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Horse Racing

Cheltenham Gold Cup – Friday 18th March

Friday 18th March 15:05

WhichBookie racing analyst Andrew Blair White provides an ante-post preview and betting tips for The Cheltenham Gold Cup on Friday 18th March 2022.

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Bookie Selection Best Odds Market Bet
Minella Indo 10/110/1 Ante Post
Each Way
3.05 Cheltenham
Place BetPlace Bet
Al Boum Photo 16/116/1 Ante Post
Each Way
3.05 Cheltenham
Place BetPlace Bet

Date of Tips: 31/12/2021

Disclaimer The odds for these selections were correct at the time of publishing (16:23 31/12/2021) but may have changed since. Please check the latest price before placing your bet.

In a week that threw up plenty of clues going forward for the rest of the National Hunt season, it looks to me like a lot of the Cheltenham Festival markets are beginning to take shape. That is an exciting time for us ante-post punters, who might be looking to try and procure any type of value for the horses we like going forward to March. However, the one market that is subject to a lot more questions than answers at the moment is the Gold Cup, with plenty of likely options blotting their copy book in the King George and Savills Chase. With this in mind, and with the current prices available, there are two horses that are worth backing at their current prices. 

The first horse requires trust and hope that the blot on St Stephen’s Day has not taken too much out of the horse long term. However, we were all scratching our head this time last year about Minella Indo, having been underwhelming in his first few starts of the season. He subsequently went back to Leopardstown for the Irish Gold Cup, where he disappointed again before winning the Blue Riband event at the Cheltenham Festival. It takes no scientist to conclude that this horse is a spring horse and his performances at Cheltenham have always far usurped anything that he has achieved throughout the course of a season. 

Having made a more than satisfactory comeback in the Ladbrokes Champion Chase at Down Royal, he put in a listless display at Kempton a few days ago, prompting him to be pulled up. He was reported ‘shook’ by the trainer upon arrival back home and the hope is there are no lasting effects on this horse. That might be the risk with backing this horse currently for the race, but should he get to Cheltenham in one piece, it would be of no surprise to see this horse get back to the form he has shown at three festivals on the trot. Also, the likelihood of potentially getting Jack Kennedy back on him for the Gold Cup looks more and more likely, with Blackmore likely to opt for A Plus Tard and Elliot unlikely to run anything other than Galvin (Davy Russell’s mount) in the race. The stars may yet align for this horse and I think it is a gross overreaction to push this horse out to 10/1. However, the likes of Ladbrokes, Bet365 and Boylesports all go 10/1 for Minella Indo to win the Gold Cup, and that looks an appetizing each way price.

Sentiment can always be a stumbling block for punters, and I can sometimes be found wanting to delve back to winners of the past. However, when the price is right and the horse might be right, it has to be given due consideration. Given the likelihood of his price contracting and again for citing the reasons above with many of the high profile names blotting the copybook – there is another lurker in this market who is running in the next day or two. 

We often can get ahead of ourselves when bigging up young talent within the sport, claiming the next young novice to be one of the future greats, and at times breezing over the greats that are currently with us. There is a two time Gold Cup winner in this market, and he’s currently 16/1. Al Boum Photo may not be unbeatable, in fact last year’s run would indicate that he may well be vulnerable to an improver, but he is certainly no slouch. In a season of such uncertainty in this market, he may just be the rock we need. 

Willie Mullins alluded to the fact that he may have been a bit undercooked going into last year’s Gold Cup, when running an honorable third on his quest for his three time win in the race. He had taken in his usual route of Tramore onto Cheltenham and it had not quite got him there cherry ripe when he needed it most. The ground has prevented him from getting that extra race in again this year thus far, but he heads to his normal destination of Tramore on New Year’s Day and he probably has more on his hands there than he has on previous occasions. In fact, I think Mullins has stacked the race with some of his decent Grade 3 / Listed horses to make sure the race is competitive enough to make him race and improve. 

With Ante-Post betting, there are always risks involved and with this horse, the engine might not be quite what it was and we will soon find that out around Tramore in a few days, where his price could change one way or the other. I am backing that he might win again at Tramore, and as a result, contract in price for the Gold Cup. He might not be invincible, but he may well be stubborn and solid. At a price of 16/1 with William Hill and Unibet – he is worth an each way bet for the 2022 Cheltenham Gold Cup.

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