Cheltenham Gold Cup Preview


The highlight of the national hunt season for many is the Cheltenham Gold Cup, and generally speaking the race usually lives up to the big billing it receives. This is no easy race at all, it takes a tough horse to battle it out and we have seen many horses fail to recover from the test this race brings. It could be argued that the top two from last season, Native River and Might Bite are still trying to recover, especially Might Bite, who has been very disappointing this season.

As far as this season’s race goes, it looks to be wide open, and from a betting point of few I am more than happy to chance my luck on a couple of outsiders and oppose the favourites. 

Clan Des Obeaux and Presenting Percy are at the head of the market right now, and while both have impressive pieces of form in the book, they also have question marks hanging over them. Clan Des Obeaux won the King George in excellent fashion, and followed up with an impressive prep run at Ascot recently. However, both races were run on flat tracks, and there is a doubt as to whether he can handle the slightly longer distance and the Cheltenham hill.

Presenting Percy was mightily impressive in the RSA Chase last season, and on that form alone he has a good chance of upsetting his more experienced rivals. However, he has not been seen over fences this season in public which has to be a huge worry. He looked well when winning over hurdles on his only start this season, but is it possible to be confident about a horse that has had just one run over hurdles in preparation for a race like the Gold Cup? I’m not so sure myself.

Of the first two from last season, I give the advantage to Native River again, although he has not been impressive this season. He does have an excuse with the fact that the two races we have seen him in have not been a true enough test for him, and he is expected to improve here for running at a much stiffer track. It would have been nice to see more from him before the race, but if he replicates his form from last season then he obviously has a big chance.

Might Bite is even more of a worry, because while Native River needs a stronger test to be seen in his best light, the races we have seen Might Bite in this season should have been perfect for him. Despite that he has done nothing but disappoint, and it could be that the Gold Cup took too much out of him last season and broke his heart, and he has still not recovered.

A little further down the betting list, I think Thistlecrack is a little overpriced in the race. He ran really well at Haydock on his seasonal debut to finish as close as he did considering how poorly he jumped. He jumped much better at Kempton on Boxing Day to finish one and a half lengths behind Clan Des Obeaux. While we have seen Clan Des Obeaux frank his form again at Ascot, one of them is 4/1 and the other is 12/1, so I’m more than happy to take the value and get the 12s on Thistlecrack to turn the form around.

Last year’s third place horse Anibale Fly is another I am interested in at bigger prices. He is a true stayer and the tougher the test, the better for him so let’s hope for rain and a softening of the ground for this horse. He ran over an inadequate 2m4f as a prep run last time out behind Monalee, and I thought that was very encouraging from him. He will be staying on past beaten horses in the Gold Cup, and could well run into the frame at the nice price of 16/1.

Gold Cup Betting Tips

  • Thistlecrack EW @ 12/1 (Betfred)  
  • Anibale Fly EW @ 16/1 (Betfred)

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