The Cheltenham Gold Cup is the blue riband event of the Festival and is run over an extended three-and-a-quarter miles.
The race is open to horses aged five and older and it really puts the emphasis on a horses’ ability to jump fluently, to have excellent tactical speed and then calls upon the horse to have stamina in abundance in order to make their way up the incline in a race to the finish.
Horses that make mistakes are found out very quickly in this feature event and even the brave warriors who have won in the past have found it difficult to recapture their best form afterwards.
It is a gruelling contest often run at excessive speed so it can pay to side with those who have previous knowledge of the course and distance when making a selection.
If you like statistics, it usually pays to stick with horses aged between seven and nine years of age as they have won nine of the last ten renewals.
Long Run is the only recent winner to have been aged as young as six and the last ten-year-old to win this Cool Dawn in 1998.
It is quite a good race for well fancied runners. Four of the last ten favourites have obliged and four other winners have been within the first three in the betting market on the day.
Paul Nicholls has won the race three times in the last twenty years and Nicky Henderson and Willie Mullins have won two apiece in the same time-frame.
Henry De Bromhead has taken the last two consecutive Gold Cups with Minella Indo and A Plus Tard.
Previous Winners of the Cheltenham Gold Cup
Runners To Watch
Below are selected runners who hold entries for Boodles Gold Cup 2023.
Karl Hedley provides some recent form notes to help point you in the right direction of identifying the winner.
GALOPIN DES CHAMPS – WILLIE MULLINS
Last seen winning the Paddy Power Irish Gold Cup at Leopardstown. He was always travelling well, but he encountered a little bit of interference on the bend.
He was classy enough to get himself out of trouble and won going away by eight lengths. It was a fine preparation for this and came on the back of another good win in the John Durkan memorial chase at Punchestown.
Very much the one to beat on all form shown this season.
NOBLE YEATS – EMMETT MULLINS
The reigning Grand National winner made a great start to this campaign by winning his first two races at Wexford and then at Aintree.
He was well fancied in the Cotswold Chase, but ultimately had nothing left to give against a resurgent Ahoy Senor.
He has been given a break since and that could well work in his favour. What goes against him is that he was only ninth in the Ultima Handicap at this track last season. He may well have not acted on the track.
A PLUS TARD – HENRY DE BROMHEAD
The hero of the hour in this last year having disappointed in the Savills Steeplechase at Leopardstown. His comeback this season was, unfortunately even more disappointing as he pulled up in the Betfair Chase.
Any horse can have an off day though and the yard were not in great form at the time. He does love this track and is a two-time Festival winner. Write him off at your own peril.
STATTLER – WILLIE MULLINS
Came into his own last season when running away with the Amateurs Novices’ Chase and beat Run Wild Fred by eight lengths.
Although he was firmly put in his place by stablemate Galopin Des Champs at Leopardstown a few weeks ago, he is fully entitled to make the frame in this race.
Usually slick with his jumping, his previous festival form will stand him in good stead.
BRAVEMANSGAME – PAUL NICHOLLS
Absolutely loves a flat track and proved that with wins in the Charlie Hall Chase and the King George at Wetherby and Kempton respectively. He has yet to win from two previous visits to Cheltenham, giving the impression that he just doesn’t stay up the hill.
If this were to be run at Aintree, he would undoubtedly have a much bigger say in the outcome. He is class in his own right but just lacks the in-depth form of the likes of Galopin Des Champs or Stattler.
CONFLATED – GORDON ELLIOTT
Was last seen winning the Savills Chase at Leopardstown at the end of December. The field was not the strongest to be fair and a five length defeat of Kemboy does not translate into immediate Gold Cup winner in waiting.
He fell in last years’ Ryanair Chase, so that has to be borne in mind. He still needs to find improvement to trouble the main protagonists.
AHOY SENOR – LUCINDA RUSSELL
Bounced back to form with a fluid win in the Cotswold Chase over the course and distance. Given that he had disappointed on each of his previous three runs, it was heartening to see him give a display that we know he is capable of.
This will be the toughest opposition he has ever faced but could easily see him making the frame.
PROTEKTORAT – DAN SKELTON
Has never been the most consistent of horses but had his day in the sun when winning the Betfair Chase at Haydock last November.
He has been to Cheltenham three times since winning a novices’ chase there back in 2020. He has a lot to find with Ahoy Senor based on their recent meeting in the Cotswold Chase and it is hard to see him being good enough.
Ticks The Right Boxes?
2023 Cheltenham Gold Cup Tips & Key Trends
Galopin Des Champs did everything right at Leopardstown and it was hard not to be impressed with his manner of victory in the Paddy Power Gold Cup.
It is worth bearing in mind though that he fell when last seen over these fences last year but hopefully he can erase that from his memory.
Wherever he is stablemate Stattler will not be far behind and could well be there to pick up the pieces. He ran a perfectly fine trial for this at Leopardstown last time and it would not be the biggest of shocks if he were there to pick up the pieces should Galopin fail to fire.
- 8 Year olds have won four out of the last five renewals
- 20 of the last 23 winners had 12 or less chase starts
- 5 of the past 12 winners ran in the Brown Advisory the previous year
- 16 of the last 22 winners won last time out
- 10 of the last 20 winners were sent off as favourite and won
Odds With Paddy Power – correct at time of publication
- 6/4 Galopin Des Champs
- 6/1 Bravemansgame
- 15/2 A Plus Tard
- 8/1 Noble Yeats
- 9/1 Stattler
- 12/1 Conflated
- 12/1 Protektorat
- 14/1 Ahoy Senor
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