Cheltenham Gold Cup Betting Tips, Odds & Analysis
Cheltenham Gold Cup Tips
This year's Gold Cup at the 2021 Cheltenham Festival promises to deliver a big story.
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Al Boum Photo bids to emulate such greats as Arkle, Cottage Rake and more recently Best Mate by winning his third gold cup and at only 9 years old there could still be plenty more to come. The problem is that whilst horses have won three Gold Cups in the past, this year’s contest looks to have plenty more depth in the field than his last two victories, with all types of horses trying to take his mantle. There are young up and coming horses, older ones that could spark back into life around Prestbury Park and horses that are totally unexposed at the trip, all in opposition. What a mouth-watering prospect this race is set to be.
Cheltenham Gold Cup Details
The Cheltenham Gold Cup is a Grade 1 contest run on the New Course at Cheltenham Racecourse, over a distance of 3 miles 2 ½ furlongs. It is seen by many as the most prestigious race in National Hunt Horse Racing with 22 fences set to be jumped and it always assembles a high-class field of runners.
When & Where To Watch The Cheltenham Gold Cup
15.05 Friday, March 19 - LIVE ON: ITV Racing & Racing TV
Can Al Boum Photo Win The Gold Cup Again?
For good reason Al Boum Photo heads the market at 3/1 with Coral in his bid to win the race for the third time, but is he value? Trainer Willie Mullins has stuck to what he has known best with the horse and he goes to Cheltenham for the third-year running have won the New Year’s Day Chase run at Tramore. This year he beat Acapella Bourgeois, as the previous season with ease. However, all it proved was that he was fit and well. His time on similar ground to the previous year was a lot slower, albeit he could have gone quicker and the opposition was quite weak. On the positive side it sounds like his master trainer was surprised at his lack of fitness and said that “it was a long time back to Tramore and he probably should have got one more piece of work before”. One thing is for sure Mullins will have him in A1 condition come 19th March. His jumping has always been open to a bit of debate. When he is on his game, he jumps very fast and low at the obstacles. However, he can get one wrong occasionally as shown when he knuckled on landing in the 2018 RSA Chase. I watched last year’s race back and he was sketchy for whatever reason over the first in the back straight (One before the water jump) more than once. With this year’s field sure to provide greater opposition he will want to put in one of his better rounds. Whilst I fully respect him as the champion he is and even more so his trainer, at the current odds he does not represent value to me.
Henderson To Take Gold Cup Back To Seven Barrows?
It seems an age since Nicky Henderson won the Gold Cup with Bobs Worth in 2013 but he knows how to handle a good staying chaser and he has two real live runners this year in Champ and last year’s runner up Santini. Champ has been all the rage recently after his good 2nd to Sceau Royal in the Game Spirit Chase at Newbury over an inadequate trip. He also boasts good Cheltenham festival form having won last season’s RSA Novice Chase, running down Minella Indo close home after being some way behind at the last. Whilst his Newbury run was good and his jumping in the main was a lot better, he still missed the last which would have seen him get closer to the winner. I have a niggling doubt in my mind that he is like a footballer that is a natural finisher. In front of goal with no time he finishes brilliantly, but if he has time to think about the shot, he misses. In the Game Spirit, the race was run at a quicker speed than a staying chase. He was a lot better and winged a few, especially three and two out. However, when he gets in tight and jockey doesn’t see a stride, he can often make an error and sometimes its calamitous as in the case in the Dipper Novice at Cheltenham last year. He stays well and clearly has an engine but if you are not on at fancy prices do you want to be on him now? Probably not and I don’t, but he may well win a Gold Cup one year if everything clicks into place and as he gains more experience.
I really believe Santini was an unlucky loser last year. Nico De Boinville had to switch around Lostintranslation late on and surely that cost him the race. He had previously run a blinder in a thrilling RSA in 2019 and comes alive at Cheltenham. The problem this year is that he has looked a shadow of last year in three quite moderate runs. The key though could be that they were all at Flat tracks in Aintree, Kempton and Sandown. He has proven more than once that he is better on a much more testing track like Cheltenham and was niggled along in the Gold Cup last year after less than three fences. On a flat, park track he can’t get a breather in and is always on the back foot (hoof!) and at Cheltenham he can gather momentum. I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see a better showing in the Gold Cup and at the prices could be a bit of value.
De Bromhead Double handed
Henry De Bromhead has a fantastic opportunity to win the race with A Plus Tard and Minella Indo. Minella Indo is a bit like Santini in that he seems to perform best at Cheltenham and is a fair price coming off the back of a fall at Leopardstown and a below par run in the Irish Gold Cup. The trainer was at pains to explain though that they didn’t make enough of a test of stamina last time and the important thing was to jump a clear round which he did. I think he was unlucky in last year’s RSA as think he was idling and looking at the crowd when Champ nailed him. He could easily run really well but finish 3rd or 4th. In A Plus Tard I think De Bromhead has an even better chance of glory and he was almost the selection. He put in a real strong finish to nail Kemboy in the Savills Chase at Leopardstown and he boasts really good Festival form to his name having won the Close Brothers Chase in 2019 and was 3rd in last year’s Ryanair Chase. Last March he was not weakening in the Ryanair Chase won by Min but seemingly getting outpaced before starting to stay on again at the finish. l think he is a huge player in a fascinating race and as Santini would not put anyone off backing him as he has a real chance.
Away from those already mentioned there are more stars that make up the field and are no means without a chance. We have Native River who beat Might Bite in the 2018 contest and was 4th to Al Boum Photo in 2019. He put in a cracking effort to beat Bristol De Mai at Sandown in testing conditions and if the heavens opened and the ground was really testing he would have a squeak for a stable whose horses are coming into a bit of form. The admirable Frodon, the apple of Bryony Frost’s eye runs for Paul Nicholls and will surely be one of the gambles come race day due to the popularity of both of them. As admirable as he though, will he stay the trip in what looks to be a fast run 3m 2 ½ f? Probably not. Finally, there are doubts over Kemboy and Melon who have alternate entries. Kemboy doesn’t seem to appreciate the stamina test of a Gold Cup. However, if Melon is re-routed from the Ryanair, he could finish in the top 6 given his love for the track and record at previous festivals.
Royal Pagaille To Win Gold
I love nothing more than seeing a young up and coming pretender taking the Blue Riband and Royale Pagaille fits the bill. There are a few similarities between him and Kauto Star who also was a French Bred and won the Gold Cup at 7 year’s old. Whilst Royale Pagaille is officially a novice that did not stop Coneygree winning the big race in 2015 and he is a Novice Chaser only in name. He has had plenty of chasing experience and whilst none at top class level has been winning his races impressively. He was on a lot of people's Gold Cup lists following his Haydock demolition in terrible ground off 11 stone 10lb and the official handicapper has raised him to 166 following that impressive win. This means he still has a bit to find on official ratings but that rating is purely guesswork. Whilst being impressed, he was not at the top of my list…. that was until I delved into his form even deeper. Connections clearly think he stays very well as they were muting the National Hunt Chase and he is still not a definite Gold Cup runner. However, he has plenty of pace. The day he won a Kempton handicap chase was the day that Shishkin won his novice and Nube Negra turned over Altior. Royale Pagaille’s final time per furlong was slower than both Shishkin and Nube Negra. However, whilst they were both eased down, Royale Pagaille’s rider Charlie Deutsch had not breathed on his horse at the finish and yet I have him jumping the last three fences and finishing from the last fence to the line in a quicker time in each split than Nube Negras over a much longer trip and having to carry 7lb more. Indeed, it wasn’t that far off Shishkin’s finishing effort which again was over much shorter and with 5lb less on his back.
😮Wow! Royale Pagaille makes easy work of the Peter Marsh! @tommyscu does the steering in the Ricci colours, as the talented @VenetiaWRacing gelding canters to success under top weight 🏆 pic.twitter.com/DaOZuidWaV— Haydock Park Races (@haydockraces) January 23, 2021
I am sure Royale Pagaille under the right conditions. i.e. ground on the soft side has plenty enough toe to go very close in a Cheltenham Gold Cup if his jumping in higher class stands up to the test. I have no idea who his rider would be if he was to run and whilst Charlie Deutsch would ride well, I would love to see Tom Scudamore back on. He has a cracking record at the festival and bags of experience. When asked how Rich Ricci came to have a horse with Venetia, she replied through Andrew Brooks. “We’ve met up on a few occasions since and he said (Ricci) to get in touch if she found a nice horse” Well she has certainly found a nice one in my mind and it would be ironic given all the great horses the owner has had with Willie Mullins, if he could win with one trained by another trainer. It would be great for Venetia too and finally make amends for what happened to Teeton Mill getting injured in the 1999 showpiece event.
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