The Cheltenham Gold Cup is the blue riband event of National Hunt staying chases. It’s one big race that punters all want to win, but what are the pros and cons of this year’s leading contenders?
It’s well worth considering the merits and drawbacks of all Gold Cup hopefuls and their profiles before betting. Let’s take a look at the 2019 crop and their latest odds with Betfair…
RSA Chase winner Presenting Percy heads the betting at 7/2. While that’s a price Betting.Betfair’s Cheltenham racing tips suggest you leave alone as he ought to be that or better on Gold Cup day itself, the eight-year-old is two from two at the Festival.
That course form over three miles stands Pat Kelly’s stable star in good stead. Presenting Percy has missed a number of key targets this season, however, swerving the good ground that big staying chases in Ireland were run.
Clan Des Obeaux
The leading British contender for the Cheltenham Gold Cup this might just be Paul Nicholls’ improving seven-year-old Clan Des Obeaux. As the King George and Denman Chase winner, he arguably sets the standard as far as UK runners are concerned.
Those major victories for Clan Des Obeaux have seen his Gold Cup odds tumble to 5/1. The wins have come at right-handed tracks, however, and he’s a three-time runner-up in four previous runs at Cheltenham. He’ll have to go one better at the Festival to justify that price.
Last year’s Gold Cup hero Native River hasn’t won since his Cheltenham triumph. Owners Brocade Racing had the £1,000,000 Jockey Club bonus in mind for the nine-year-old as he attempted to win all three of the UK’s Grade 1 staying chases. Native River placed in both of the other valuable races to his credit.
The problem is that the Betfair Chase at Haydock and King George at Kempton don’t play to the strengths of Native River. He is now a top-price 6/1 to retain the Gold Cup for trainer Colin Tizzard, but if the ground came up soft again those odds would surely shorten.
Irish champion trainer Willie Mullins has never won the Cheltenham Gold Cup. His leading contender to end that hoodoo this year looks to be Kemboy, who ran out an impressive winner of the Savills Chase at Leopardstown over Christmas.
The seven-year-old is another young horse on a serious upward curve over fences. Gold Cup odds of 10/1 reflect that, but Kemboy must improve on previous Cheltenham performances where he’s been outpaced at the last two Festivals. Mullins could also saddled both Bellshill and Al Boum Photo in search of that elusive win.
Road To Respect
Noel Meade’s top staying chaser Road To Respect was fourth in the Cheltenham Gold Cup last year, but has run a string of solid races since. The eight-year-old won the Champion Chase at Down Royal on reappearance in really taking style.
Road To Respect has been unlucky not to follow-up in two subsequent starts at Leopardstown when stumbling in the Savills Chase. He was also just denied a short-head in the Irish Gold Cup by Bellshill and is 12/1 to go one better at Cheltenham