m 1f

    1440 Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle 3m

    1520 Betfred Cheltenham Gold Cup Steeple Chase 3m 2 1/2f

    1600 Christie's Foxhunter Steeple Chase 3m 2 1/2f

    1640 Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys' Handicap Hurdle 2m 4 1/2f

    1715 Johnny Henderson Grand Annual Steeple Chase2m 1/2f

  143. 1215: 

    The likes of Burton Port and Synchronised will be aiming to make the big one more than a straight head-to-head, but that would rather ruin the narrative wouldn't it?

  144. 1209: 

    It is the sort of battling through adversity that inspires his fans not just to sport scarves in the colours of owner Clive Smith, but to draw up tattoo designs.

  145. 1203: 

    Just in case his advancing years weren't enough of an obstacle, Kauto's run-in to the race has seen him dodge the mysterious cough that afflicted some stable-mates at trainer Paul Nicholls' yard and then recover from a fall that left him just 50:50 for the meeting.

  146. 1200: 

    Welcome to Gold Cup Friday and what could be a glorious final chapter in a story that has captured hearts far beyond racing's usual audience. After being soundly beaten in the race last year, 12-year-old Kauto Star has stirred his ranks of fans with a thrilling resurgence this season. If he manages to topple defending champion Long Run and land the Gold Cup for a third time this afternoon expect a few moist eyes in the grandstands.