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Here are our Cheltenham Gold Cup ante-post tips from expert horse racing analyst, Will Smith. Be sure to check out our full Cheltenham ante-post tips list for more red hot tips.
Now might well be a good time to get involved in the Gold Cup market, as over the next two weekends there are two significant signposts on the road to ultimate Cheltenham glory.
The Cotswold Chase features the return of Santini, who was so lackadaisical in his seasonal reappearance at Sandown, that he all but erased the memory of his smashing RSA Chase second last year. That of course came on the back of a very interrupted preparation, and if there is a horse from last year’s novice chasers to rise to the top, then perhaps Nicky Henderson’s big brute of a horse is it. A good run will see his price surely clipped, but there are nagging doubts.
One place behind Santini in that RSA was Delta Work, who has since won the Grade One Savills Chase at Leopardstown – but it is the fourth home in that race that I think is the ante-post bet for the Gold Cup right now – and that is last year’s Aintree Bowl and Punchestown Gold Cup winner Kemboy.
At 13/2 now, should he go and win the Irish Gold Cup at the Dublin Racing Festival next weekend, then he will be challenging stablemate and last year’s Gold Cup winner Al Boum Photo for favouritism.
Unseated at the very first fence in the 2019 Gold Cup, Kemboy was sent off 8/1 that day – the shortest-priced of Willie Mullins runners and four points shorter than the winner Al Boum Photo. He then went to beat Al Boum Photo at Punchestown in ready fashion.
Some may see his reappearance fourth as slightly disappointing, but many of Mullins’ higher profile horses have been needing their first starts, as a change of tack seems to have been employed in an effort to keep them fresher for longer into the season.
Another potential doubt is that he is as yet unproven over the extra distance of the Gold Cup, compared with the bare 3m over which he has done his winning. However, in last year’s Savills Chase, Aintree Bowl and Punchestown Gold Cup he has been running away from the opposition – including Al Boum Photo.
While, as a six-year-old, he was pitched into one of the most attritional Irish Grand Nationals ever run over 3m 5f in heavy ground – I’d say his connections weren’t doubting of his stamina…