The Cheltenham Gold Cup may not capture the public imagination like the Grand National but it is the Blue Riband of British jumps racing.
It is fascinating that the last two winners of the race (Bobs Worth 2013 & Lord Windermere 2014) have been largely discounted in the run up to the race and can be backed at double-figure prices (16s & 12s respectively at BetVictor).
Bobs Worth was only beaten four lengths by Jim Cullotty’s charge in an unsatisfactory race last year and the word coming out of Seven Barrows is they could not be more pleased with the three-time festival winner.
No ten-year-old has won the race since Cool Dawn back in 1998 but he could easily defy the stats and his odds. Silviniaco Conti was a very impressive winner of the King George back in December and there are many who believe he is a worthy favourite despite his modest record in the race. He led over the last in the 2014 renewal but failed to get up the hill; the Nicholls’ camp insist that a recent wind operation will help his cause but at 3/1 I’m not convinced.
If you go back to Aintree last year Silviniaco Conti beat Dynaste just over a length in the Bowl in a time 14.8 seconds above standard.
Twenty-four hours later Holywell won his Grade 1 over the same C&D in a time seven seconds quicker albeit carrying 3lb less.
The last two winners of the Gold Cup were eight-year-olds and Holywell is the each way recommendation at 8/1. A dual Festival winner for Richie McLernon and Jonjo O’Neill, there are many who believe AP McCoy would have preferred to ride Holywell over Carlingford Lough but AP has stayed loyal to the Irish Hennessy winner and leading owner JP McManus.
Note the selection needs good ground to be at his most effective and if the heavens opened on Friday, and the forecast is not great, that would be a big negative with Many Clouds very much entering calculations if the ground turns soft.
Long Run (2011) became the first six-year-old since Mill House in 1963 to win the race and I think Willie Mullins’ Djakadam is the most talented horse in the race.
This might be 12-months too soon however.
In the Triumph I am very much in the Peace And Co (9/4) camp although Hargam is a son of Sinndar and good ground would be a big help; expect all AP McCoy mounts to be backed off the boards today and it wouldn’t surprise me if Hargam is vying for favouritism come post time.
For all your racing needs check out BetVictor.com and for all the Gold Cup updates follow us on Twitter @BetVictorRacing