Wednesday 14 November 2018

An early look at the 2019 Cheltenham Gold Cup odds

Only a few short months remain until Cheltenham Festival gets underway, and a lot of punters are already considering their own horse racing tips for the four-day event. From all race meetings throughout the year, the Cheltenham Gold Cup is by far one of the most highly-anticipated, with it being seen as an opportunity to pit all of the best horses against each other in one of the most competitive jump races in the world.

Through the advantage that can be gained from backing your horses ante post, there’s a lot to be said for picking your Cheltenham tips early, so we’re looking at how the odds currently assess the next Cheltenham Gold Cup, and who you’d be clever to keep tabs on.

Might Bite at 5/1

The current favourite with 5/1 odds, Might Bite stands a good chance of finishing first in the Cheltenham Gold Cup after several major wins, including a notable first place finish in last year’s RSA Novices’ Chase at Cheltenham Festival 2018. After making a lot of punters money through three wins at Cheltenham Festival out of five entries in the last four years, it’s fair to say that the bookies are correct in seeing Might Bite as a favourite.

Presenting Percy at 6/1 and Native River at 6/1

Currently joint second in terms of odds, both Presenting Percy and Native River are high in the estimations of the bookies. Both horses have wins in the last Cheltenham Festival - Presenting Percy memorably winning the RSA Insurance Novices’ Chase - but Native River has to be considered as being as favourable as Might Bite due to the fact that he finished first in last year’s Gold Cup. Might Bite finished second and has arguably shown a stronger record since, but if Native River is as capable as last year, he could set an impressive record for two successive wins in the Cheltenham Gold Cup.

Potential outsiders

After these three favourites, the odds move past 10/1, with Footpad being ranked as the fourth most likely to win with odds of 12/1. Backing Footpad makes a lot of sense after successfully winning five races in a row between April 2017 and April 2018, which include Cheltenham Festival wins in the Stan James Champion Hurdle Challenge Trophy and the Racing Post Arkle Challenge Trophy Novices’ Chase.

In a race as fiercely competitive as the Gold Cup, horse racing fans are entitled to choose their Cheltenham tips on practically any nag, with Sizing John being a worthwhile option at 14/1, as well as Thistlecrack at 20/1. It’s a race with such a level of unpredictability that a horse as prolific as Altior, who’s won fifteen of seventeen races in total, is given a price as large as 25/1.

Sunday 11 November 2018

Cheltenham Festival – ‘Championship’ Races 2011

Champion Hurdle

The 2011 Champion Hurdle marked the first appearance at the Cheltenham Festival of the prolific Hurricane Fly, trained by Willie Mullins, who’d only be beaten once in eight Grade One starts since joining the Co. Carlow handler. Ridden by Ruby Walsh, Hurricane Fly travelled well into the race after the second last, but was ultimately all out to hold Peddlers Cross by 1¼ lengths with Oscar Whisky 5 lengths further behind in third.

Queen Mother Champion Chase

The 2011 Queen Mother Champion Chase featured the winners of the previous three renewals, Big Zeb (2010) and Master Minded (2008, 2009), with the latter sent off the 2/1 favourite to banish the memory of a lacklustre performance in the previous renewal. However, it was the 10/1 chance Sizing Europe, trained by Henry de Bromhead in Co. Waterford and ridden by Andrew Lynch, who landed the spoils, staying on strongly to beat Big Zeb by 5 lengths. Captain Cee Bee finished third, beaten a further 4 lengths, while Master Minded blundered badly at the second last fence and was eased down to finish eighth of the 11 finishers.

Stayers’ Hurdle

Dual winner Big Buck’s was backed as if defeat was out of the question on his hat-trick attempt and, despite Ruby Walsh dropping his whip in the closing stages, stayed on stoutly to beat Grand Crus by 1¾ lengths and justify 10/11 favouritism. The victory took his winning tally to 11 races in a row, including five at Grade One level. For the record, Mourad stayed on, without threatening, to finish third, but a further 2¾ lengths.

Cheltenham Gold Cup

The 2011 Cheltenham Gold Cup was a vintage renewal, with three previous winners, Kauto Star, Denman and Imperial Commander, among the 13 runners. However, it was the King George VI Chase winner, Long Run, who started favourite at 7/2. Trained by Nicky Henderson and ridden by amateur jockey Sam Waley-Cohen, the 6-year-old made short work of Denman and Kauto Star, staying on strongly up the hill to win by 7 lengths and 4 lengths. Defending champion, and second favourite, Imperial Commander was tailed off when pulled up before the final fence and was found to have finished lame.