Cheltenham Gold Cup Form Guide

The Cheltenham Gold Cup form boils down to a few races with the top chasers going down a tried and tested route ahead of a tilt at the Gold Cup. We are likely to see Lord Windermere campaigned towards a repeat Gold Cup success in March so expect him to improve with every run. Other races to keep an eye on include the King George Chase at Kempton on Boxing Day and the Lexus Chase over in Ireland which are both excellent trial races.

Gold Cup Trial Races 2015/16

Gold Cup Form Guide and Race Card 2016

Race OverviewA compelling Gold Cup and DON COSSACK (nap) can emerge on top. He might very well have won the King George at Kempton in December but for falling two out but the real clincher is the form he showed in winning Grade 1s at Aintree and Punchestown last April and he sets a clear standard on those two performances. It might just be that he is a better horse in the spring nowadays too, while his overall record in 18 chases shows him to be a competent if unspectacular jumper. Cue Card, better than ever this season and with two festival wins to his name, is a respected main danger, ahead of Djakadam, who was a fine second when only a 6yo in this last season but who has fallen in his only two other runs here. Of the others, Smad Place is preferred to Don Poli, whose form doesn't warrant such a prominent place in the betting. [Mel Cullinan]

Odds provided by Paddypower

1Carlingford LoughCarlingford Lough (IRE)
B J Geraghty
J Kiely
10 yrs / 164 lbs

CommentCarlingford Lough

Won Irish Gold Cup latest; something to find on balance; 9th last year. Won Irish Gold Cup for second year running last time, when coming through from off overly fast pace and being left clear at the last (though might have won anyway); that is suspect form and best guide to his ability is probably what he achieved in same race in 2015; that suggests he has a fair bit to find; respectable but well-held ninth in this last year.

DateRace ConditionsWeightJockeyRace Outcome
06/02/16LEO 24Hy G1Ch,62K164 lbsMark Walsh1/10 12l, Road To Riches[20/1]11-10
28/12/15LEO 24Hy G1Ch,70K164 lbsBarry Geraghty6/6 34l, Don Poli[9/1]11-10
08/11/15NAV 20Y/Sft G2Hd,20K159 lbsBarry Geraghty4/5 34+l, Arctic Fire[8/1]11-5
13/03/15CHL 26Sft Cl1 G1Ch,313K164 lbsA P McCoy9/16 28l, Coneygree[14/1]11-10
08/02/15LEO 24Y G1Ch,67K164 lbsA P McCoy1/8 3/4l, Foxrock[4/1]11-10
2Cue CardCue Card
P Brennan
C Tizzard
10 yrs / 164 lbs

CommentCue Card

Last-gasp winner of King George; should stay; bold bid likely. Last season didn't go to plan but, after an operation on his trapped epiglottis, he has been better than ever this term, last time taking advantage of Don Cossack's late departure and Vautour faltering to snatch the King George at Kempton on Boxing Day in the last stride; gave strong impression there that this trip will be within range; big player as he bids for a third festival win, after 2010 bumper and 2013 Ryanair.

DateRace ConditionsWeightJockeyRace Outcome
26/12/15KEM 24GS Cl1 G1Ch,114K164 lbsPaddy Brennan1/9 1/4l, Vautour[9/2]11-10 t
21/11/15HAY 24Sft Cl1 G1Ch,113K161 lbsPaddy Brennan1/5 7l, Silviniaco Conti[7/4]11-7 t
31/10/15WET 24Sft Cl1 G2Ch,57K154 lbsPaddy Brennan1/7 3 3/4l, Dynaste[11/4F]11-0 t
29/04/15PUN 25Gd/Y G1Ch,93K164 lbsAidan Coleman4/8 15 1/2l, Don Cossack[12/1]11-10 t,cp
10/04/15Ain 19Gd Cl1 G1Ch,113K164 lbsDaryl Jacob2/10 26l, Don Cossack[6/1]11-10
3DjakadamDjakadam (FR)
R Walsh
W Mullins
7 yrs / 164 lbs


2nd last year; good 2m4f win in December; fell here latest; big chance if jumping well. Fell for the second time in three runs here on latest outing, after which he required stitches in his chest; jumping a slight concern after that but he ran a belter when second in this race as just a 6yo last year and, having looked as if he might have improved since when winning well over a barely adequate 2m4f in a Grade 1 at Punchestown in December, big player if jumping passes muster.

DateRace ConditionsWeightJockeyRace Outcome
30/01/16CHL 25Hy Cl1 G2Ch,57K164 lbsR WalshF/8 Smad Place[5/6F]11-6
06/12/15PUN 20Hy G1Ch,40K164 lbsR Walsh1/7 12l, Valseur Lido[7/4F]11-10
29/04/15PUN 25Gd/Y G1Ch,93K164 lbsR Walsh2/8 7l, Don Cossack[2/1F]11-10
13/03/15CHL 26Sft Cl1 G1Ch,313K164 lbsR Walsh2/16 1 1/2l, Coneygree[10/1]11-10
22/01/15GOW 25Hy ChHc,47K164 lbsR Walsh1/17 8l, My Murphy[9/2]11-4
4Don CossackDon Cossack (GER)
B Cooper
G Elliott
9 yrs / 164 lbs

CommentDon Cossack

Strong form claims at his top-class best, if avoiding mistakes. Fell here as a novice (RSA Chase) and in the King George at Kempton in December, but for which he might well have beaten Cue Card whom he had just headed for second at the penultimate fence; his third in Ryanair Chase last year was a career best at the time and suggests he will be fully effective here; that King George run and, in particular, his decisive defeat of Djakadam at Punchestown in April show he has the ability to win if avoiding major errors.

DateRace ConditionsWeightJockeyRace Outcome
14/01/16THU 20Sft G2Ch,19K164 lbsB J Cooper1/4 9 1/2l, Wounded Warrior[1/8F]11-8 t
26/12/15KEM 24GS Cl1 G1Ch,114K164 lbsB J CooperF/9 Cue Card[15/8F]11-10 t
31/10/15DRO 24Y/Sft G1Ch,65K164 lbsB J Cooper1/4 8l, Rocky Creek[2/11F]11-10 t
15/10/15PUN 23Gd G3Ch,16K164 lbsB J Cooper1/5 12l, Roi Du Mee[1/4F]11-8 t
29/04/15PUN 25Gd/Y G1Ch,93K164 lbsPaul Carberry1/8 7l, Djakadam[5/2]11-10 t
5Don PoliDon Poli (IRE)
D N Russell
W Mullins
7 yrs / 164 lbs

CommentDon Poli

This longer trip promises to drag out more but it very much needs to. Laboured when winning weak Grade 1 at Leopardstown last time at Christmas but heavy ground might well have been unsuitable; better judged on his decisive win on good ground in RSA Chase here last year and he showed similar form on reappearance at Aintree in December; this longer trip promises to drag out more but it very much needs to; Bryan Cooper prefers Don Cossack.

DateRace ConditionsWeightJockeyRace Outcome
28/12/15LEO 24Hy G1Ch,70K164 lbsB J Cooper1/6 1/2l, First Lieutenant[4/6F]11-10
05/12/15Ain 24Sft Cl1 LisCh,23K159 lbsB J Cooper1/4 4l, Many Clouds[6/5F]11-10
28/04/15PUN 25Gd/Y NvG1Ch,44K164 lbsB J Cooper5/5 11l, Valseur Lido[4/9F]11-10
11/03/15CHL 24Gd Cl1 G1Ch,85K158 lbsB J Cooper1/8 6l, Southfield Theatre[13/8F]11-4
29/12/14LEO 24Sft/Hy NvG1Ch,41K163 lbsB J Cooper1/7 3l, Apache Stronghold[9/4F]11-10
6Irish CavalierIrish Cavalier (IRE)
P Townend
Miss R Curtis
7 yrs / 164 lbs

CommentIrish Cavalier

Won here last year (2m4f); lot to find and has to prove stamina. Smart chaser who won the 2m4f novice handicap at this meeting last year; however, form since shows that he has a lot to find to be competitive today even if back to best after being pulled up here last time (admittedly on heavy ground); didn't conclusively prove stamina in his one completed run at 3m1f (unraced at further).

DateRace ConditionsWeightJockeyRace Outcome
30/01/16CHL 20Hy Cl1 G3ChHc,34K166 lbsBarry GeraghtyPU/9 Annacotty[7/1]11-9 cp
26/12/15KEM 24GS Cl1 G1Ch,114K164 lbsBarry Geraghty5/9 39l, Cue Card[40/1]11-10 cp
14/11/15CHL 20GS Cl1 G3ChHc,91K163 lbsPaul Townend5/20 6 1/2l, Annacotty[8/1]11-0 cp
09/10/15NAB 20GS Cl2 Ch,19K160 lbsPaul Townend1/6 1/2l, Henryville[9/4]10-8 cp
01/05/15PUN 21Gd/Y NvChHc,47K153 lbsL P Dempsey2/17 2 3/4l, Blood Cotil[9/1]11-0 cp
7O'Faolains BoyO'Faolains Boy (IRE)
N Fehily
Miss R Curtis
9 yrs / 164 lbs

CommentO'Faolains Boy

Won RSA Chase here in 2014; great deal to prove on this term's form. Career highlight when winning the 2014 RSA Chase here (on good ground, too) but just one good effort this season after 18 months off, when winning small-field graduation chase in December; even that form leaves him well short of the required standard; headgear first time.

DateRace ConditionsWeightJockeyRace Outcome
27/02/16CHP 23Sft Cl2 HdHc,13K163 lbsDavid Mullins8/17 33l, Arpege D'Alene[10/1]11-1
30/01/16CHL 25Hy Cl1 G2Ch,57K160 lbsNoel FehilyPU/8 Smad Place[15/2]11-6 t
16/12/15NBY 23Sft Cl2 Ch,14K161 lbsNoel Fehily1/4 15l, Sausalito Sunrise[100/30]11-7
21/11/15ASC 21GS Cl1 G2Ch,40K155 lbsBarry GeraghtyPU/5 Vautour[16/1]11-6
04/04/14Ain 24Gd Cl1 NvG1Ch,51K158 lbsBarry Geraghty5/6 24l, Holywell[3/1F]11-4
8On His OwnOn His Own (IRE)
Mr P W Mullins
W Mullins
12 yrs / 164 lbs

CommentOn His Own

Close 2nd in this in 2014; 24l fifth last year; looks highly vulnerable overall. Has generally found it very tough since his close second in a substandard running of this in 2014 and though this 12yo was back to some form when close second in a Grade 2 at Fairyhouse last time, that form is way below what will be required to figure today; 24l fifth in this last year.

DateRace ConditionsWeightJockeyRace Outcome
20/02/16FAI 25Hy G2Ch,20K160 lbsMr P W Mullins2/7 1/4l, Boston Bob[8/1]11-3 cp
06/02/16LEO 24Hy G1Ch,62K164 lbsMr P W Mullins8/10 66l, Carlingford Lough[16/1]11-10 bl
28/12/15LEO 24Hy G1Ch,70K164 lbsMr P W Mullins4/6 3 1/4l, Don Poli[25/1]11-10 bl
11/12/15CHL 30GS Cl2 Ch,22K162 lbsPaul TownendUR/14 Josies Orders[8/1]11-8
14/11/15PUN 24Sft Ch,6K163 lbsMr P W Mullins7/16 22l, Quantitativeeasing[13/8F]11-4
9Road To RichesRoad To Riches (IRE)
N Meade
9 yrs / 164 lbs

CommentRoad To Riches

Good third in this last year and place claims on that; due to run here on Thursday. Helped force too strong a pace and made mistakes when behind Carlingford Lough at Leopardstown last time and can reasonably be excused that; fine third in this last year after chasing the winner most of the way; place possibilities on that; down to run in Ryanair Chase here on Thursday.

DateRace ConditionsWeightJockeyRace Outcome
17/03/16CHL 20Gd Cl1 G1Ch,179K164 lbsB J Cooper3/15 6 1/2l, Vautour[7/1]11-10
06/02/16LEO 24Hy G1Ch,62K164 lbsB J Cooper2/10 12l, Carlingford Lough[5/4F]11-10
12/11/15CLO 20Sft/Hy G2Ch,24K166 lbsB J Cooper1/5 6l, Bright New Dawn[8/13F]11-5
29/04/15PUN 25Gd/Y G1Ch,93K164 lbsB J Cooper3/8 13 1/2l, Don Cossack[4/1]11-10
13/03/15CHL 26Sft Cl1 G1Ch,313K164 lbsB J Cooper3/16 3 1/2l, Coneygree[8/1]11-10
10Smad PlaceSmad Place (FR)
W Hutchinson
A King
9 yrs / 164 lbs

CommentSmad Place

Good form this season; front-runs; midfield last year but better horse now; place claims. Bit below very best all last term, eighth in this; career highs this season when landing major prizes at Newbury (Hennessy) and Cheltenham (Grade 2), well suited by being at or near the front all the way and ridden more patiently when not so good in the King George; sound jumper with place claims but breaking festival duck at sixth attempt is probably asking too much.

DateRace ConditionsWeightJockeyRace Outcome
30/01/16CHL 25Hy Cl1 G2Ch,57K160 lbsRichard Johnson1/8 12l, Many Clouds[9/2]11-10
26/12/15KEM 24GS Cl1 G1Ch,114K164 lbsWayne Hutchinson4/9 16 1/2l, Cue Card[8/1]11-10
28/11/15NBY 25Sft Cl1 G3ChHc,114K158 lbsWayne Hutchinson1/15 12l, Theatre Guide[7/1]10-2
02/11/15KEM 20Gd Cl2 Ch,13K163 lbsWayne Hutchinson1/5 8l, Fingal Bay[6/4F]11-6
09/04/15Ain 24GS Cl1 G1Ch,85K161 lbsWayne Hutchinson4/7 9 1/2l, Silviniaco Conti[10/1]11-7

February 2016

Road To Riches started the Irish Gold Cup as a very hot favourite following his impressive first start of the campaign and his 3rd in the gold Cup last season but they went a very strong gallop at Leopardstown and was only a distant 2nd in the end. Carlingford Lough was the horse finish like a steam train as he went from last to first in the home straight to claim the win for a 2nd year on the bounce.

Carlingford Lough might go to the Gold Cup or even the Grand National but the other horse to take out of the race was Valsuer Lido who was cantering all over Road To Riches coming to the last. Having jumped the last ok he appeared to peck on landing which unseated Ruby Walsh and on this basis, he deserves to take his chance in the Gold Cup.

January 2016

Don Cossack was a faller in the King George last month by connections were quick to run him again in the Kinloch Brae Chase at Thurles over 2m4f. This was in ground that was perhaps more testing than he would like and over an inadequate trip, Don Cossack produced a slightly workmanlike victory on his final start before the Festival. He raced lazily throughout but did look strong as he ran through the line against a weak field and the potential addition of cheek pieces in March could sharpen him up.

The Betbright Trial Chase at Cheltenham always throws together a decent Gold Cup contender or two and that was the case again this season as Smad Place stormed clear to claim an easy win. The popular grey jumped straight to the front and appeared to love the trip and distance on offer to enter the each-way picture for March. The big disappointment of the race was Djakadam who fell early on and although he needs to be given another chance, it was far from the ideal prep for March.

December 2015

The Betfred Lotto Chase at Aintree is perhaps not known as a Gold Cup trial but it was this season as RSA Chase winner Don Poli made his seasonal debut for Willie Mullins. Don Poli never makes things look easy but he beat Many Clouds a touch cosily in the end and given that it was his first start this winter, it was a very decent return for a horse who looks a genuine Gold Cup contender.

The John Durkan Chase was the big Grade 1 Chase down at 2m4f at Punchestown at the start of December and it was the scene for another Willie Mullins Gold Cup contender to make his seasonal debut. Djakadam ran a stormer to finish 2nd in the Gold Cup last season and he looked as good as ever to win his first Grade 1 race in the John Durkan. This was a very pleasing return for a horse who at six might still be on the upgrade.

The King George VI Chase is always a key trial for the Gold Cup and we saw a sensational renewal this season as Cue Card got up to beta Vautour in a thrilling finish at Kempton. Cue Card finished like a train to pip the brilliant Vautour and with the Betfair Chase already won, Cue Card and his owners will go the Gold Cup in search of the £1m bonus, Don Cossack was plugging on well when falling at the 2nd lastr and also should be given a second chance.

The big Gold Cup trial over in Ireland during the festive period was the Lexus Chase and it was Don Poli who got up to give Willie Mullins a first win in the race. It was a typically plodding display from the RSA Chase winner which wasn't impressive on the eye but as he always tends to, he did enough to claim the win.

November 2015

The Noel Meade trained Road To Riches was 3rd in the 2015 Gold Cup and he looked in good form as he returned with a win in the Clonmel Oil Chase. This was a decent starting point for the horse down at 2m4f as he beat a field he should be beating in decent style and he remains a player in this division.

The first Sunday in November saw Carlisle host a decent meeting with the Paul Nicholls trained Saphir Du Rheu making a major impression on season debut. He was a Grade 1 winning Novice and he looked very classy here as he comfortably dispatched a decent horse in the The Young Master and it was a nice start on the road to a potential run in the Gold Cup come March.

The defending Champion Coneygree qualified for the Future Champions Chase at Sandown for his seasonal debut and he did not disappoint. The 8-year-old ran some very good horses like Southfield Theatre off of their feet and in the end Coneygree won by miles in the end and it could hardly have been any more impressive. He remains relatively lightly raced and there is a chance that Coneygree could still be getting better.

The Betfair Chase has been a top early season race at Haydock Park since 2005 and we saw a thrilling winner this year in the form of Cue Card. The Colin Tizzard trained horse travelled and jumped with style before cantering clear of Silviniaco Conti and on this form the 2013 Ryanair Chase winner has to be a Gold Cup contender.

The long awaited seasonal debut from Vautour came at Ascot and as a short priced favourite he managed to win the 1965 Chase. He did get the job done but this was a half fit Vautour who managed to beat Ptit Zig and although we still don't know if he will step up to 3m, this was a decent display first time out.

The Hennessy Gold Cup is always a cracking contest and we saw a terrific performance from Smad Place as he demolished the field with a stunning round of jumping. He was good enough to finish 8th in the Gold Cup last year but on the basis of this latest win, he looks better than ever which means he has to be an each-way contender for March. Saphir Du Rheu also ran well off of top weight before fading into 5th and his progress remains interesting with the Gold Cup in mind.

October 2015

Don Cossack was the highest rated chaser in training last season and he is being aimed towards the Gold Cup in March according to connections. The Gigginstown horse looked in top form as he sauntered to victory in the JNwine Champion chase at Down Royal with Rocky Creek left trailing in his wake. It was against limited opposition but Don Cossack couldn't have done it any better.

Past Gold Cup Form Guides

Cheltenham Festival Odds

We now have the latest bookmakers betting odds for the main Cheltenham Festival Races.

These odds are updated regularily to ensure that you in touch with all the market moves in the build up to the festival.

Cheltenham Festival - Betting Tips

Tom LeeFollowing on from last year, we are delighted to announce that we are featuring horse racing tips from Channel Four Racing presenter, Tom Lee.

Tom appears on Channel 4's Morning Line & covers live Racing in the afternoon as well fronting RTE's Racing coverage in Ireland, his Cheltenham Festival Tips and previews of each day's Racing will be available during the Festival and supported with opinions and views from our Racing writers.

View Tom's Tips

Cheltenham Festival Racing

The four days of the Cheltenham Festival play host to a number of exceptional races: