In recent years the Cheltenham Gold Cup has been fiercely competitive and has looked relatively wide open. This year however, the race looks to be about one horse and one horse only, Galopin Des Champs. For more on the Cheltenham Festival 2023, check out my Betting Guide.
In this article I’ve run through the racecard and given my best bets for this year’s Cheltenham Gold Cup.
Galopin Des Champs
The Willie Mullins inmate had a slow start over hurdles for his trainer’s standards but ended the season winning the Martin Pipe at Cheltenham and a grade 1 at Punchestown before an almost flawless first season over fences, blemished only by his final fence tumble in the 2022 Turners Novices Chase with the race at his mercy. He’s been imperious this season and is now a general 6/4 shot following on from his facile victory in the Irish Gold Cup. He definitely looks the likeliest winner at this stage.
Second in the market is Stattler at 7/1, last year’s National Hunt Chase winner and the horse who chased home Galopin Des Champs in the Irish Gold Cup. He was a very good winner of last year’s National Hunt Chase and was also closing all the way to the line in the Irish Gold Cup suggesting the extra 2 furlongs of stamina required will be right up his street and he’s very much a lively player.
Last year’s Grand National Hero Noble Yeats is 15/2 after his mighty performance in the Many Clouds Chase showed people just how good he was, scooting clear after the last. He ran very poorly in the Cotswold Chase but can be forgiven considering he was primed for Lingfield (but couldn’t run) the week before and also had a Grand National handicap mark to protect if that is to be the aim this year. Whether he was at his best or not in the trial in January, I can’t be trusting him to be at the level required to win a Gold Cup and 15/2 is far too short.
A Plus Tard
The current Cheltenham Gold Cup Holder A Plus Tard is 8/1 and that is a very fair price. He’s obviously got bundles of class and talent but was too bad to be true at Haydock on his reappearance and that leaves a huge question mark over if he retains all of his ability after what must have been a slog of a race for him last year.
Equally at 8/1 is the 2022 King George Winner Bravemansgame who has never really been considered a Cheltenham horse but on the back of his impressive win at Christmas, deserves to take his chance in this line up. He’s a wonderful jumper of a fence.
The winner of the Cotswold Chase, a key trial for the Gold Cup, was Ahoy Senor who is priced up at 11/1 for the main event which seems a tad high. This horse possesses a huge engine but is very prone to mistakes. When he puts it all together, he is rather spectacular and if his jumping holds up, he’s a force to be reckoned with for sure.
Conflated won the Savills Chase over Christmas and is being prepared for the Gold Cup this year after a dismal showing in last year’s Ryanair Chase. He has proved now that he’s a good stayer and a crack at the big showpiece looks like it’s on the cards now.
Minella Indo & Protektorat
At 12/1 and 14/1 we have 2nd and 3rd from last year’s Cheltenham Gold Cup, Minella Indo and Protektorat. Minella Indo is overpriced based on his form in this race having won it in 2021 and beating Stattler on seasonal return albeit over a shorter trip than the Mullins horse would prefer. I wouldn’t put you off an each way bet on him at all. In regards to Protektorat, he was bitterly disappointing in the Cotswold Chase and is now a bit of an unattractive proposition.
Hewick & Sounds Russian
Hewick is 16/1 but I think this is a little bit too hot for the American Grand National winner who admittedly hasn’t done a lot wrong so far, I just question whether he is up to this level.
Sounds Russian is also priced at 16/1 and there were question marks over if he was up to this level but showed in no uncertain terms that he is when 2nd to Ahoy Senor in the Cotswold Chase and would have maybe even won had he not made an awful mistake when taking the lead. At the prices, I think he is the each way play in the race to a very ominous looking Galopin Des Champs. He is only 8 so has plenty of time to continue his rapid rise up the ranks and I think that if he was trained by an Irish trainer that there is every chance he would be between 10 and 12/1. Both of his best performances have come over slightly extended 3 miles so there are no question marks over him staying and even if he doesn’t win, you still get a nice price for him to hit the frame.
The Rest of the Field
The remainder of the field are 33/1 and don’t look to have great chances but one mention could be Fury Road who ran a nice race in the Irish Gold Cup and at one stage looked like the winner until Galopin Des Champs’ afterburners kicked in.