|Monday 26th February 2018|
Cutting to the chase – who will you back to win the Cheltenham Gold Cup?
Die hard racing fans, professional gamblers, occasional punters, even royalty – everyone loves the Cheltenham Festival, and we are counting down the days. From the barely controlled chaos of the Supreme Novice Hurdles to the glamour of Ladies Day to the fun and informality of St Patrick’s Day, there is something for everyone.
But when we cut to the serious business, however much we might be in interested in following the fortunes of the up and coming stars of tomorrow in the support races, there is one question on everyone’s mind: Who’s going to win the Gold Cup this year?
Friday might not have the posh hats or pints of Guinness, but it is nevertheless the one day of the festival that will be a sell-out and where tickets are unlikely to be available at the gate. And that is purely down to the fact that in the final analysis, the racing is what matters most, and the Gold Cup is the biggest prize of them all.
Tips from the expertsThe bookmakers might have already made their minds up, but with weeks still to go, there is plenty of time for the odds to change. Cheltenhamfestival.net is a tipster site dedicated to the festival, where experts with their ears to the ground are providing daily tips for each day, from Champions Hurdle predictions on Day One to the Gold Cup itself on Friday. Here, they provide the inside track on where you should consider placing your money for the Gold Cup.
Might BiteWhat is there to say about Might Bite that has not been said already? Nicky Henderson’s secret weapon is no sort of secret at all, and is hot favourite among the bookies. There is no disputing the horse’s speed, and all things being equal, few would look beyond him, but our tipsters note that he has a tendency to do things the hard way. Last year, he was being spoken of as a foregone conclusion for the RSA Chase, but an early stumble meant it was almost over before it began. He managed to dust himself off and snatch the win, but punters had their hearts in their mouths.
Sizing JohnThere are those trackside who say Sizing John has no chance of winning the Cheltenham Gold Cup this year. However, these are the same people who said he had no chance in 2017, and we all know what happened. Back to back Gold Cup victories are few and far between. The last was Best Mate in 2004, and while few would suggest Sizing is in the same league, the Jessica Harrington trained gelding has proved one thing – the racing world should underestimate him at its peril.
Native RiverInevitably, many see the Gold Cup as a showdown between Might Bite and Sizing John. However, Native River is a horse that has quietly been going about its business since recovering from a long lay-off with injury. It is fair to say that Colin Tizzard’s gelding has never looked fitter. He came in third last year, and those in search of an each way shot could do far worse.
Killutagh VicWillie Mullins loves Cheltenham, but the Gold Cup has always eluded him. His father, the late Paddy Mullins, trained the 1986 winner Dawn Run, and it is the one race that would mean more to him than all the rest. His best hope for finally breaking his duck in 2018 is Killultagh Vic. The horse looked a cut above the rest in the Irish Gold Cup, a race often seen as a litmus test for Cheltenham, before falling at the last. While the Cheltenham Gold Cup is not usually a happy hunting ground for outsiders, this 10/1 shot could definitely be worth a punt.