The Cheltenham Gold Cup is the Blue Riband event in the National Hunt code of horse racing. It has been won by some of the best chasers in history, including Arkle, Mill House, Desert Orchid, Best Mate, and Kauto Star.
Here is a look at this year’s highlight of the Cheltenham Festival at some of the potential storylines from the race.
Galopin Des Champs Could a Superstar
Irish horse Galopin Des Champs has been one of the leading Cheltenham ante post tips 2023, as he has looked very impressive this season in his two appearances over fences. He goes into the race as the +150 favorite and he is the horse his rivals will all have to beat.
Willie Mullins’ second-season chaser won the John Durkan Memorial Punchestown Chase on his opening run of the campaign back in December. He showcased his speed in that race over a distance of 2m4f. Then on his next start at the Dublin Irish Festival, he proved he also has the stamina to stay 3m, winning the Irish Gold Cup on his final outing before Cheltenham.
Beast! Galopin Des Champs is back with a bang! pic.twitter.com/CohsILuhUL— At The Races (@AtTheRaces) December 19, 2022
The seven-year-old has five wins from six starts over fences. His sole defeat came at the 2022 Cheltenham Festival. His connections will be hoping he can make up for his fall at the final fence of the Turner Novices’ Chase by winning the biggest prize of the week this year.
Defending Champion Back for More Success
A Plus Tard was outstanding in the Cheltenham Gold Cup in 2022, as he powered away from his stablemate Minella Indo and the rest of the field up the hill at Prestbury Park to win the day four feature. His rider Rachael Blackmore became the first female rider in history to win the historic race.
Henry De Bromhead’s runner will be bidding to replicate what Al Boum Photo achieved in 2020 by defending his crown in the 3m 2½f contest. He has only featured once this season and he failed to finish in that appearance at Haydock back in November.
The Irish horse has an excellent record at Cheltenham as this racecourse always seems to bring out the best of him. A return to this venue may just bring out the best of the former winner.
King George Winner Bravemans Game Among Challengers
Trainer Paul Nicholls knows all about Cheltenham Gold Cup success. He has won the race four times, with See More Business, Kauto Star (twice), and Denman all giving him success. Between 2007 and 2009, he won the contest in three consecutive years during the great Kauto Star and Denman era.
BRAVEMANSGAME WINS THE KING GEORGE VI CHASE! 🎉 pic.twitter.com/CJPEcNvWI6— Racing Post (@RacingPost) December 26, 2022
Nicholls goes into this year’s race with strong claims with Bravemansgame. His horse won the King George VI Chase at Kempton on Boxing Day. He is confident the extra distance at Cheltenham will not be a problem for his horse as he bids to complete an impressive double.
The Ditcheat trainer is not afraid to bypass the Cheltenham Festival with his best horses if he does not feel the racecourse will suit them. The fact he is allowing Bravemansgame to take his chance this year says a lot about what he thinks about his chances of success.
Grand National Hero Noble Yeats Bidding to Match History
Only two horses in the history of National Hunt racing have won the Cheltenham Gold Cup and Grand National in their careers. Golden Miller was the first to do it in 1934, while more recently, L’Escargot completed the rare double in 1975.
2022 Grand National winner Noble Yeats heads into this year’s Cheltenham Gold Cup as a big player. He won the Grade Two Many Clouds Chase at Aintree earlier in the season and he is now rated as high as 167 in the official ratings. That’s 20lb higher than when he went into the world’s most famous steeplechase last year.
Noble Yeats will return to Liverpool in April where he will be bidding to defend his crown in the marathon race around the Grand National Course. But before then, his trainer Emmet Mullins will be hoping he can collect the top prize in the feature race at Cheltenham, which will be a remarkable achievement for all those involved.
This year’s Cheltenham Gold Cup will be the 95th renewal of the race and it could be set to be one of the best yet.