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Where the Cheltenham Gold Cup contenders will be running this month

Jonathan Vine in News 7 Dec 2018
A wonderful view of the runners in the 2015 Gold Cup.

We take a look through the hectic winter schedule and point you towards the races where you could see some Gold Cup contenders run during December 2018.

Last month at Haydock, National Hunt fans got their first chance to see some of this season’s Gold Cup contenders. Course specialist, Bristol De Mai (Gold Cup odds - 20/1 Betfair) produced a wonderful jumping display to retain his Betfair Chase crown. Reigning Gold Cup winner, Native River (7/1 Paddy Power) stayed on valiantly to claim second, with Thistlecrack (25/1 Ladbrokes) running on nicely down the home straight to secure third.

The big disappointment in the race was favourite Might Bite (9/1 Betfair), who never looked comfortable tackling the fearsome obstacles at Haydock and trailed over the line a distant fifth. Nicky Henderson will be hoping his charge can return to top form in time to defend his King George VI Chase crown, but the favourite is likely to face stiff competition from a couple of other Gold Cup hopefuls.

Bristol De Mai was well beaten in this race last year, but looked a transformed beat at Haydock and Nigel Twiston-Davies will be hopeful he can give a better account of himself in this year’s King George. While Native River is likely to be saved for the Denman Chase in the New Year, Thistlecrack will attempt to regain the King George crown he won in 2016. 

Sitting closest to Might Bite, however, we find both Waiting Patiently (33/1 Paddy Power) and Politologue (33/1 William Hill). Neither has tackled three miles before, but a strong showing from either at Kempton will see the Gold Cup become the Cheltenham Festival goal.
Later in the week, several Gold Cup will take to the track at Leopardstown, as they stage their historic Christmas Chase. All eyes will be on Noel Meade’s Road To Respect (16/1 Ladbrokes) - fourth in last year’s Gold Cup - as he bids to retain his crown. The Gigginstown-owned chaser put some decent rivals to the sword on his reappearance in the JNWine Champion Chase and will likely to head the betting when he appears at Leopardstown.

Current Gold Cup ante-post favourite, Presenting Percy (9/2 William Hill) could line up in opposition. As could Willie Mullins’ Bellshill (20/1 Ladbrokes), who defeated Road To Respect when they clashed in the Punchestown equivalent of the Gold Cup in April. Former Gold Cup king, Sizing John (16/1 Betfair) could make his return to action in what’s now known as the Savills Chase, with the names of Anibale Fly (40/1 Paddy Power) and Monalee (33/1 William Hill) standing out on the list of possible entries.

This Sunday's John Durkan Memorial Chase will see two reining Cheltenham Festival winners go head-to-head. Ryanair Chase winner, Balko Des Flos (25/1 William Hill) and JLT queen, Shattered Love (33/1 Betfair) clash with Min over two-and-a-half miles, with Edwulf (66/1 Ladbrokes) and The Storyteller (100/1 Betfair) completing the five-strong field.

Footpad (18/1 Betfair) features in the Gold Cup betting and holds entry into the King George, but he’s more likely to be kept over two miles for now. The Welsh Grand National could also see some prospective Gold Cup entrants make an appearance, with Elegant Escape (40/1 Betfair), American (80/1 William Hill) and Ms Parfois (66/1 Paddy Power) set to renew rivalries after facing off in the Ladbrokes Trophy.

If you're looking for Gold Cup tips, check out our tips page where you'll find various ante-post selections.

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Where the Cheltenham Gold Cup contenders will be running this month

We take a look through the hectic winter schedule and point you towards the races where you could see some Gold Cup contenders run during December 2018.

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