The Gold Cup this year is without question the most hotly anticipated race of the entire Cheltenham Festival with a number of horses being backed to claim the famous race next Friday. Just a point separates the top five in the outright win market for the Gold Cup and that brings with it an even more interesting side bet this year with the Name The Favourite market alive and kicking.
Punters wanting to have a bet on Naming the Favourite for the Cheltenham Gold Cup have five options to consider ad we have taken a closer look at all five with the aim of trying to find the likely jolly.
Don Cossack - Currently 15/8 with Paddy Power to be the Gold Cup Favourite
Don Cossack is a hugely popular horse and one who on his day has proven himself to be top class. His stunning win at Aintree last season earned him the title of the highest rated chaser in training and many believe that he is the Gold Cup winner in waiting. The Gordon Elliott trained horse fell in the King George two out but many believe he would have won if had stood up and the conditions are sure to suit him on Friday. His Cheltenham record is a slight worry but if Gordon Elliott picks up some winners early in the week, we can expect Don Cossack to be very popular with punters.
Vautour - Currently 15/8 with Paddy Power to be the Gold Cup Favourite
Plenty of people expect Vautour to start favourite for the Gold Cup on Friday and it is easy to see why. A Supreme Novices Hurdle and JLT Novices Chase winner at Cheltenham, Vautour is a remarkable horse who when he is at his best is among the best we have seen in recent years. Doubts remain about his ability to get the full Gold Cup trip but should as expected Ruby Walsh select him over Djakadam for his gold Cup ride, there is every chance Vautour will go off as jolly for the big race.
Cue Card - Currently 9/2 to be the Gold Cup Favourite
What a story it would be if Cue Card managed to win the Gold Cup this year for the hugely popular Tizzard team. A former winner of the Champion Bumper and the Ryanair Chase, Cue Card has been among the best horses in training for years now and a Gold Cup win would be his crowning glory. Already a winner of the Betfair Chase and the King George this season there is a chance the public will get behind Cue Card in the build up to the Gold Cup which means he could go off as the jolly although one or two still do doubt his ability to stay on up up the hill at this trip.
Djakadam - Currently 6/1 to be the Gold Cup Favourite
Djakadam ran a monster race in the Gold Cup last year to finish 2nd at the age of six and that alone means he deserves the maximum of respect this season. Another Willie Mullins trained horse, Djakadam should be better with another year behind him and as a guaranteed stayer he is in the mix here. Ruby Walsh is the key to the chances of Djakadam starting favourite with the top jockey picking between this horse and Vautour for his Gold Cup ride. At the moment it would appear that Vautour is his likely ride which will give Djakadam no chance of stating as the jolly and that is reflected in the prices.
Don Poli - Currently 6/1 to be the Gold Cup Favourite
Don Poli is a real Cheltenham specialist and a dour stayer who could well be the perfect Gold Cup horse. Winner of the Martin Pipe race and the RSA Chase in the past two years, some consider Don Poli to be a slow boat but one thing for sure is that he will be galloping on up the hill at the end. Highly unlikely to start the favourite with classier animals like Cue Card, Don Cossack and Vautour all likely to be better backed, Don Poli remains a contender for the Gold Cup and should be watched very carefully.
We ran a poll via @CheltenhamNews asking for your opinion on which horse will start as the jolly for the Gold Cup and there was a clear winner in Vautour with most expecting the Ruby Walsh decision to make all the difference.