Cheltenham Gold Cup Tips: 2024 Betting Preview & Trends

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Cheltenham Gold Cup Tips: 2024 Betting Preview & Trends
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The Cheltenham Gold Cup is the big one - the most prestigious race in the jumps calendar and the showpiece event of the Cheltenham Festival. 

Here are our Gold Cup tips for 2024, with insight into the leading contenders and the best horse racing odds from UK betting sites.

Cheltenham Gold Cup Tips

Quick Gold Cup Betting Preview: The Big Questions

Galopin Des Champs came of age in the 2023 Gold Cup, justifying short-priced favouritism in the style of a horse that could dominate the race for years to come.

A vintage renewal it was not, but to put seven lengths between himself and runner-up Bravemansgame after the last marked Galopin Des Champs down as an outstanding staying chaser - one who could still have more to offer at just seven years of age.

However, Willie Mullins’ star was subsequently beaten by Fastorslow at Punchestown in April, which was a disappointing way to end the season.

Furthermore, the form of that Gold Cup success has become more questionable with each passing month since.

The next four horses home, Bravemansgame, Conflated, Noble Yeats and Protektorat have only registered one win between them since. And then there was Galopin’s inauspicious return in the John Durkan Memorial Chase at Punchestown, where he once again trailed in behind Fastorslow.

At that point, doubts were really starting to grow and he wasn't topping too many Gold Cup tips lists. But then everything changed at Leopardstown over Christmas.

In what looked by far the deepest staying chase of the season, Galopin Des Champs decided the time had come to show the world that last year’s Gold Cup success was no fluke.

Paul Townend barely had to move a muscle as he cruised past rivals on the bridle before sauntering a remarkable 23 lengths clear of Gerri Colombe.

It was, by some distance, the outstanding performance of any chaser this season and one that forced horse racing bookies into taking evasive action.

The eight-year-old then cemented his status as the clear favourite for the 2024 Cheltenham Gold Cup with an Irish Gold Cup win last month.

Victory was particularly sweet for trainer Willie Mullins as Galopin edged out old foe Fastorslow by four-and-a-half lengths to secure an emphatic win and avenge his defeats to Martin Brassil’s chaser.

Galopin Des Champs is once again at the top of the tree and has been the focus of most Gold Cup tips columns. However, if there is one thing we have learned about him over the last year, it’s that he can be unpredictable.

That inconsistency, for all that there are excuses for each of his defeats, will ensure that the more daring punters will want to take him on in the Gold Cup betting.


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Can Fastorslow Complete Hat-Trick Over Galopin Des Champs?

It’s rare for a horse to be beaten in a Cheltenham handicap and then be second-favourite for a Gold Cup 12 months later.

However, Fastorslow stands out as an obvious candidate to lower Galopin Des Champs’ Gold Cup colours.

He was beaten just a neck despite conceding weight to subsequent Grand National hero Corach Rambler in the Ultima Handicap Chase and then won Grade 1s at Punchestown in his next two starts.

Fastorslow

Trainer Martin Brassil will want to overturn the disappointing loss to Galopin at Leopardstown in February and complete a hat-trick of wins over this year's Gold Cup favourite.

Fastorslow has more tactical speed than many a three-mile chaser and he’d be a fascinating contender if ground conditions came up nearer good than soft.

But three miles, two-and-a-half furlongs on a stiff track like Cheltenham will surely make him vulnerable to stronger stayers, especially on slow ground.

Is Gerri Colombe’s Bubble Burst?

Gerri Colombe, one of the leading staying novices from last season, was only a couple of points behind Galopin Des Champs in Gold Cup betting heading into Christmas.

His odds tumbled after a stirring late charge took him to the front late on in the Grade 1 Ladbrokes Champion Chase at Down Royal in November.

Gerri has long looked a bona-fide Gold Cup candidate but any Festival hopes were dealt a devastating blow when he was basically lapped by Galopin Des Champs when the pair met in the Savills Chase at Leopardstown on Boxing Day.

Galopin heads into Cheltenham as the clear favourite following his dominant win in the Irish Gold Cup last month, where Gerri Colombe was absent, skipping the engagement in order to arrive at Prestbury Park fresh.

On the face of it, Gerri faces an uphill battle but it's worth remembering that this is his first season out of novice company, so it will be a surprise if he doesn’t bounce back from his last run at some point.

He makes my Gold Cup tips list for an each-way punt at odds of 17/2 with Betfred.

Best Of British

With Bravemansgame now defeated on all four starts since last year’s Gold Cup second and the likes of Protektorat and Ahoy Senor seemingly out of the reckoning, the best of the home challenge appears to be Shishkin – yes, you read that correctly!

Shishkin’s racing career was in danger of going south after he refused to jump off in the 1965 Chase at Ascot, but he may well have won the King George had he not unshipped Nico de Boinville at the second-last when in front.

That performance raises genuine hope that he can throw down a challenge and it's why I include him as an each-way pick in my tips for the Gold Cup at odds of 6/1 with Betfred.

It’s surely fair to say that his class got him into second in last year’s Ryanair Chase, where he was slow to get going and was short of daylight at several of his fences.

Shishkin

He looked much sharper at Kempton and got the job done in the Denman Chase in decent fashion last month. 

We know he’s a strong stayer who is proven around Cheltenham, so he’s no forlorn hope to go well in the Gold Cup.

One footnote to that King George form – Hewick (20/1) will be a lively Gold Cup outsider if ground conditions are on the good side. But he doesn’t have the class or stamina to win a Gold Cup on soft ground.


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Guide to Each Gold Cup Runner

Now let's take a detailed look at all of the contenders in this year's Gold Cup field:

Ahoy Senor 

Has some high-class form but has become difficult to predict and is never guaranteed to put in a decent round of jumping, as was the case when falling in this race 12 months ago.

There have been signs of life in his last couple of runs, not least in the Cotswold Chase where he would clearly have finished much closer had his rider been able to ride him out in the closing stages (stirrup leather broke).

Would need to be at his very best to go well in a strong Gold Cup, but is also entered in the Ryanair Chase, which looks a more realistic target. 

Bravemansgame

Ran a huge race in defeat when second in last year’s Gold Cup when sent off as a well-backed 6/1 third-favourite.

Likely to be a much bigger price this time around having not tasted success since the 2022 King George.

Continues to run to a very high level, not least when only beaten a length and a half in the 2023 King George despite having been slightly hampered by Shishkin two out.

Paul Nicholls' chaser has appeared in more than a few Gold Cup tips columns and connections appear confident that he’s ready to run another big race. 

There'll be no surprise, however, if he finds at least a couple of younger rivals too good.

Conflated

Third in the 2023 Gold Cup (beaten by 13 lengths), his losing run stretches back to December 2022.

Hard to see how he can close the gap on last year’s winner and looks much more likely to run in either the Cross Country Chase (9/2) or the Ryanair Chase (10/1).

Corach Rambler  

Won a second Ultima Handicap Chase before running away with the Grand National the following month and appears to be coming to the boil just in time for another big spring assault

His official rating of 159 means he still has around 20lb to find with Galopin Des Champs.

Needs a career-best to win a Gold Cup but a big run here would set him up nicely for the defence of his Grand National Crown. 

Fastorslow

A neck behind Corach Rambler in last year’s Ultima but has taken form to a higher level since. Wins include a victory over Galopin Des Champs in the Punchestown Gold Cup.

Overcame an inadequate trip and steady pace to win the John Durkan but was firmly put in his place by Galopin Des Champs in the Irish Gold Cup at Leopardstown.

The big question is whether he is a strong enough stayer to win a Gold Cup but some spring ground would certainly be a help to him and there'll be no surprise if he hits the frame, at least.

Galopin Des Champs 

Would have won the 2022 Turners but for a dramatic fall when miles clear at the last.

Subsequently won four Grade 1 chases. The last was a dominant seven-length success in the 2023 Gold Cup, where he travelled all over his rivals before forging clear of Bravemansgame up the hill.

Hasn't been plain sailing since, but he looked right back to his best in the Savills Chase, winning by a spectacular 24 lengths.

No drama when winning the Irish Gold Cup with plenty to spare and appears to be perfectly placed to defend his crown

The horse to beat according to most Gold Cup tips columns but his short odds will see many punters opting to take him on. 

Gentlemansgame

Has only had three starts over fences but has put down strong showings each time.

Hasn't been seen since outpointing Bravemansgame in the Charlie Hall Chase at Wetherby back in November. Winning a Gold Cup on the back of an almost blank season is surely a big ask.

However he is trained by the wily Mouse Morris, who will have him primed for the big day.

Gerri Colombe

The horse many expect to be the biggest danger to Galopin Des Champs in this year’s Gold Cup.

Somehow beaten by a short head in last year’s Brown Advisory Novices Chase by The Real Whacker before making amends in style at Aintree.

Got the pulses racing when flying home to land the Ladbrokes Champion Chase at Down Royal. He traded at around 4/1 for the Gold Cup after that race.

He'll go off at a much bigger price after being thrashed by Galopin Des Champs in the Savills Chase, where he looked laboured in the closing stages.

Hard to know if that was his true running but remains a horse with significant upside at the top level and has been freshened up for this since the turn of the year. No surprise at all if he runs a huge race.

Hewick

Costing just £800, Hewick is one of the equine bargains of modern times, having already amassed more than £600,000 in career earnings.

The 8-year-old earned a good chunk of that prize money after flying home from an unpromising position to win the King George at Kempton on Boxing Day.

Still in there before falling at the second last in last year’s Gold Cup and has been kept fresh for this year's race. 

Drying ground would aid his cause plenty and he’s touted as a place contender in some Gold Cup tips columns.

Jungle Boogie

A lightly-raced, talented but fragile chaser who posted a career-best when beating some decent yardsticks, including Classic Getaway, in a Tramore Grade 3 on New Year’s Day.

Remains capable of better and could easily end up being a Grade 1 animal. A Gold Cup is surely way too big of an ask on just his third chase start.

L'Homme Presse

Impressive winner of the 2022 Brown Advisory. 

Sidelined for more than a year before making a winning return at Lingfield (beat Protektorat by two and a quarter lengths) in January.

Not great, but far from disgraced when no match for Pic D’Orhy in the Ascot Chase - though his cause wasn’t helped by the quick turnaround, slight drop in trip and right-handed track.

It’s highly likely we’ll see a much better version of L’Homme Presse in the Gold Cup and he is another runner that can capitalise on any mistakes from the favourite.

Monkfish

Already a two-time Cheltenham Festival winner whose career has been ravaged by setbacks in the last couple of years.

Returned from a 273-day break with a bang at Gowran Park in January to win a Grade 2 hurdle. 

Is by no means certain to turn up in the Friday feature, with connections seemingly split on whether he'll run in the Gold Cup or the Stayers' Hurdle. The latter option looks more realistic given he hasn’t jumped a fence in public since 2021.

Nassalam

A mud-lover enjoying the form of his life after running out a stunning 34-length winner of the Welsh National at Chepstow.

The Grand National is his main aim and ground conditions at Cheltenham will probably determine whether he even runs in the Gold Cup. 

If it were to come up very soft, he’d be firmly in the equation.

Protektorat

Two-time Grade 1 winning chaser who was third in the 2022 Gold Cup - though he was beaten by more than 17 lengths by A Plus Tard.

Not quite as good nowadays having been beaten below the top level on his last three starts. 

No match for Shishkin at Newbury, it looks like Protektorat’s Gold Cup prospects have come and gone.

Connections are leaning towards the Ryanair (by no means confirmed) instead, a race in which he would have a much better chance - especially on soft ground. 

Shishkin

Top-class, six-time Grade 1-winning chaser but not the most straightforward prospect.

Would have probably won the King George if not for a mistake from two out that unseated Nico de Boinville. 

Not at his brilliant best in the Denman Chase but got the job done in decent enough fashion. 

Has long looked like a potential Gold Cup horse and it’s easy to see him running a huge race if he can get into a nice jumping rhythm.

The Real Whacker

Edged out Gerri Colombe in a thrilling finish to last year’s Brown Advisory (jumped well, made all).

Bounced back from his Paddy Power Gold Cup no-show when a 10-length fourth in the King George before running to a similar level in the Grade 2 Cotswold Chase.

Hard to pull off positive tactics in a Gold Cup - especially in a big field and hasn’t achieved as much as several rivals. Will need to take form to a new level to figure in the finish

Latest Cheltenham Gold Cup Prices

Below are the latest Gold Cup odds. Ahead of Cheltenham, you can check out our Cheltenham Festival Odds page for the latest prices on all 28 races.

Cheltenham Gold Cup Trends (Since 2000)

  • Avoid Older Runners: No horse aged older than 9 has won the Gold Cup this century.
  • Only The Cream Need Apply: Every one of the 23 Gold Cup winners this century was already a Grade 1 winner going into the race.
  • Festival Form Counts: Since the turn of the century, 16 Gold Cup winners had previously finished first or second at the Cheltenham Festival. Furthermore, 22 of the 23 winners had previously run at the festival.
  • Recent Winning Form Crucial: 21 of the 23 winners this century had won at least one race previously that season.
  • Monitor The Market: Big-priced winners are rare. 19 of the last 23 winners came from the top three in the betting. Three of the last four favourites have won.
  • Lightly-Raced Chasers Tend To Excel: 20 of the last 23 winners had run no more than 12 times over fences.
  • Take Irish Dominance Into Account: Irish-trained runners have won the last five renewals and eight of the last 10.
  • Key Festive Trials: 18 of the last 23 Gold Cup winners ran in either the King George VI Chase or the Savills Chase in Ireland.
  • Stamina Is Essential: 13 of the last 14 Gold Cup winners had previously won at least once over 3m+.

Recent Cheltenham Gold Cup Winners

YearWinner
2023Galopin Des Champs
2022A Plus Tard
2021Minella Indo
2020Al Boum Photo
2019Al Boum Photo
2018Native River
2017Sizing John
2016Don Cossack
2015Coneygree
2014Lord Windermere

2024 Cheltenham Gold Cup Tips - The Verdict

For many, Galopin Des Champs is one of the bankers of the entire meeting. 

However, as we’ve mentioned above, the reigning champ has shown his vulnerabilities on the Grade 1 scene and isn't a bombproof favourite.

With that in mind, two each-way options against the favourite are GERRI COLOMBE, who is better than he showed at Leopardstown over Christmas and still has loads of upside in this division, and SHISHKIN.

Shishkin demonstrated that he is still capable of top-class form at Kempton, for all that he didn’t finish the job. If this strong stayer is on the ball in the early stages of the Gold Cup, he could easily prove a threat to all, including Galopin Des Champs.

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