The Cheltenham Gold Cup is the most prestigious National Hunt race in the world. This year a maximum of 23 runners will tackle the 3m2½f distance at Cheltenham Racecourse, as they bid to win the Grade One contest.
Here is a look at some of the leading contenders for the feature race of the Cheltenham Festival.
It has been an incredible 12 months for Noble Yeats. He has shot up the official ratings in the sport, following some big victories, including the Grand National and Many Clouds Chase.
Sam Waley-Cohen winning the Grand National aboard Noble Yeats on his last ever ride before retirement pic.twitter.com/8ztsig6Rh8— PA Racing (@PAracing) April 9, 2022
The Irish horse will become just the third horse to win the Grand National and Cheltenham Gold Cup double should he prevail in the latter this season. Having had success over 4m2½f, his stamina cannot be questioned.
Whatever the result of the Cheltenham Gold Cup, Noble Yeats is expected to return to Aintree a month later for the 2023 Grand National. For those looking to place a bet on the Grand National defending champion, he is the +1000 favorite to replicate his success.
Galopin Des Champs
The star 3m chaser in Ireland in the 2022/23 campaign has been Galopin Des Champs. He has built on his impressive novice campaign, winning the John Durkan Memorial Punchestown Chase and Irish Gold Cup.
Willie Mullins’ runner stepped up in distance to 3m for the first time in his career over fences when he landed the Irish Gold Cup at the Dublin Racing Festival. That success ensures he remains on track for the Cheltenham Gold Cup.
Galopin Des Champs looked to be on course for Cheltenham Festival success in 2022 but he came down at the final fence in the Turners Novices’ Chase when clear of his rivals. That remains his sole defeat as a chaser.
A Plus Tard
Just two horses in the last 50 years have won back-to-back renewals of the Cheltenham Gold Cup. Connections of A Plus Tard will be hoping their horse can follow Best Mate and Al Boum Photo.
Henry De Bromhead’s runner finished second in the Gold Cup in 2021 behind stablemate Minella Indo. He reversed that form 12 months later with an excellent performance under the hands of regular rider Rachael Blackmore. They prevailed by 15 lengths in the race, one of the widest winning margins of the last couple of decades.
A Plus Tard was pulled up in his only appearance in the 2022/23 campaign so far. That outing came in a Grade One contest at Haydock, so he will need to bounce back from that disappointing performance.
The last King George VI Chase winner to score in the Cheltenham Gold Cup in the same season was Kauto Star in 2009. Champion Trainer Paul Nicholls will be hoping Bravemansgame can follow his former star chaser by completing that double.
Bravemansgame has a 100% record this season, as he also scored in the Grade Two Charlie Hall Chase at Wetherby. The eight-year-old missed the Cheltenham Festival last season, but after his triumph at Kempton on Boxing Day, his connections feel the horse is good enough to have a shot at the feature race of the week.
This year’s renewal of the Cheltenham Gold Cup will be the 95th in history. Final declarations for the race will be announced on March 15, two days before the contest.
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