Cheltenham Gold Cup Chase Betting Tips & Predictions – Friday 15th March 2019

There are six other races on Friday’s card at the Cheltenham Festival, but there is a reason that the day is known simply as Gold Cup Day. The single most prestigious jumps contest of the season, the Gold Cup is steeped in history, lasting memories and drama, thanks to the brilliance of the likes of Arkle, Denman and Kauto Star, to name just three.

It might be that a new name isn’t added to the winners list this Friday however as 2018 hero Native River is back seeking to defend his crown. While the reigning champion is certainly in with a shout, Clan Des Obeaux looks most likely to claim the prestigious title.

Top Tips

Clan Des Obeaux to win @ 4/1

Odds correct at time of writing but may have changed since. Check site for latest prices.

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Race Info

A big race and a big prize, with a whopping £625,000 in total prize money up for grabs in the Festival’s flagship event. 3m2½f is the trip for this Grade 1 contest set to be run on good to soft ground.

GoingDistanceGradePrize MoneyRunnersEW Terms
Good to soft 3m 2½f Grade 1 £625,000 16 1/4 1-3

Recent Winners

Experience can often prove to be an advantage here, with Coneygree being the only novice to come out on top in recent memory. Ten of the last 12 winners had at least eight chase starts under their belts, three more than co-favourite Presenting Percy has managed.

There is such a thing as too much experience though as there has been a distinct lack of older Gold Cup champions. No horse older than nine has won this since Cool Dawn in 1998, which is bad news for the likes of Might Bite and Thistlecrack.

YearWinnerSPTrainerJockey
2018 Native River 5/1 Colin Tizzard Richard Johnson
2017 Sizing John 7/1 Jessica Harrington Robbie Power
2016 Don Cossack 9/4 Gordon Elliott Bryan Cooper
2015 Coneygree 7/1 Mark Bradstock Nico de Boinville
2014 Lord Windermere 20/1 Jim Culloty Davy Russell

Analysis: Tricky race to call

This is a completely wide open Gold Cup renewal with three horses tied at 4/1 odds at the top of the betting. It’s not just the leading trio you need to think about though with plenty of quality found further down the betting. Kemboy (8/1) enters the race on the back of two victories while Thistlecrack last managed a fine second in the King George.

There are some runners who look safe to discount however such as Bristol De Mai (20/1), who’s been unable to replicate his Betfair Chase form outside of Haydock. A lack of experience is an issue for Al Boum Photo (14/1) while the window of opportunity seems to have passed for last year’s favourite Might Bite (14/1), now 10 years old.

Clan to continue meteoric rise

Clan Des Obeaux finished last season with an official rating of 155 but two superb displays either side of the New Year has seen it rise to 173. Nobody seemed to predict that the seven-year-old would make such incredible strides forward but now there’s no telling where his limit might be. He first sent shockwaves around the racing world when beating a bunch of top names to the King George. Hungry for more, Paul Nicholls’ horse then hammered Terrefort in the Denman Chase. There looks like being more to come from the Sir Alex Ferguson owed horse and you’d be brave betting against him given the form he’s in.

Percy presented too soon

You can’t help but feel that Presenting Percy would stand a better shot in next year’s Gold Cup. The RSA Chase winner is no doubt a talent but he comes into Cheltenham’s showpiece event having only made five chase starts. To make matters worse, hindered preparations this year have seen the eight-year-old make just one appearance over hurdles this season. Soft to heavy ground would have strengthened his claim but the predicted going is good to soft and this is enough to make you think it won’t be his year.

Native River to relinquish his crown

Last year Native River approached the Festival on the back of a strong showing in the Denman Chase. This year however he has to make do with third in the King George. Colin Tizzard’s horse finished 13 lengths short of Clan Des Obeaux that day and this is a huge gap to make up here. The extra distance of the Gold Cup will work to his favour but it doesn’t look like being quite enough. There’s also the issue that no horse has been able to win this race back to back since Best Mate in 2004.

Final Verdict: Clan Des Obeaux to win

There are some quality names in the mix for this year’s Gold Cup renewal but we’re backing a rapidly improving Clan Des Obeaux to hold off the opposition. His trainer, Paul Nicholls, has been in great form this season and another Gold Cup victory will see him go joint top as the race’s leading trainer.

About the Cheltenham Gold Cup: The Festival's Finest Prize

Fences at Cheltenham Racecourse

There are many “Cup” contests staged over the course of the British racing year, be it on the flat or over jumps, gold, silver or otherwise, but when it comes to prestige, profile and resonance with the racing public, there is one such race which stands head and shoulders above them all. That race is of course the Cheltenham Gold Cup.

Acting as the headline race on the fourth and final day of the magnificent Cheltenham Festival in March, this Grade 1, 3m2½f event featuring no fewer than 22 formidable fences. Open to runners aged five and older, it is just about the finest advertisement for the sport, never failing to deliver in terms of excitement, class and drama.

Stamina has always been a key requirement for success in this contest, but not always jumping ability. The first race to go under the Cheltenham Gold Cup title being a three mile flat affair which took place way back in 1819.

The history of the race we know and love today really begins in 1924 though with the first edition of the event to be contested over obstacles. Now the jewel in the National Hunt crown, the Gold Cup wasn’t always the most glittering prize on the Cheltenham roster, being upstaged by the National Hunt Chase and County Hurdle in its early years. A succession of classy and hugely popular winners, in addition to rapidly increasing prize money – now well over £500,000 – would soon change that though.

All Time Greats Shine Bright

Chart Showing the Horses with the Most Cheltenham Gold Cup Wins

Chances are that even non-racing fans will be familiar with at least a couple of the horses in the above chart. The fact that the likes of Arkle, Best Mate and Kauto Star are names which transcend the sport is in no small part down to their exploits in this contest.

Golden Top Of The Gold Cup Tree

Topping the pile and two clear of the field in terms of number of wins is the legendary Golden Miller. Simply unstoppable around here between 1932 and 1936, his five victories make owner Dorothy Paget the most successful in Gold Cup history. As of 2018 Golden Miller remains the only horse to win both the Gold Cup and Grand National in the same season (1934), a feat unlikely to be repeated.

Awesome Arkle Draws Irish In

It is only fitting that National Hunt’s greatest race has been won by the sport’s greatest ever exponent. Officially rated the most talented chaser of all time, the imperious Arkle took top honours in three consecutive years between 1964-1966. It is the success of Arkle and his huge Irish following which really cemented the love affair between Britain’s most prestigious jumps race and our friends from the Emerald Isle – an affair began with Vincent O’Brien’s three-time winner Cottage Rake and which continues as strongly as ever to this day.

Kauto The Comeback King

Moving into more modern times, Henrietta Knight’s tough and talented Best Mate would not be denied between 2002 and 2004 and deserves his place on the list of best ever winners, but even he was outshone by the Paul Nicholls trained Kauto Star.

A record breaking five time winner of the King George VI Chase at Kempton, Kauto Star may only have won this race on two occasions, but the second of those successes set him apart from the rest. Too good for the field in 2007, he then had no answers to the grinding assault of the horse known as “The Tank”, as stablemate Denman saw off all comers in 2008. What then followed in 2009 was simply sensational as Kauto Star put in a jaw dropping display to pulverise the opposition to the tune of 13 lengths, becoming the first and – as of 2018 – only horse to ever reclaim his Gold Cup crown having lost it.

Gold Cup: The Long And The Short Of It

Given their utter dominance of the chasing game during their careers, it’s no surprise that the names of Golden Miller and Arkle are to the fore when looking at the shortest priced winners of the race. Golden Miller started at 4/7 in 1933 and 1/2 in 1935, but even those prices look big compared to those returned by Arkle. Coming home in front at 30/100 in 1965, the cat was well and truly out of the bag one year later, with horse known simply as “himself” being sent off at odds of just 1/10!

This race doesn’t always go the way of the market leaders though. Gay Donlad (1955) and L’Escargot (1970) both returned SP’s of a rewarding 33/1. However the biggest shock of them all came in 1990. Supposedly well out of his depth and there to make up the numbers in the eyes of many, the Graham McCourt trained Norton’s Coin defied them all to come home in front at a massive 100/1.

Gold Cup: The Young And The Old

Chart Showing the Ages of Cheltenham Gold Cup Winners

Open to all chasers aged five and older, it is nevertheless rare for one so young as five to have the necessary mix of talent and maturity in order to come out on top. So rare in fact that as of 2018, only three runners have achieved such a feat: Red Splash (1924), Patron Saint (1928) and most recently Golden Miller in 1932. It’s certainly been a while since this has been a race for the youngsters.

At the other end of the spectrum we have a couple of horses for whom father time proved to be no obstacle in pursuit of jump racing’s most coveted prize. Silver Fame (1951) and What A Myth (1969) both came home in front at the grand old age of 12. Overall though – as with many chase contests at the festival – it seems that the ideal window of opportunity lies between seven and nine years of age.

Legendary Names On Trainers List

Chart Showing the Trainers with the Most Cheltenham Gold Cup Wins

Propelled by Arkle’s three wins and topped up by further successes from Prince Regent (1946) and Fort Leney (1968) it is Tom Dreaper who leads the way amongst the trainers here. Legends of yesteryear, Vincent O’Brien, Fulke Walwyn and Basil Briscoe won’t be catching him now, but sitting on four wins as of 2018, multiple Champion Trainer Paul Nicholls just might.

Aboard Arkle for his three successes and also Fort Leney, Pat Taaffe leads the jockey standings.

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