The Gold Cup looks a wide open affair this year with 16 runners going to post, each of them looking to hold some sort of chance. Our in-house experts have compiled a runner-by-runner guide in the hope of finding the winner.
- Al Boum Photo (Paul Townend/Willie Mullins)
Grade One winning novice who looked to have more to give when falling in last year’s RSA. Looked to have another Grade One at his mercy until an extraordinary incident at the last at Punchestown. Hasn’t been seen since January and has to improve his jumping but it’s highly likely we haven’t seen the best of him.
- Anibale Fly (Barry Geraghty/Tony Martin)
Career best when staying on noticeably well to finish third behind Native River and Might Bite in this race last year. Followed that up with a cracking effort to finish fourth in the Grand National and warmed up for this with a good run behind Monalee in the Red Mills Chase. Certainly not without a chance.
- Bellshill (Ruby Walsh/Willie Mullins)
Multiple Grade One winner who received a masterful ride to win the Irish Gold Cup last time out. His Cheltenham record could read better however, and he needs a career best to win this. He’s the choice of Ruby Walsh.
- Bristol De Mai (Daryl Jacob/Nigel Twiston-Davies)
His two best performances have come at Haydock but he has failed to reach the same heights away from the Liverpool venue. Soft ground is a positive but he has a lot to prove in this field despite being the joint top-rated in the race.
- Clan Des Obeaux (Harry Cobden/Paul Nicholls)
Brilliant winner of the King George and proved it was no fluke with a smooth success in the Denman Chase last time out. Paul Nicholls has won the Gold Cup four times and looks to have a huge chance of equalling Jim Dreaper’s record of five Gold Cup wins.
- Definitly Red (Danny Cook/Brian Ellison)
Dour stayer who failed to fire in this race last year. He was beaten at 1/6f when last seen but has proven ability at this course and on soft ground. He’ll be staying on when others have cried enough.
- Double Shuffle (Jonathan Burke/Tom George)
Admirable servant who loved Cheltenham as a young horse but this looks a step too far.
- Elegant Escape (Tom O’Brien/Colin Tizzard)
Fantastic winner of the Coral Welsh National at Chepstow and one of, if not the most dour stayer in the race. He has a bit to find with Presenting Percy on their RSA form but he’s definitely improved since then and ran yesterday’s winner, Frodon, to 3/4L in the Cotswold Chase when last seen. That form looks even better now and he certainly has an each-way chance.
- Invitation Only (Mr P W Mullins/W P Mullins)
Cracking performance in the Thyestes when last seen but he’ll need to improve on that form to get competitive here.
- Kemboy (David Mullins/W P Mullins)
Received a corker of a ride to win the Lexus at Leopardstown but that was his fourth win in a row and it’s quite possible he’s underrated. He needs to brush up his jumping slightly but he’s another with a chance in a wide open race.
- Might Bite (Nico de Boinville/Nicky Henderson)
RSA and King George winner in 2017 but was worried out of it in the 2018 renewal of the Gold Cup. He hasn’t been the same horse this year, but he’s had a wind operation since and there’s every chance Nicky Henderson can get him back to his best.
- Native River (Richard Johnson/Colin Tizzard)
The rain has arrived which enhances his chances of winning back-to-back Gold Cups. What you see is what you get with Native River and if he’s in front after the last, it will take a monster performance to get by him. Huge chance.
- Presenting Percy (Davy Russell/Pat Kelly)
Brilliant winner of the RSA and the Pertemps the year before. Hasn’t run over fences this season which isn’t an ideal preparation but he has the potential to be a top class chaser and falls into the ‘could be anything’ category.
- Thistlecrack (Tom Scudamore/Colin Tizzard)
The third of Colin Tizzard’s three runners which is an achievement in itself. Brilliant winner of the King George in 2016 but hasn’t reached the same heights until chasing home Clan Des Obeaux on Boxing Day. That hinted that the ability is still there but he will need a career best to win here.
- Yala Enki (Charlie Deutsch/Venetia Williams)
Ran well in the Coral Welsh National behind Elegant Escape but it would be a huge shock if he were to get involved.
- Shattered Love (Jack Kennedy/Gordon Elliott)
The rain is a positive for this mare who won the JLT in good fashion last year. She hasn’t won since but has run some good races in defeat over inadequate trips. She’s had a wind op since her last run and is not without an each-way chase.