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The biggest race of the week is finally here, it's the Boodles Cheltenham Gold Cup Chase, and what a race this look on paper!
Though the betting suggests this race is going to go in the favour of the favourite, I thought it was quite a competitive race and one with plenty of questions to be answered.
Cheltenham 3:30 – Bravemansgame 7/1 (1pt EW)
I'll start it off with the hot favourite, Galopin Des Champs. The main question lingering around this lad is whether he'll stay or not. I think he will stay, and he has looked like the real deal since he won the Martin Pipe a couple of years ago. He has turned his form into something special since moving to fences, he is accurate and slick over his fences and you can see why he is the price he is. However, I don't think he is as good as what a lot of people make him out to be, and I don't think he will improve for the step up in trip, though he is a classy 3m and even 2m 4f, and even though I think he will stay, it doesn't mean I think he will win. 6/4 is short enough for a race of this nature, and I'll be more than happy to look elsewhere.
I've slated the Grade 1 British horses this week and it came back to bite me when Stage Star put egg on my face when beating Mighty Potter and co in the opener yesterday. I've had many opinions on Bravemansgame over the years, whether I think he is a stayer or not, do I think he likes Cheltenham, but somehow my dart has landed on him to win the Gold Cup. I think he probably has the best piece of form in the race. That might shock some, but his King George win was impressive, if you look at the bare facts you'd think he beat Royale Pagaille into second, but people who don't watch the replays will forget he was cantering all over L'Homme Presse before that horse unseated Charlie Deutsch. He would've battered him that day, and when you think that L'Homme Presse won the RSA in great style last year and would be a short-price for the Gold Cup today, you've got to say this lad has a very good chance. Do I think he will stay? I hope so, but going off his last run which was run in a good time at Kempton, he didn't look to be stopping, and I think to win a Gold Cup you've got to travel, stay and jump well and I think he might have all three attributes.
A Plus Tard has a massive chance if he bounces back to anywhere near last year when he won this race. He put in a monster performance that day, and I didn't expect it that day. His preparation put me off for this, he was pulled up in the Betfair Chase at Haydock, and he hasn't been seen since, so to do that and go on to win a Gold Cup would be one of the training performances of recent times for me. His price is too short based on his prep. He has the ability and the yard are hitting form at the right time, but I think his price is terrible based on lto.
Ahoy Senor is one of my favourite horses, he is a nutter and I love nutty horses. Tonnes of ability on his day and has a proper engine, but you don't know what version will turn up on the day. He can sometimes jump to the right, he can be too keen in his races, and sometimes his jumping is just terrible. If it all clicks on the day he is a monster, I'm sure of it, but I couldn't be backing him, even at 20/1. It will break my heart if he wins this, after all the times I've backed him.
Noble Yeats has close form to Ahoy Senor based on the last two runs. You know for a fact he will stay this trip, but I think it would be quite disappointing if a Grand National winner was good enough to win a Gold Cup in this day and age. He is an each-way player if the ground is extremely testing, but I think there are classier horses in this race.