Three past Gold Cup winners and a young pretender are set to battle it out in the Blue Riband race of the Cheltenham Festival, the Cheltenham Gold Cup. Dual winner Kauto Star, 2008 champion Denman, reigning champion, Imperial Commander and King George Chase winner, Long Run are all being backed to win but who will take the honours?
There is a seven race card on Gold Cup Day which commences with the Triumph Hurdle for Juveniles.
Always a great race to kick off Gold Cup Day, this is a big chance to see the stars of tomorrow strut their stuff and hopefully win a very prestigious prize. Likely favourite will be the Nicky Henderson trained Grandouet but possibly he has most to fear from stablemate, A Media Luz. Sam Winner from the Paul Nicholls stable has also attracted plenty of support.
2.05 – County Handicap Hurdle
Plenty in this with chances, none better however than the antepost favourite, Alarazi from the Lucy Wadham stable. Dirar from the Gordon Elliott yard is said to be his best chance of the Festival but he has already had two winners; certainly one to watch!
2.40 – Albert Bartlett Novices Hurdle
As usual this Grade One has attracted a great field of runners, who are headed in the betting by Bobs Worth from the Nicky Henderson stable, who has won all three of his starts this season including two at this course. Champion Court from the Marin Keighley yard and Kilcrea Kim for Phillip Hobbs, already with two winners this week are the best of the rest.
What a race this is going to be with the top four in the market going all out for supremacy. The current market leader is last year’s winner, Imperial Commander, with Long Run next best, but that should not deter any one from backing the two 11 year old stablemates of Denman and Kauto Star. This is particularly so as neither trainer of the top two in the market have had a winner at the Festival as yet. Those with good outside chances include the Irish pair of Pandorama and Kempes, while Tidal Bay with his fast finishing habit could well be worth a shout if kept handy during the race.
One of the most popular races of the week bringing together the best of the amateur Point to Point trainers against some of the top Pro’s. The race is run over the same course as the Gold Cup and is headed in the betting by last year’s winner, Baby Run, who will be ridden by the youngest jockey in the field, Willie Twiston-Davies, youngest son of trainer, Nigel
4.40 Martin Pipe Conditional Jockey’s Handicap
This race could see another Irish trained winner at the Festival with Emmet Mullins riding the favourite Sir Des champs for Uncle Willie Mullins. The 5 year old is well clear in the antepost market and will be looking to make it a second win over hurdles since arriving at the Mullins from France last year. Others who are worth looking at are Shoegazer from the David Pipe yard and also Shalone trained by Alan King.
5.15 Grand Annual Chase
The Festival concludes with the running of the Traditional Grand Annual Chase which will attract a maximum field of 24. As always there will be lots in with chances but one who has been tipped by a few is the Brendan Powel trained Shoreacres who will be ridden by Tony McCoy. The likely favourite to win however will almost certainly be Tanks For That from the Nicky Henderson stable.