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Cheltenham Gold Cup – Race Preview
The final day of the Cheltenham Festival sees the running of the Cheltenham Gold Cup. The blue riband event in the national hunt calendar, the Gold Cup is a Grade 1 contest run over 3 miles and 2 furlongs with a total of 22 fences jumped. Past winners of the Gold Cup are a who’s who of horse racing greats including the legendary Golden Miller, Arkle, Desert Orchid & Kauto Star. Ten runners are due to run in this year’s renewal, all of them searching for their first ever win in the race.
The current favourite for the Gold Cup is Don Cossack, trained in Ireland by Gordon Elliott. Winner of three of his four races so far this season, Don Cossack is favourite on the basis of his staying on finish in the King George at Sandown on Boxing Day. Picking up well down the straight, he was travelling the best when falling two fences from home. Many feel that had he managed to remain on his feet that day, then he would have been the likely winner.
The horse that benefitted most from Don Cossack’s fall in the King George, was the Colin Tizzard trained Cue Card, who went on to win the race and he is one of the current second favourites for Friday’s race. A winner of all three of his runs this season, Cue Card comes into the Gold Cup in fantastic form and if handling the trip, he could well be the one to beat.
Willie Mullins will be represented with Djakadam who finished runner-up in last year’s race. Djakadam was last seen when taking a crashing fall at Cheltenham at the end of January and he was a doubt for the Festival. Mullins feels that Djakadam is the best chaser in Ireland and victory in the Gold Cup would go a long way to proving that right.
Gordon Elliott will also be represented by Don Poli, like Don Cossask owned by the Ryanair founder Michael O’Leary. Winner of the Grade 1 Lexus Chase at Leopardstown just after Christmas, Friday’s Gold Cup trip should play into his strengths and he could well be in the shake up.
Smad Place has enjoyed an excellent season so far, winning the Hennessy and the Betbright Chase in indomitable fashion. A poor performance in the King George however leaves him with improvement to find but if he is allowed an early lead, he could well dictate the pace of the race and run a big race.
The Gold Cup field is completed by Carlingford Lough, Irish Cavalier, O’Faolains Boy, On His Own and Road to Riches
The current favourite for the race is Don Cossack at 4 (3/1) with Cue Card, Djakadam and Don Poli all available at 5 (4/1). The horse racing betting tip for Friday’s Cheltenham Gold Cup is Don Cossack at 4 (3/1).
By: Scott McGlynn