Cheltenham Gold Cup Preview 2023


Galopin Des Champs



With less than a month to go until the 2023 edition of the mighty Cheltenham Festival, thoughts of punters are now turning towards the greatest event of the racing year. With many bookmakers offering the non-runner no-bet concession, now is also the ideal time to put the finishing touches to those ante post portfolios.

All 28 of the meeting's races are capturing the imagination of racing fans to some degree, but, as ever, the four major championship-level events are generating the most interest – headlined by the magnificent Cheltenham Gold Cup. Here we look ahead to the classiest staying chase of the season, picking out the most likely winners, horses who may be flying a little under the radar, and select our best bets for the great race.

Main Win Contenders

Galopin Des Champs – 13/8 with Betfred

Despite registering an incredible 88 wins at the Cheltenham Festival, Irish supremo Willie Mullins has bagged the big prize only twice – sending out Al Boum Photo to land back-to-back editions in 2019 and 2020. If the market is to be believed, two may be about to become three, as it is the Mullins star, Galopin Des Champs, who is out on his own at the head of the betting. On his overall form, it is hard to disagree with that assessment.

Five from six over fences, including four Grade 1 wins, he was last sighted slamming Stattler by eight lengths in the Irish Gold Cup earlier this month. A potential chink in the armour is the fact that he is yet to race over quite this far, but his style of running suggests he will stay. Causing agony for backers when falling at the last when 12 lengths clear in last year's Turner’s Novices Chase, redemption may be on the cards this time around.

A Plus Tard – 8/1 with Unibet (7/1 Ladbrokes NRNB)

Next in line is the defending champ, A Plus Tard, who goes for Henry de Bromhead. The mount of Rachael Blackmore didn't just win this race 12 months ago, he annihilated the field in the straight to come home 15 lengths clear of the rest. Given the comprehensive nature of that result, many may be surprised to see him as big as 8/1 here.

There is, however, a perfectly understandable reason for that price – namely that the horse has only been sighted once since that success, when pulled up in the Betfair Chase at Haydock. He didn't look right that day, and niggling health concerns have since come to light. Hardly ideal preparation, but if deemed fit and ready to go, he rates a major threat to all.

Noble Yeats – 15/2 with Bet365

Third on the list is a horse that likely needs little introduction – last year's Grand National hero, Noble Yeats. This represents a significantly different challenge to the Aintree showpiece, but at least we can be sure that the Emmet Mullins star will thoroughly see out this 3m2f trip. The question is, does he possess the required class for the race?

A Grade 2 win at Aintree in December offered encouragement, but he could then manage only third over just short of this trip at this track last time out. Putting a positive spin on that race, he was doing all of his best work late, and it would be interesting to see how close he would have finished had he been granted another furlong to play with. In a race that can turn into a war of attrition, that proven stamina may be a potent weapon.

The other runners available at a single-figure price are King George champ, Bravemansgame, and National Hunt Chase winner, Stattler. Both have decent claims but come with contrasting questions to answer. Bravemansgame needs to prove his stamina, whilst Stattler will stay but may be tapped for toe.

Lively Outsiders

Protektorat – 16/1 with William Hill

Dan Skelton's Protektorat was the best of the British runners when third in this race 12 months ago, and looks to have sound claims of at least repeating that feat this year. Now eight years of age, he should be at his racing peak and looked like a force to be reckoned with when routing the field in this year's Betfair Chase. He was only fourth here on his most recent start, but that was likely no more than a tune-up for his big day.

Minella Indo – 20/1 with bet365

Purely on his form in this race, Henry De Bromhead's Minella Indo seems likely to attract plenty of each-way support. Two previous cracks at the contest have yielded a win in 2021, and a second-place finish in 2022. Warming up for this with a narrow verdict over Stattler at Tramore, he will likely run his usual solid race once again.

Hewick – 20/1 with Coral

One of the most inspiring stories in this year's race is the presence of the John Joseph Hanlon-trained, Hewick. Purchased for a mere €850 in October 2017, the eight-year-old has already amassed close to £400,000 in career prize money on his ascent through the ranks, including a win in the US Grand National last time out. This race represents the biggest challenge of his career by some distance, but he has been surprising everyone thus far and may not be done yet.

Best Ante Post Win Bet – A Plus Tard @7/1 NRNB with Ladbrokes

Galopin Des Champs looks the most likely winner at this stage, but he likely won't start much shorter on the day. One horse who may well shorten should he line up is defending champ A Plus Tard. Taking the 7/1 with Ladbrokes who are offering Non-Runner No-Bet looks like a decent option to either pinch a little value, or get your money back if he is not deemed ready by his trainer.

Best Ante Post Each Way Bet – Protektorat @ 16/1 with Betfred

Third last year, Dan Skelton's star chaser may be hitting his prime at just the right time for this. Getting his nose in front will likely demand a huge career best, but he looks fairly priced to at least repeat last year's effort and may start a few points shorter on the day.

Predicted Forecast

  • 1st - Galopin Des Champs
  • 2nd - Protektorat

Predicted Tricast

  • 1st - Galopin Des Champs
  • 2nd - Protektorat
  • 3rd - A Plus Tard (Noble Yeats if non-runner)

For all the info on this years Festival, head over to our special Cheltenham Betting Offers page.


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