|Date||Friday, March 18, 2022|
|Start Time||15:05 (GMT+0)|
|Where to Watch||Cheltenham live stream at MansionBet|
|Horses’ Age||5+ Years.|
Taking place on the fourth and final day of the Cheltenham Festival, the Cheltenham Gold Cup is a steeplechase race that is widely regarded as the biggest run of the multi-day event. The race is seen as the most prestigious event on the National Hunt calendar, drawing in massive crowds both at the racetrack and through those watching on TV.
It’s also the wealthiest non-handicap race in Great Britain, with a total prize purse exceeding £625,000. Some of the finest chasers in the history of the sport have made their names at the Gold Cup.
Popular champions like Arkle and Best Mate have cemented the race’s status over the years. Today, it’s perhaps the most important event in British horse racing, and it’s hugely popular with punters. The Gold Cup draws more betting interest than many other Cheltenham races combined.
Gold Cup: Tips and Predictions
Note: the predictions below refer to the 2021 running of this race – preview will be updated closer to the beginning of the 2022 Cheltenham Festival.
It’s the main event of the four-day Cheltenham Festival and the Gold Cup is the showpiece on Friday afternoon in the Cotswolds.
Al Boum Photo is favourite to win the race for a third year running but the likes of Champ, A Plus Tard and Royal Pagaille are eager for a swipe at his crown.
Watch the Cheltenham Gold Cup (3.05pm) via live streaming when logged into MansionBet and read on as our expert tipster preview the big race.
Rare Photo Opportunity for Mullins Star
Prior to Al Boum Photo winning this race in 2019, Willie Mullins had been staring down the barrel of a ‘Gold Cup hoodoo’ following a string of near misses. That all changed when a horse with a past almost as chequered as the silks he wears soared up the Cheltenham Hill to win.
Al Boum Photo fell in the RSA here in 2018, leaving Ruby Walsh crumpled with a broken leg, and a mere month later he and Paul Townend infamously threw away a Grade 1 novice success at Punchestown, having taken the wrong course with the race at their mercy.
Since that lamentable evening it’s been near-enough pitch perfect for their partnership, with five wins from six starts.
Mullins has choreographed Al Boum Photo’s career in splendid fashion across three seasons – the peak ones of his racing story – winning at the outpost that is Tramore on New Year’s Day three years running before returning to Cheltenham in March a fresh horse.
He’s versatile – winning a fast-run renewal of this race in 2019 and a more tactical affair last time – and his jumping now looks distinctly assured.
He’s got the chance to emulate Best Mate in becoming a Gold Cup hat-trick hero and can grasp it. The likes of Native River, Frodon and Kemboy should ensure there’s pace in this race and that is very likely to see Al Boum Photo to best effect. Expect him to capture his moment again.
Al Boum Photo to win the Gold Cup @ 5/2*
River Still in Full Flow
Native River won this in 2018 and would join Kauto Star as the only horse to win a Gold Cup, lose one and the regain it – should he do it. Last month’s Sandown slaying of Bristol De Mai and Santini suggests he’s got a chance and trainer Colin Tizzard is now seeing his string rebound after a testing winter.
Any rain falling would help Native River no end, but in any case, Richard Johnson is likely to push forward and give this a brave go from the front.
Native River missed this race a year ago and in the 2019 defence of his crown much more patient tactics were adopted. Going at it from the front is what this horse relishes and he showed last time how stubborn he can be in possession of a lead.
He’s 8/1 in market without Al Boum Photo and could be some value there.
Native River betting W/O
Al Boum Photo @ 8/1*
Trio of First-Timers Interesting
Champ, A Plus Tard and Royal Pagaille are Gold Cup ‘newbies’ this year and they all come here with interest mounting for various reasons.
Champ, winner over three-miles at this meeting a year ago from the most unlikely position jumping the last, has long been touted for this very race and is named in honour of AP McCoy.
His lone prep run came last month in Grade 2 Game Spirit Chase at Newbury over 2m½f. Unorthodox barely covers that preparation, his only run since this meeting last March.
Champ has enormous talent, no doubt, but his jumping still causes worry and he’d be some star to win this in the circumstances.
A Plus Tard is also a previous Cheltenham Festival winner and he gunned down Kemboy to win the Savills Chase at Christmas – Ireland’s key winter trial for this.
He was nursed into that race before flying home and that bodes well for him getting the 3m2f trip now. Trainer Henry De Bromhead would complete a unique treble of Champion Hurdle, Champion Chase and Gold Cup if he wins.
Rachael Blackmore prefers A Plus Tard to stablemate Minella Indo and she’s shown throughout the week what a gigantic ally she is in saddle. Her mount can be backed to finish ahead of Champ.
And then there is the rapidly-progressive Royal Pagaille for Venetia Williams and Charlie Deutsch. He’s been making a mockery of handicap marks and is now up to 166 following his Peter March demolition at Haydock in January.
Owner Rich Ricci has endured so many near misses in this race, could he finally snare the Blue Riband and deny long-time ally Mullins? Strange things have happened but maybe Royal Pagaille’s momentum will be checked for now.
A Plus Tard to beat
Champ @ 4/5*
Placed Horses with Questions to Answer
Santini and Lostintranslation were second and third behind Al Boum Photo a year ago but nothing they’ve done this season suggests they are going to overturn those placings now. indeed, history tells us horses rarely win this great race if not proving up to the challenge first time of asking – even having gone so close.
Santini is a dour stayer but, while better than likes of Aso and Black Op, the Seven Barrows inmate probably just lacks the class of a Gold Cup winner.
Lostintranslation has not had a good season and even the resurgence of Team Tizzard is not enough to restore faith in him after another poor run in the Denman Chase at Newbury last month.
*All odds correct at time of writing for up to date odds check the table below.
Gold Cup: Betting OddsRace finished - Check out the latest Horse Racing odds
Since we can’t be there for the action, you can play along at home with the Gold Cup Sweepstake Kit.
Cheltenham Gold Cup: Recent Winners
|2021||Minella Indo||JW Kennedy||Henry de Bromhead|
|2020||Al Boum Photo||Paul Townend||Willie Mullins|
|2019||Al Boum Photo||Paul Townend||Willie Mullins|
|2018||Native River||Richard Johnson||Colin Tizzard|
|2017||Sizing John||Robbie Power||Jessica Harrington|
|2016||Don Cossack||Bryan Cooper||Gordon Elliott|