|Thursday 31st January 2019|
2019 Cheltenham Gold Cup
The Cheltenham festival is now fast approaching as exciting continues to build ahead of the marquee event of the national hunt season. It certainly is a strange festival on the ante post front for punters, with no novices really standing out, which has left many of the markets very open at present. The big race of the festival is the Gold Cup on the final day of the meeting and is another that looks wide open. Here we cover the leading contenders.
A horse that has long been destined for the top and trained by a maestro in Pat Kelly. He only has a limited amount of horses but the success he has with them is quite remarkable. In Presenting Percy he has a serious horse on his hands, who really burst onto the scene when landing a big gamble in the 2017 running of the Pertemps final at the Cheltenham festival. Following two victories over fences, it was strange to see him make his reappearance back over the smaller obstacles last season in the Galmoy hurdle, but who are we to question Pat Kelly.
Last season was all about the RSA and he put in one of the most eye catching performances at the festival, in running away from a high class field to win by seven lengths. In the process he again showed his liking to Cheltenham and his staying power up the hill. He looked tailor made for the Gold Cup and was instantly made one of the favourites. We have had to wait a long time for him to make his reappearance this season, but it was again over hurdles in the Galmoy, which he again landed with authority. With other market principals falling by the way side such as Might Bite, it leaves Presenting Percy heading the market as he looks to land a festival race for the third year in succession. He can be supported at a general 3/1 on the likes of Dafabet, which does seem short for a horse who has still only made five starts over fences.
The 2018 Cheltenham Gold Cup winner has returned this season with two prep runs, as all roads lead to the Gold Cup. The King George was far too sharp a test for him, but he continued to stay on having been off the bridle for much of the contest. The nine year old has been one of the most reliable horses for some time, that has included victories in the previously named Hennessey and Welsh Grand National. Could he yet be a future Aintree Grand National winner?
Connections will be hoping for some rain as that really plays to his strengths added to the testing Cheltenham course. This came into fruition last year, in which he put in a career best performance and faultless round of jumping. Can he do the same and defend his title this time around? He can be supported at a general 5/1 to do so, which is a fantastic each way option for punters.
Clan Des Obeaux
The final horse that has to be mentioned is the recent winner of the King George, in the shape of the Paul Nicholls trained, Clan Des Obeaux. A horse that has been held in the highest regard by his trainer for some time, but really came of age in his performance at Kempton. At just seven years of age he is still a very young horse for the race, but the way he travelled in the King George puts him as one of the leading contenders for the Gold Cup. He could be called the winner for a long way out.
Paul Nicholls has had a lot of success in the race when you look at the likes of Denman and of course Kauto Star. Could he have another star staying chaser on his hands? He was awarded an RPR of 176 from that previous performance, which puts him right in the mix for the key race of the national hunt season.