Cheltenham Gold Cup
Cheltenham Festival race guide – Gold Cup betting
The showpiece event of the entire festival could well spring a few surprises. Imperial Commander is the obvious choice but Nigel Twiston-Davies’ reigning champion hasn’t seen a racecourse in 2011 and his lack of preparation could prove a hindrance. Two time Gold Cup winner Kauto Star cannot be written off despite his defeat at the he hands of Long Run in the King George. Long Run is in with a shout on that form but is untested at Cheltenham and no 6-year-old has won this race since Mill House in 1963. With that in mind, it may be worth sticking with experience and DENMAN has an abundance of it – second to Imperial Commander in this last year and winner in 2008 he could have one big run left in the tank. Get a free £25 bet with William Hill.
The Gold Cup is like no other at the festival, millions and millions of pounds will exchange hands for the most prestigious event in the National Hunt calendar. The race itself, is ran over a distance of three miles and two-and-half furlongs which will take in twenty-two fences in the process. The reward is massive- Imperial Commander’s connections scooped £475,000 in prize money for his seven length victory over Denman last year and that looks set to increase for the 2011 renewal. Horses aged five years plus can contest this great event although older horses have had the majority of success in this race since it began way back in 1924. General Miller is one exception to that rule, he won this race as a 5yo in 1932 and retained his title for the following four years – a truly once in a lifetime horse.
But let’s focus on those who will be fancied to win it this year. Kauto Star will surely go off favourite despite his crashing fall last year. Paul Nicholls’ star chaser went of 8/11 odds on but fell approaching the home straight – so the question remains how much has that mishap affected his confidence. Well, not very if his latest run at Down Royal in November is anything to go by, he ran out a four length winner on his first run since that fall and all looks to be well ahead of the big showdown. Keep an eye out for his route to the Gold Cup and if he successfully wins all his trials he will be very hard to beat.
Stablemate Denman is another one of those tipped to score for a second time on the biggest of all stages. Nicholls’ has vowed to keep the pair apart in the run up to March but this 2008 winner cannot be ruled out. He currently finds himself as high as 12/1 with some firms but surely that price will disappear as we near race time. He ran an excellent race last year but couldn’t quite live with Imperial commander but those who believe he’s past should think again.
Surprisingly, Imperial Commander doesn’t head the market after Paddy Brennan’s success aboard him last time. The Nigel Twiston-Davies trained chaser currently finds himself second favourite at 5/1 general behind Kauto Star. That’s because Kauto has had the measure of him on no fewer than three occasions before, and on his reappearance after his Cheltenham success he blundered and fell in the Bowl Chase at Aintree. But you can draw a line through that run, because if this classy 9yo can put his best foot forward he can come close in his shot for a consecutive Gold Cup.
Others to watch…
Other potential 2011 Gold Cup runners to be feared are What a Friend part owned by Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson. He’s another from the Paul Nicholls yard and he is in with a chance at 14/1 in the ante-post should he be entered. Nicky Henderson’s Punchestown’s props up the leading few at 16/1 and cannot be discounted. Although, these are very early markets and some may opt out of the Gold Cup closer to the time.
Four favourites have won this feature in the last decade and the market generally gets this one spot on. The largest price winner in this time frame was 2006 champ War of Attrition at 15/2 so edge your bets close to the head of the market. They are usually the ones with the form already in the book and Kauto’s fall last time may mean for an open market so be sure to get a good price about your fancy. Take in the Hennessy Gold Cup and the King George on Boxing Day as they are good trials when trying to suss out this race.
Whatever the outcome, The Gold Cup is certain to be a real thriller for all the racing public. Records will be made no doubt and some may even be enhanced – but can Kauto complete a three-timer or could there be a new horse that writes his name into the Gold Cup history books?
Gold Cup free bets
Bet 365 – The biggest free bet offer during Cheltenham is from Bet 365 who are offering £200 in free bets. The free bets are awarded after your first, fourth and twentieth bets. This is a great offer for those who are planning to bet on lots of Cheltenham races.
Victor Chandler – One of the biggest names in online betting (you’ve probably seen the TV advert with Paddy Mcguiness) is offering a free £25 matched bet during Cheltenham.
Cheltenham Festival free bets
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