Chris McGrath's Day Four Verdict: Alaivan ready to take place in vanguard for youth brigade

Beggars Cap looks apt way out of financial trouble in the meeting's finale

The final day of the Festival gets under way with a chance for the most maligned generation of juvenile hurdlers in many years to make their indignation plain. Certainly, Alaivan (1.30) retains every right to prove himself top-class in the JCB Triumph Hurdle, having won two of his three starts over timber on the bridle and deserving indulgence for a reverse at Leopardstown in between.

Having wasted energy when failing to settle in front that day, he could not match the acceleration of Carlito Brigante. The winner has since followed up at Musselburgh, but Alaivan has a much deeper staying pedigree and a strong pace here will surely help him switch off, so keeping enough in reserve to cut them down on the hill.

He was a Listed winner on the level for John Oxx, whose patient grounding gives him better prospects of progressing through the ranks than many recruits from the Flat. As it happens, another leading Irish contender was also stabled with Sea The Stars in his time, but while Pittoni is a really handsome individual still capable of further progress, he has had an interrupted preparation.

Secant Star could be dangerous, if inexperience no longer shows in his jumping, while Soldatino may prove best of the home team. He has been fast-tracked here after putting himself in the picture at the 11th hour with a startling British debut at Kempton.

Ruby Walsh rides the unexposed Tito Bustillo for Paul Nicholls in the Vincent O'Brien County Hurdle, but may be thwarted by his other main patron, Willie Mullins, through Tawaagg (2.05). Set plenty to do in a similarly competitive handicap at Leopardstown last time, he did not have the best of runs but still closed Puyol to half a length.

Mullins also has an extremely strong hand in the Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle, even more so now Quel Esprit (2.40) has proved himself unscathed from an early fall here on Wednesday. He could do with a drop of rain, but Walsh's fidelity is instructive of the high esteem in which this future chasing star is held in a yard saturated with such prospects. The big Cotswold hope is Tell Massini, whose win here in November has worked out very well, but he remains an unknown quantity away from the mud.

Roulez Cool (4.00) certainly goes well on a quicker surface and, looking at some of the semi-retired veterans up against him, has youth and a progressive profile on his side in the Christie's Foxhunter Chase.

The last two handicaps of the meeting are hopelessly competitive for anyone trying to redress three and a half days' damage. Two trainers, in particular, have obvious incentives to win the races honouring their respective fathers, and Ashkazar hinted at a return to form for David Pipe at Ascot last time. He is certainly well treated on his best form, but gave signs of temperament during his journey down the ratings. Conversely, Peveril could prove ahead of the game despite his big weight, but preference is for another of Nicky Henderson's novices, Radium (4.40). Lightly raced since his arrival from France, he looked sure to be suited by this distance when winning here in January and was presumably not on top of his game at Haydock next time.

Henderson is having another purposeful crack at "dad's race" and French Opera's jumping has improved since he finished third as a novice last year. This time round it is You're The Top who trades inexperience for a fair rating, but Beggars Cap (5.15) has unfinished business here after falling when entering contention three out last year. He has shown practically nothing during a light campaign, but Ferdy Murphy has already reiterated this week how very artful he can be in targeting handicappers at this meeting.

The name game: Running today

Carlito Brigante (Triumph Hurdle) The eponymous character, a Puerto Rican criminal, from Carlito's Way, a novel by Edwin Torres. Later a 1993 film with Al Pacino in the title role.

Calgary Bay (Gold Cup) Bay on Isle Of Mull from which Calgary in Alberta, Canada, was named by settlers in 1876.

Fionnegas (Albert Bartlett Novices Hurdle) The father of the Irish warrior of legend, Cuchulainn.

Keki Buku (County Hurdle) Turkish resort (translates as Goat Bay) off the Gulf of Hisaronu on the Mediterranean coast, much frequented by yachties.

Moon Over Miami (Grand Annual Chase) Charming 1941 musical romance, starring Betty Grable, Carole Landis and Charlotte Greenwood, about three sisters who go fortune-hunting in the Florida resort.

Tito Bustillo (County Hurdle) The cave near Ribadesella on the northern Spanish coast that is one of the great sanctuaries of Palaeolithic art in Europe, including a fine representation of a horse with a flying mane.

Sue Montgomery

Our experts' tips

Chris McGrath

Nap Radium (4.40)

Next best Alaivan (1.30)

Long shot Thousand Stars (2.05)

Sue Montgomery

Nap Kauto Star (3.20)

Next best Alaivan (1.30)

Long shot Any Given Day (2.05)

James Corrigan

Nap Denman (3.20)

Next best Quel Esprit (2.40)

Long shot Westlin' Winds (1.30)


Nap Kauto Star (3.20)

Next best Tell Massini (2.40)

Long shot Bellvano (2.05)

peoplePaper attempts to defend itself
voicesWe desperately need men to be feminists too
Life and Style
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
British actor Idris Elba is also a DJ and rapper who played Ibiza last summer
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Account Executive/Sales Consultant – Permanent – Hertfordshire - £16-£20k

£16500 - £20000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: We are currently r...

KS2 PPA Teacher needed (Mat Cover)- Worthing!

£100 - £125 per day: Randstad Education Crawley: KS2 PPA Teacher currently nee...

IT Systems Manager

£40000 - £45000 per annum + pension, healthcare,25 days: Ashdown Group: An est...

IT Application Support Engineer - Immediate Start

£28000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Software Application Support Analyst - Imm...

Day In a Page

Secret politics of the weekly shop

The politics of the weekly shop

New app reveals political leanings of food companies
Beam me up, Scottie!

Beam me up, Scottie!

Celebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
Beware Wet Paint: The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition

Beware Wet Paint

The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition
Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Can 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition?
Sanctuary for the suicidal

Sanctuary for the suicidal

One mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits