15:30 Cheltenham – Cheltenham Gold Cup
Minella Indo held off the challenge of stablemate A Plus Tard to gain victory in this race last season and has an excellent record here at Cheltenham with two wins and a second from three runs at Prestbury Park, however it has to be said that his three runs since have all left a little to be desired and as such he looks a little short in the markets for me. It is likely that he has been trained with this race in mind but even so he hasn’t quite shown the same sparkle so far this season so I feel would be a somewhat risky play.
A Plus Tard could hardly have been more impressive on return this season, winning the Grade 1 Betfair Chase by over twenty lengths from Royal Pagaille in November, however was then outbattled by Galvin at Leopardstown in December and in all honesty I’ve found it quite difficult to get away from the Gordon Elliott runner as the most likely winner of this race given he has an excellent record over fences at the course, posting two wins and a second from three runs including the National Hunt Chase at last years’ Festival, and arrives here having won seven of his last eight over trips ranging from twenty to thirty furlongs. He’s also flexible with regards to ground conditions, has plenty of stamina and has shown himself to have true battling qualities so to me looks to have a great chance of victory here.
Al Boum Photo won this race in 2019 & 2020 so shouldn’t be dismissed, however could only manage a third placed finish last season and has only been seen once this season, winning a four-runner affair at Tramore on New Years’ Day. He’s been campaigned lightly in the hope of being fighting fit and raring to go for the chance for a third Gold Cup success and although I feel there are stronger options for win purposes, at the prices he looks to hold a decent each way chance.
written by Dean Kilbryde