• Hands Heels

Gold Cup Chase (Grade One)

15:05 Cheltenham 19/03

For some people this is the biggest national hunt race of the entire year, bigger than the national. I tend to agree with that and it is one of the most prestigious races on the calender. A fascinating contest over three miles and two furlongs, this is a real test of stamina and an odd distance which really tests the horses ability. You need to have good tactical speed as it is often raced at a high intensity, as well as the extra stamina which comes into effect after the three mile mark up the hill. This year we have Al Boum Photo the winner of the last two years aiming for his third consecutive win here and his place in the history books.

Second in the market we have Champ the dramatic winner of last years RSA staying on like a steam train to beat Minella Indo and Allaho. That looked a good race but the form hasn’t worked out amazingly this year with Minella Indo disappointing and none of the others really coming on for it, bar Allaho. His only prep run for this Gold Cup was in the game spirit over a little over two miles. He did run well that day but that is no prep for a Gold Cup. He is a very good horse, but I would not be backing him from what we’ve seen so far and not enough for me to be worried backing Al Boum Photo.

We then have A Plus Tard who is most often seen over two and a half or less. He did win the three mile Savills chase at Leopardstown but I’m still not convinced that he wants any further. He won late that day but the leaders had gone out quickly and I think I would look quick running past tiring horses. At 6/1 with no form over further than three I will take him on too. Frodon is in here to at 14/1 on the back of a good run in the King George. I don’t like that form and think that he willl find a couple too good in this, as he did in last years Ryanair, I don’t think he will get an uncontested lead as he was allowed the last time. Santini needs about 8 miles and would still look outpaced, he stayed on well last year for second but that race fell apart and think Al Boum holds him on all previous form. Royale Pagaille deserves his shot in this after winning a grade two by sixteen lengths in convincing style. He may end up running elsewhere as he is still a novice, but you couldn’t blame connections for giving this a shot even if he found a few too good he may end up placing.

Native River, the 2018 winner, arrives in good form with three wins and a third this year after coming fourth in the Gold Cup last year. Now 11 years old it would be some ask for him but he jumps well and arrives in as good form as ever so may be a good outsider.

Outside of them I think there a few with any chance whatsoever, my only play here would be Al Boum to notch the hat trick and on exactly the same prep as last year arrives with what I feel a great chance and great value at 11/4. If any other horse had won the race twice they would be odds on for it the third year, Best Mate started his third at 8/11, Arkle was 1/10 for his third. If not only for the history side of backing him, Al Boum Photo is the best horse in the race and has nothing to prove.


Al Boum Photo 11/4 1pt win

Treble 10/1 0.5pts – Monkfish Brown Advisory and Envoi Allen Marsh

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