The marquee race of jump racing’s premier fixture is the Gold Cup at the Cheltenham Festival, and this year looks to have a very open look about it. There are leading contenders from both England and Ireland, who are representing many of the top yards. Can Might Bite return to his best? Will it be another victory for the very tough Native River? Or will it be a young pretender in the shape of 2017 RSA Chase winner Presenting Percy? Here we cover the credentials of these leading horses heading the market at present.
Currently heading the market is the Pat Kelly-trained Presenting Percy. There is still some excellent value around for this horse, with many operators offering in and around 5/1 for him to claim victory. The Gold Cup traditionally attracts a significant amount of money punted on the ante-post favourite, so bookies are wasting little time in using bonuses and offers to attract punters in. bet365, William Hill, Unibet, and many more have some great sign-up bonuses which punters have already taken advantage of – but the Bwin bonus on SportyTrader has seen their acquisition of Gold Cup punters rise at an increasing level over recent months. With a rating of 8.5/10 on SportyTrader, this offer is certainly very well received.
The trainer is renowned as being one of the shrewdest in the game and always has his select horses in top form heading to Cheltenham. Presenting Percy will be looking for his third Festival success in succession and remains one of the most exciting staying chasers around. He put in possibly the most impressive performance at the 2018 Festival in winning the competitive RSA Chase by seven lengths, looking tailor-made for the Gold Cup test. He rates a very strong contender for the race.
The defending champion and one of the toughest horses in training, having not only landed the Gold Cup, but having already won both a Welsh National off top weight as well as the previously named Hennessy. If the ground comes up very soft then it is only going to add to his chances in defending his crown in March. Native River continues to improve with age, and again ran encouragingly on his comeback in finishing second to Haydock specialist, Bristol De Mai. The season is all about the Gold Cup for the horse and he is another leading contender for the race.
Last season’s Gold Cup runner-up who finished the season in sparkling form in running away with the Bowl at Aintree. He remains one of the most exciting stayers in training and has always been held in the highest regard by connections. He looked to be running all over the previously mentioned Native River in last season’s Gold Cup, before being outstayed up the hill, with the very soft ground playing against him. He ran very disappointingly on his comeback, but if the ground came up on the good side and he brings his A game, then he must rate a strong contender for the race. Might Bite is certainly not straightforward as shown in the 2017 RSA Chase, but there is little doubting the ability he possesses.