Cheltmental’s 2023 Gold Cup Preview

The Gold Cup is the feature race of the entire Festival, and is the one every racing fan will be looking forward to. The list of superstars to have won the race is endless, but a few key names to win the big one include:

  • Golden Miller
  • Arkle
  • Best Mate
  • Kauto Star
  • Denman
  • Al Boum Photo

Last year saw A Plus Tard run out an emphatic 15-length winner for Henry De Bromhead, which saw Rachael Blackmore become the first ever female jockey to win the Gold Cup.

Racing expert Dave Young (A.K.A. Cheltmental) guides us through the key runners and gives us his advised bet for the feature race of the festival.

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Just a 7yo but he’s already achieved an OR of 175. Has looked a natural over fences and a horse with a huge engine even as a Novice Chaser and all for that he did fall in The Turners here 12 months ago he didn’t jump badly, it seemed to be after the landing. Jumps racing is the name of the game and he’s given no reason to suggest he’s more likely than any other runner to fail to complete.

In terms of that engine I mentioned he’s not had any horse inside 8 lengths of him since his Punchestown Grade 1 back in April 2021. He’s posted 175, 177, 172, 174 RPR’s in his last four races and given his last start was only his second time over 3 miles, we just don’t know how good he might actually be. What we do know is he’s better than the vast majority of this field so he’s a deserved favourite and with it being the blue ribband event I suspect his price will hold up.


I’m willing to forgive any horse a bad run. A Plus Tard in Punchestown 2019 trying 3m for the first time was beaten over 14 lengths. That was a below par effort and even more so when you think he’s been second and won a Gold Cup since. The Haydock run was an interesting one because he didn’t look quite right from the get go but never enough to make you think something was seriously amiss.

Plenty of horses Henry De Bromhead sends over for these races in a smaller team appear to run below their best but given he’s travelled to Cheltenham 4 times and at least placed in every one of those we know he’ll be giving his best account on the day.

Considering he’s still holding an OR of 180 he’s going to be the biggest threat to the entire field if he puts his best foot forward. Appreciate there’s a risk attached given the Haydock run and him not being seen since however, even accounting for that in his price, at 15/2 he looks backable.


Serious performance in this season’s King George where I thought running wide throughout and being jumped into was the signs of a terrible ride so I’d even be tempted to upgrade the effort.

Only once ran here but that was a 12 length 3rd to Bob Olinger in the Ballymore and he was beaten at Aintree after. Since then his only blot was back at Aintree having missed The Festival on account of the ground.

He’s been running on relatively flat tracks but the program is set up that they’re the main options for this type of horse so I have no worry about the course. I also have no worry about the distance as I think he’ll stay as long as he needs too, I am just cautious of the fact he’s put in a couple of efforts in the last few seasons where you’d question if he’s always firing or can be open to an off day.


Got to 8 lengths of Galopin Des Champs at Leopardstown and the extra distance should help him as much as the favourite. Won the ‘not quite’ 4 miler last season and quickened clear like a horse who could have gone round again.

Does have a bit to find on figures and was a disappointing beaten favourite back here in 2021 so whether he’s right up the standard of a top-notcher I’m not so sure and for that reason I think he could be held for win purposes.


Winner of The Savills chase at Christmas where he won with plenty in hand. That was his second Grade 1 win over fences and his third RPR in the 170’s. Probably haven’t seen the best of him yet but he will need to have improved if he wants to get in the thick of one of the deepest Gold Cups in recent years.


A very strange season in that he was well beaten in The Charlie Hall, relatively well beaten at Aintree after then a mile behind in The King George where his trainer stated after that she was really happy with how he ran.

Won The Cotswold Chase here to show that he still retains that ability but doesn’t jump the best and races a little lazy at times so I’m just not sure he can win a Gold Cup, but I think if things go his way he can certainly finish with more behind him than in front.


Dan Skelton stated that he’d left him short for The Cotswold Chase but thought he had enough to still win so there’s only so much you can excuse a 5 length loss.

Was over 17 lengths behind A Plus Tard in last season’s Gold Cup and while his Haydock performance was visually very impressive, the only real yardstick pulled up.

Jumps well and travels well in the main so he’s a proper horse, again I’m just not so sure he’s up to winning an ordinary Gold Cup let alone a seriously decent renewal like this.


Won this in 2021 and was second last year but I’d argue he was a little fortunate in his win because I think the jockey won it for him, or rather the jockey in behind lost if for the runner up.

Still, he is a Gold Cup winner and he did win on New Years Day in Tramore. It just wasn’t the effort of a horse who is going to regain his crown and while his festival form figures read 1, 2, 1, 2 he’s definitely on the decline now so he’s not for me.


A PLUS TARD @ 15/2 generally

Galopin Des Champs deservedly heads the betting and he’s going to be tough to beat if handling the step up in trip. However, I can’t ignore the price of last year’s winner A Plus Tard, and although he hasn’t been seen since that disappointing run at Haydock, I think the odds are too good to turn down. He’s a class act and has placed in all four previous runs at Cheltenham, so I’m expecting him to be back to his best and serve it up to Galopin Des Champs!

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