Want the lowdown on this year’s Cheltenham Gold Cup runners? It’s the blue riband event of steeplechasing and centrepiece of the Cheltenham Festival run over an extended three-and-a-quarter miles on the New Course on Friday, 13 April.
This is one of those races everyone involved in National Hunt wants to win. Read on for our full Gold Cup runners guide.
1. Al Boum Photo – 7/2
Lightly-raced eight-year-old who broke trainer Willie Mullins’s duck by landing the spoils 12 months ago. Beaten in the Punchestown Gold Cup by stable companion Kemboy thereafter, but had exactly the same preparation for Cheltenham this year.
Al Boum Photo heads the Gold Cup runners and the betting, although history is against him. No horse since Best Mate has won this back-to-back, but this particular horse has done very little if anything wrong.
J: P. Townend
T: W. P. Mullins, Ireland
2. Bristol De Mai – 25/1
Haydock specialist has never won at this venue in five previous attempts for trainer Nigel Twiston-Davies. Third in the Gold Cup last season, he was runner-up to Santini in the Grade 2 Cotswold Chase on Festival Trials Day in January when last in action.
Although he represents a local yard, Bristol De Mai isn’t getting any younger at nine and it just might be that Cheltenham isn’t his track. This season’s form doesn’t match previous campaigns, but Simon Munir and Isaac Souede’s gelding will still take his chance.
J: Daryl Jacob
T: Nigel Twiston-Davies
3. Chris’s Dream – 14/1
Improving Henry De Bromhead trained horse who acts best on a softer surface. Was withdrawn from the Irish Gold Cup on drying ground at the Dublin Racing Festival, but impressive winner of the Troytown Handicap Chase at Navan before that.
Chris’s Dream followed-up in the Grade 2 Red Mills Chase on Gowran Park Trials Day. Also entered in the Ryanair Chase on St Patrick’s Thursday and there looks to be more to come from the eight-year-old. A lively outsider.
J: Aidan Coleman
T: Henry de Bromhead, Ireland
4. Clan Des Obeaux – 7/1
Dual King George VI Chase hero has no winning form at Cheltenham and failed to stay the Gold Cup trip when fifth last year. Trainer Paul Nicholls insists Clan Des Obeaux is in the form of his life and even fitter than 12 months ago, however.
Course form – he is zero from five but has finished second here three times – a negative for the eight-year-old part-owned by Sir Alex Ferguson. Cheltenham demands different attributes than Kempton Park but has been supported in the Gold Cup betting since Christmas.
J: Harry Cobden
T: Paul Nicholls
5. Delta Work – 9/2
The most-fancied of Elliott’s Cheltenham Gold Cup runners and winner of three Grade 1s in Ireland since coming third in the RSA Novices’ Chase here last year. Delta Work was behind Santini on that occasion but has continued to improve – especially on his reappearance run at Down Royal.
Two staying chase successes at Leopardstown, including the Irish Gold Cup last time out, have made him into a leading contender from the Emerald Isle. At the age of seven, he’s open to even more progress too.
J: M. P. Walsh
T: Gordon Elliott, Ireland
6. Elegant Escape – 66/1
Sixth last year and not in as good form this season. Elegant Escape was pulled up in the Grand National Trial at Haydock over further and Colin Tizzard’s charge is hard to fancy on that basis. Aintree and the National itself looks to be in the eight-year-old’s future.
7. Kemboy – 7/1
Impressive Aintree Bowl and Punchestown Gold Cup hero took a bad step on landing after jumping the first in this last year and unseated his rider. Kemboy will forever be known as the horse Ruby Walsh retired on.
The eight-year-old hasn’t matched last term’s form this season for Mullins. Needs to improve on Irish Gold Cup run and zero from three previous Cheltenham visits.
J: Mr P. W. Mullins
T: W. P. Mullins
8. Lostintranslation – 6/1
Not at the races in the King George, but very impressive winner of a Haydock Grade 1 under an ice-cool ride from Robbie Power beforehand. Had a wind op since Kempton for Tizzard and Lostintranslation chased home Defi Du Seuil in last season’s JLT Novices’ Chase at the Festival.
He then stepped up to three miles at Aintree and finished his campaign with a win. Lostintranslation has claims on the pick of his form, but the breathing operation needs to do the trick in an ultra-competitive event like this.
J: Robbie Power
T: Colin Tizzard
9. Monalee – 25/1
Another of De Bromhead’s Gold Cup runners, Monalee ran a huge race in defeat at Leopardstown last time out when just beaten a head by Delta Work in the Grade 1 Savills Chase. Kept fresh for this since and regular jockey Rachael Blackmore has had another fine season.
Monalee has often been the bridesmaid at past Festivals, placing three times. If the nine-year-old gets the trip, then he has a squeak of at least the same again on the pick of his form.
J: Rachael Blackmore
T: Henry de Bromhead
10. Presenting Percy – 12/1
Dual Cheltenham Festival winner was sent off favourite for this 12 months ago and finished lame after a frustrating campaign. Shrewd Irish trainer Pat Kelly has at least got runs into Presenting Percy this season and they haven’t been totally devoid of promise after injury.
The nine-year-old does have something to find on Leopardstown form with Delta Work. If the Presenting Percy that won the RSA in 2018 turns up, then he should go close.
J: Davy Russell
T: Patrick G. Kelly
11. Real Steel – 33/1
Unproven as a stayer and never travelling in the Red Mills Chase last time out. Mullins has given Real Steel the option of the Ryanair Chase which, on his two Grade 2 successes at Down Royal and Thurles, looks a more likely option for the seven-year-old.
J: Brian Hughes
T: W. P. Mullins
12. Santini – 4/1
Nicky Henderson has had the Gold Cup in mind for this eight-year-old for a long time. Runner-up in the RSA last season, Santini has been solid rather than spectacular in winning both of his starts this term.
A leading British contender, horses that won the Cotswold Chase have a poor record of going on and following-up in this. Santini is lightly-raced for his age, however, and has placed at the last two Festivals. His time may be now.
Paddy’s Cheltenham Gold Cup Tips
Al Boum Photo and Delta Work are the leading Gold Cup runners from Ireland. History is against the former. Kemboy has questions to answer, as do others like Presenting Percy who have finished in-behind the latter.
The home team is headed by Santini and Lostintranslation, if you forgive him his last run. Clan Des Obeaux needs to translate Kempton form to Cheltenham. Chris’s Dream and Monalee are two interesting outsiders but may be split up.
*All odds correct at time of publishing.
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