Gold Cup: 4 Al Boum Photo rivals for Cheltenham 2021 including 14/1 shot

Al Boum Photo is hunting a third Gold Cup

A Plus Tard Champ Kemboy Native River Gold Cup

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*All prices are bang up to date with our snazzy widget, while in-copy odds are accurate at the time of publication but subject to change

Al Boum Photo is looking to write his name into the history books at the 2021 Cheltenham Festival with a third consecutive Gold Cup victory.

Willie Mullins’ nine-year-old would join Cottage Rake, Arkle and Best Mate on the honour roll of triple winners if successful this year, although he would still remain some way short of Golden Miller’s five triumphs.

Al Boum Photo is expected to set off favourite for the showpiece contest at Prestbury Park, but which challengers are most likely to threaten the defending champion?

Remember, Paddy Power are offering non-runner money back on every single race at the Cheltenham Festival so you will not lose out if your selection doesn’t run.

A Plus Tard

A PLUS TARD announced himself with victory in the 2019 Close Brothers Novices’ Handicap Chase and later caught the eye when beating Chacun Pour Soi over 2m1f at Leopardstown later in the year.

The Henry de Bromhead-trained challenger was then third in the Ryanair Chase at last year’s festival behind Min and Saint Calvados before mugging Kemboy and Melon in December’s high-class Savills Chase.

A Plus Tard (OR 170)
Chase Runs – 10, Wins – 4, Placings – 2121/3213-21

A Plus Tard has barely run this season, with that win at Leopardstown only his second outing, so will be fresh while he is happy on all types of ground but there are still question marks over his stamina.

The Gold Cup will be the furthest distance he has ever run, and it remains to be seen if he can tough it out up the infamous Cheltenham hill.

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Champ

CHAMP is a certain stayer, based on his thunderous finish to snatch victory in the RSA Chase last year when he pipped Minella Indo and Allaho from way back.

He was also a Grade 1 winner over hurdles earlier in his career and shaped nicely when runner-up to Sceau Royal on his seasonal reappearance at Newbury in the Game Spirit Chase – that time over a distance of slightly more than 2m which was far too sharp for him.

Champ (OR 165)
Chase Runs – 5, Wins – 3, Placings – 11F1-2

The 3m2f around the New Course at Cheltenham should therefore suit Nicky Henderson’s star chaser much better, although his preparation has been disrupted by a breathing operation.

He has previously struggled for consistency in his jumping, but those problems were not apparent at Newbury and he could be a real threat to Al Boum Photo and co.

Kemboy

KEMBOY is proven at the highest level with wins over formidable fields in Grade 1 contests, not least his victory in the Irish Gold Cup last time out at Leopardstown.

The nine-year-old even beat Al Boum Photo in the 2019 Punchestown Gold Cup and saw off Clan Des Obeaux in the Betway Bowl earlier in that campaign but found Presenting Percy too strong on his seasonal reappearance at Thurles this term and was robbed on the line by A Plus Tard in December’s Savills Chase.

Kemboy (OR 169)
Chase Runs – 17, Wins – 8, Placings – 214F11/11U1/1427-221

Kemboy’s form against the expected field is strong but his record at Cheltenham is poor, with four disappointing showings at previous festivals – including unseating Patrick Mullins at the first in the 2019 Gold Cup and coming home a distant seventh in last year’s renewal.

Willie Mullins talked about running him back over flights in the Paddy Power Stayers’ Hurdle, so victory here would certainly be a surprise.

Kemboy Danny Mullins Leopardstown February 7, 2021

Native River

NATIVE RIVER has been a consistent performer in Gold Cups over recent years, securing a wonderful win in 2018 and also hitting the frame in 2017 and 2019.

He didn’t feature in last season’s renewal but showed there is plenty of running still left in his 11-year-old legs with victory in February’s rescheduled Cotswold Chase when up against Bristol De Mai and Santini.

Native River (OR 172)
Chase Runs – 20, Wins – 11, Placings – 3113321/11113/11/234/11-31

Colin Tizzard will be hoping the ground comes up soft, as his charger excels in testing conditions but struggles when the going is good.

Native River would be a popular winner with the punters if he can pull off a shock, but time may finally start to catch up with the experienced campaigner if the conditions are not suitable.

Native River

*All prices are bang up to date with our snazzy widget, while in-copy odds are accurate at the time of publication but subject to change

CHELTENHAM FESTIVAL‘S BIG RACES

March 16 – 13.20 – Supreme Novices’ Hurdle latest odds and tips

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March 18 – 15.05 – Paddy Power Stayers’ Hurdle latest odds and tips

March 19 – 13.20 – Triumph Hurdle latest odds and tips

March 19 – 14.30 – Albert Bartlett Novices’ Chase latest odds and tips

March 19 – 15.05 – Gold Cup latest odds and tips

March 19 – 16.15 – Mrs Paddy Power Mares’ Chase latest odds and tips

*Paddy will be all over your telly box throughout the Cheltenham Festival sponsoring ITV’s live coverage from Prestbury Park – and you can get free and exclusive tipping columns EVERY DAY from Ruby Walsh, Matt Chapman and Mick Fitzgerald here on PP News.

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