This is the blue riband of National Hunt Racing, the Betfred Cheltenham Gold Cup. It has been won by some greats down the years and in recent times they include DENMAN and KAUTO STAR. Imperial Commander is now out and the sad demise of Synchronised, last year’s winner, means the only previous winner in this field is Long Run. This is the most wide open Gold Cup seen for sometime.
· 13 of the winners in the last 15 renewals had a previous run at a past Festival, which is 9% better than expected and 10 winners had either won or placed in a past Festival race from 103 runners, that’s 7% better than expected. Neither of those are massively strong statistics since past festival form horses are over bet, but it can’t be ignored when narrowing the field. · 8 of the last 15 ran in a Grade 1 race last time out from just 51 runners, which is 49% better than expected. · Irish Breds have won 12 of the 15, 34% better than expected. · If we add in Grade 2 last time out then 13 of the 15 ran in a Grade 1 or 2 last time out, 30% more than expected. · 12 of the last 15 were in the top 3 in the betting. · 10 of the last 15 ran at exactly 3 miles last time out · Horses winning last time out won 8 of the last 15 renewals.
A field of 11 horses contest the 2013 Gold Cup, competitive but there is no one stand out horse, all have questions to answer. These are the horses I see as the main players.
BOBS WORTH, cky Henderson thinks a huge amount about Bob’s Worth. Bred by his jockey Barry Geraghty it would be an extra special win for him. He comes here with just one run under his belt this season although that was a 3 ¼ length beating of Tidal Nay in the Hennessy Gold Cup, his Cheltenham record reads 1-1-1-1. Henderson’s record with horses at Cheltenham is second to none. Off a long rest is not no good. Bobs Worth is the favourite and rightly so!
SIR DES CHAMPS, also has an unbeaten Cheltenham and Festival but his form this year is not good enough to land this. Would need to improve on what we have seen.
SILVINIACO CONTI is the big hope and the up and coming chaser to fill the boots of Denman and Kauto Star. Nicholls is bullish and what he has done this season puts him in the mix. Could give Bobs Worth a race.
LONG RUN bids to regain his crown but vibes are not good. Cheek Pieces will be worn and he doesn’t look the horse of old. Won the King George, yes, but just, and should be not match for Bobs Worth or Conti.
Of the outsiders the each way play in the race is THE GIANT BOLSTER 14/1. David Bridgewater is a hard worker and he has trained this horse to get 100% out of it. If you put 100% in you reap what you sew. Placed in a Gold Cup already he has a real chance at value odds.
For me the outstanding two horses are BOBS WORTH and SILVINIACO CONTI. A pro bet would be to Dutch the two. Put a gun to my head and I will go for Bobs Worth