The Cheltenham Gold Cup is rightfully regarded as one the most prestigious horse races in the world. This is the place where household names are born: champions such as Denman, Desert Orchid, Arkle and Kauto Star are known, not just to horse racing buffs, but to casual sports fans from all over the world.
A packed crowd of punters will hold their breath in anticipation before releasing a frenzied roar to mark the start of this exhilarating race, and millions of pounds will be wagered in the final build up to the race. So where should you put your money this year?
Let’s start with the favourite, the Paul Nicholls-trained Silviniaco Conti. This 9-year-old has plenty of credentials to back up his position in the market but despite winning his second King George VI Chase back in December, there are still doubts about his suitability at this distance. A current price of 7/2 (4.5) shows that there is plenty of confidence amongst punters but those looking for the right balance of form to value might not be convinced.
A horse that should like this trip is the Noel Meade-trained Road to Riches. This impressive looking eight-year-old bagged a Champion Chase and Lexus Chase double at the end of last year and is still available at a price of 9/1 (10.00) with most bookmakers.
Anyone who saw Many Clouds romp home to victory in the Hennessy Gold Cup last November might fancy backing the Oliver Sherwood-trained horse. The eight-year-old certainly has the stamina for this course while his jumping prowess has prompted talk of a Grand National entry. A further victory in the Betbright Cup at the Cheltenham trials put Many clouds firmly on the radar and he can currently be backed at 8/1 (9.00) across the board.
Lord Windermere will be back to defend his crown and at first glance, his recent form does not look convincing. However, despite losing to Road to Riches in the Lexus Chase, the 9-year-old has been trained by Jim Culloty specifically with this race in mind, and could pull off yet another surprise. If you fancy a repeat performance of last year, you can still get a very generous 14/1 (15.00) at several bookies.
Another horse that has got tongues wagging is Holywell. The Jonjo O’Neill-trained horse has previous form at the festival – with two wins to his name – but since his Mildmay Novices Chase victory under AP McCoy last April, his form has been patchy to say the least. However, he seems to be hitting his stride at just the right time and got back to winning ways under McCoy with victory in the Ivan Straker Memorial Chase at Kelso. He will be reunited with jockey Richie McLernon – who rode him to glory at the last two Cheltenham festivals – for his Gold Cup attempt. Holywell can be backed at 10/1 (11.00) with Bet365.
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