Top Tips for the Cheltenham Cup Friday 13th March 2020
Top Tips for the Cheltenham Cup Friday 13th March 2020
We know the date, we know what’s at stake, Gold we know just how prestigious this horse race is, and we know the entries. The only thing we don’t know is who will win the Cheltenham Gold Cup this year. If making predictions were that easy, we’d all be millionaires and if backing the outright favourite was the key to success, well, this is a thrilling race which is often renown for bringing plenty of surprises.
While the Cheltenham Festival will be packed with entertainment and action throughout all four days this year, between Tuesday 10th and Friday 13th March, it’s the final Gold Cup day itself which always fills racegoers and punters with the most anticipation. The Gold Cup is the big one, the blue ribbon National Hunt event that every jockey, trainer and owner wants to win. This is the race that elevates great horses into the pantheon of legendary status.
Gold Cup of Surprises
Every year the Gold Cup features an impressive field of thoroughbreds, with many of them genuinely capable of winning. That’s what makes this race so exciting and difficult to predict. Indeed, over the last decade between 2010 and 2019, the pre-race favourite has won only three times out of ten, which means there’s always plenty of value to be found when looking through the odds.
Some of the biggest surprises in recent years include the impressive 20/1 shot Lord Windermere in 2014, 7/1 fringe option Coneygree in 2015 or the rapid 6:36.10 time of 7/1 winner Sizling John in 2017. Last year in 2019 it was Al Boum Photo who raised plenty of eyebrows at 12/1 as the winner of a thrilling race. This means that when looking through the Cheltenham Gold Cup Tips this year, it’s well worth casting a glance beyond the favourites.
The Gold Cup 2020 Favourite
After such an impressive run last year gave Willie Mullins his first ever Gold Cup winner, it’s hardly surprising to find the partnership of Al Boum Photo and jockey Paul Townend at the shortest odds in Cheltenham festival betting. What makes this eight-year-old even more highly fancied is the methodical preparation, with Mullins repeating the preparations that worked so well in 2019 with this horse.
Last year Al Boum Photo raced just once before heading to Cheltenham, winning the Savills New Year’s Day Chase at Tramore in Ireland. After that, he was supposed to run at Leopardstown in February 2019, although unsuitable ground led to Mullins withdrawing the horse. This year Mullins has raced Al Boum Photo just once, at Tramore on 1st January again and with the same winning outcome, saving his thoroughbred for the big Gold Cup race.
The biggest potential obstacle for Al Boum Photo is that no horse has won back-to-back Gold Cup victories since Best Mate, who won three in a row between 2002 and 2004. Prior to that, you have to go all the way back to 1970 and 1971 when L’Escargot achieved his magnificent double of victories. Nevertheless, Mullins and Townend appear highly confident their runner can do the business again at Cheltenham this year.
The Key Gold Cup Challengers
While there are plenty of punters backing Al Boum Photo, two other key runners have been attracting lots of attention in recent weeks, as we get closer to the Cheltenham Festival. This year the field of runners is highly competitive and just looking at the list of entries, it’s clear to see this race has the potential to be one of the greatest Gold Cup runs of all time.
Trained by Nicky Henderson and ridden by Nico de Boinville, who was the leading jockey at the Cheltenham Festival last year, Santini has emerged as a popularly backed contender for the Gold Cup this year. Another horse which has been raced sparingly of the last couple of years, eight-year-old Santini has only run twice in the last few months, finishing powerfully on both occasions. This includes a strong romp to victory in the Cotswold Chase in January at Cheltenham.
While there’s always much support for popular campaigners Lostintranslation and Clan Des Obeaux, superb recent form has made Delta Work a great prospect for the renowned Gigginstown House Stud. Trained by Gordon Elliott and ridden by Jack Kennedy, this French-bred seven-year-old won the Savills Chase in December 2019 and the Irish Gold Cup in February this year, both at Leopardstown, beating several horses that will also race at the Cheltenham Gold Cup.
Despite both finishing behind Delta Work at the Irish Gold Cup, there’s still plenty of positivity surrounding both Presenting Percy trained by Patrick Kelly and habitually ridden by Davy Russell, along with Kemboy from the always powerful Willie Mullins yard. However, the latter has always been ridden by the now retired Ruby Walsh, or Paul Townend, which means that nephew Danny Mullins could be riding Kemboy at the Cheltenham Gold Cup this year.
Good Value Long-Shot Options
As we mentioned earlier, the Cheltenham Gold Cup has brought plenty of surprises winners over the years. With that in mind, it could be worth making side bets on runners with value odds like 2018 winner Native River, who is running again this year. Likewise, chasers with great records such as Bristol De Mai and Frodon are being priced at long-shot odds, although they can’t be ignored in terms of potential value.
Much of the focus will inevitably be on the favourite runners, and as their odds continue to shorten as we near the race itself, there’s always good value to be found elsewhere. Whatever the outcome of the Cheltenham Gold Cup this year, it’s certain to be another spectacular race that will keep us on the edge of our seats.