Cheltenham Gold Cup: Galvin and A Plus Tard favourites for glory
Leading contenders for Cheltenham Gold Cup glory
The Cheltenham Gold Cup is the one they all want to win and the highlight of the Cheltenham Festival.
Henry de Bromhead made it five wins in the last six years for Irish trainers when saddling the winner of National Hunt racing’s most prestigious race for the first time in 2021.
The defending champion Minella Indo is just one of many looking to win the Festival blue riband and with the final list of runners and riders now confirmed, it is an ideal time to analyse all of the Cheltenham Gold Cup contenders and how they figure in the Cheltenham betting.
A Plus Tard
Although failing to defend his Savills Chase crown over the Christmas period, the son of Kapgarde is 10/3 joint-favourite in the Cheltenham Gold Cup betting.
That is perhaps due to the comprehensive way in which De Bromhead’s charge won the Betfair Chase at Haydock earlier this season where the seven-year-old travelled smoothly throughout in the hands of Rachael Blackmore, before drawing 22 lengths clear of his rivals to record an unchallenged victory on Merseyside.
De Bromhead’s leading hope heading into the race in 2021, he was unable to bridge the one-and-a-quarter length gap to stablemate Minella Indo in the closing stages and had to settle for a gallant silver medal.
He proved the 3m2f stamina-sapping test of the Cheltenham Gold Cup was no problem then and could go one better this time around in the week’s feature.
Disputing favouritism with A Plus Tard is his Leopardstown conqueror Galvin, who is also 10/3 in the Cheltenham Gold Cup betting.
The winner of the National Hunt Chase at the Cheltenham Festival in 2021, Gordon Elliott’s charge made himself a bona fide Cheltenham Gold Cup contender when defeating last year’s runner-up to claim the Savills Chase.
The dour stayer finished ahead of the defending champion Minella Indo when second to Frodon on reappearance at Down Royal and Elliott’s decision to campaign him in all of the key staying chases in the Emerald Isle looks to be paying dividend.
He has all the attributes to make his mark in the Cheltenham Festival showpiece and has to be considered the first string from Elliott’s Cullentra House stable.
Defeat in the King George left the defending champion with questions to answer, but his second in the Irish Gold Cup provides plenty of optimism that the two-time Cheltenham Festival winner is being primed to peak at the right time.
The winner of the Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle in 2019, he has only once failed to get his nose in front at Prestbury Park when second to Champ in the 2020 RSA and he comes alive when breathing in the Gloucestershire air.
He is 5/1 and with Robbie Power confirmed to take the ride, looks to have as good a chance as any to take the trophy home.
Second at Cheltenham in the Paddy Power Gold Cup on his reappearance, Dan Skelton’s seven-year-old took the step up to three miles in his stride when seen in the Many Clouds Chase at Aintree.
Having pulled jockey Bridget Andrews’ arms out for the majority of the contest, he cruised past former Gold Cup winner Native River entering the home straight and sauntered to a 25-length victory.
He has been put into the Cheltenham Gold Cup betting at 8/1 and appears to be the UK’s best chance of winning the blue riband.
Al Boum Photo
The two-time Cheltenham Gold Cup winner ultimately came up short in his quest to replicate Best Mate and win a hat-trick of titles, but can’t be overlooked in the Cheltenham Gold Cup betting at 10/1.
The gelding was sent off the 9/4 favourite when third behind Minella Indo and A Plus Tard in March, but lost little in defeat as he once again showed his liking for Cheltenham racecourse.
He also showed his love of Tramore once again when winning the Savills New Year’s Day Chase for the fourth successive season and with minimal mileage on the clock, he looks a real contender for Cheltenham Festival success once again.
Willie Mullins’ nine-year-old is 12/1 to follow up his shock victory in the King George with a win in the Cheltenham Festival feature.
Ridden to success at Kempton by Danny Mullins, Tornado Flyer took advantage of the frantic pace set by Frodon and Minella Indo to take over after the second last and give the Closutton handler his first win in the Christmas Grade One since 2001.
Only seen twice over three miles, he is something of an unknown quantity, but could prove a leading contender if staying the stamina-sapping 3m2f trip of the Cheltenham Gold Cup.
Seen as the UK’s best chance of a winner prior to his disappointing appearance in the King George, Nicky Henderson’s chaser did little to enhance his claims despite winning the Cotswolds Chase on Cheltenham Trials Day.
He was all-out at the finish to beat former Gold Cup runner-up Santini and his jumping was laboured at best throughout, with rider Nico de Boinville dismounting a visually tired horse immediately after the finishing line.
Henderson was quick to highlight that Gold Cups are won in March and not January and there is plenty of improvement to come, but at 16/1 others look much more reliable.
Venetia Williams’ dour stayer had excuses when a well-beaten sixth in the Cheltenham Gold Cup last year, finishing the race lame, and is given the chance to set the record straight in March.
His handler is enjoying a phenomenal season and is already on the scoresheet at Prestbury Park this season.
He is a 20/1 shot in the Cheltenham betting and would have an outside chance in an open year.
"Hopefully we'll have the ground to take him to @CheltenhamRaces in March"
Venetia Williams reacts to that gutsy performance from Royale Pagaille
— ITV Racing (@itvracing) January 22, 2022
Twice falling when in contention for Grade One prizes this season, this mercurial talent was last seen disappointing when sent off the 5/2 favourite for the Irish Gold Cup.
He is proving expensive to follow, but it would some up this quirky grey if he was to oblige in the biggest race of all at 22/1.
The 10-year-old Santini has been there and done it and also got a Cheltenham Gold Cup silver medal on his mantlepiece, but it is difficult to see him landing a telling blow this time around.
He was second in the Cotswolds Chase last time and may be using this as a stepping stone towards the Grand National and that is shown in his Gold Cup odds of 50/1.
Another to run in the Cotswolds Chase last time out, this seasoned handicapper is entitled to take his chance in the Cheltenham Gold Cup, but is likely to be making up the numbers this time.
He was a winner at Newcastle on his penultimate start, but looks to have at least 10lb to find with the other contenders to get involved here at 66/1.
All odds and market correct at date of publication