Cheltenham Gold Cup Preview
It’s now less than a month until the 2021 Cheltenham Festival gets underway and once again the Gold Cup is one of the most hotly-anticipated races of the week. Can Al Boum Photo cement his legacy amongst the Gold Cups or will young pretenders, Champ and A Plus Tard etch their own names in the history books? Here at freebet.com we preview one of the biggest races in the UK racing calendar, providing odds courtesy of our betting partners, Paddy Power.
Al Boum Photo, winner in both 2019 and 2020 is aiming to match the post-war record of three Gold Cup wins, joining Arkle and Best Mate as one of the race’s most successful ever horses. Talking about Al Boum Photo this week, trainer, Willie Mullins, exclaimed, “He is in great shape and worked well last week. He has a big bit of work coming up this week.”
Willie Mullins has become synonymous with the Cheltenham Festival, chalking up an astonishing 72 Festival wins in his career, So, it’s fair to say that the Irishman knows a thing or two about identifying a potential Cheltenham Festival winner. Mullins described Al Boum Photo as “unremarkable”, explaining “Little did I think when we bought him or when he ran out at Punchestown or when he had the mishap with Ruby [Walsh] at Cheltenham that we would be in this position. He has a funny back history but here he is – a double Gold Cup winner going for his third. We are very privileged to have him.”
He added, "There are no negatives at this time and there have been no setbacks. He obviously has an engine and if he is able to go back and do it three times then I think he can sit up there with any of those greats
The biggest threats to Al Boum Photo’s hat-trick attempt are Champ and A Plus Tard. Champ saw his odds halved in 24 hours from 12/1 into 6/1 following a very encouraging run at Newbury on Sunday. Champ defied an 11-month absence by finishing a credible second in The Betfair Game Spirit Chase, just two lengths behind specialist two-miler, Sceau Royal.
After the race, trainer, Nicky Henderson, commented, “His jumping was flawless and that was the thing that needed ironing out. That’ll have done him the world of good. He hasn’t had a hard race because he was on the bridle until nearly two-out.”
Meanwhile, A Plus Tard, who will not run again before Cheltenham, proved his quality in December’s Savills Chase at Leopardstown. A Plus Tard came from well off the pace to defeat future Gold Cup rivals, Kemboy and Melon. Although he faces a further two furlongs at Cheltenham, the manner of that three-mile victory at Leopardstown certainly ended the stamina concerns.
Cheltenham Gold Cup odds
Al Boum Photo – 5/2
Champ – 6/1
A Plus Tard – 6/1
Royale Pagaille – 8/1
Kemboy – 10/1
Frodon – 14/1
Santini – 14/1
Native River – 14/1
Minella Indo – 16/1
Sign up to Paddy Power
With or without spectators, the 2021 Cheltenham Festival promises a thrilling exhibition of National Hunt racing. With 28 races set to take place over four days, a generous welcome bonus would be greatly received! If you’re not already a Paddy Power member then sign up via freebet.com and you can enjoy a risk-free £10 to kick-start your week the right way. Simply deposit and spend £10 and if your first bet loses, Paddy Power will refund your stake as a free bet.