Magner’s Cheltenham Gold Cup Day is here, after a season-long wait, we will finally get to witness what looks to be a vintage renewal of the 3m2f Cheltenham Festival showpiece. See below for our Likely Winners and Main Dangers on the final day…
This tremendous talent finished only two and a bit lengths behind Champion Stayer on the flat Stradivarius on Champions Day at Ascot in October, so he has a very high level of ability. He has made a seamless transition to hurdles since joining Joseph O'Brien for new owner JP McManus and last time out at the Dublin Racing Festival, he produced the best piece of juvenile form at either side of the Irish Sea with a hugely impressive victory. A clear round of jumping should see this class act go very close to winning under the assured hands of Barry Geraghty.
Quel Destin pstarted off his season at Chepstow](https://gg.co.uk/racing/14-oct-2018/chepstow-1415), where he came 2nd on his hurdling debut for trainer Paul Nicholls, shaping with a world of promise in the process. Since then, he has won his last five races, at a variety of tracks too -- including Cheltenham. This 4yo is as tough as they come, he knows where the winning line is and in Harry Cobdenhe has one of the hottest jockeys around on board. Has to go well.
Rebecca Curtis has endured quiet periods in recent seasons, but since winning the Scottish Grand National last year, some new stars are beginning to emerge and Lisnagar Oscar is one such beast. This progressive and in-form 6yo is fully worthy of his official rating of 145 and given how well he stays and gallops, he can definitely better than in Grade 1 company. He had a solid run around Cheltenham behind Rockpoint back in December, but is a much improved novice now and the Irish challenge could struggle to cope with his stamina and ability.
This Gigginstown owned 5yo will be a really smart chaser in due course. Commander Of Fleet really appreciated the step up to 2m6f at Leopardstown last time out in a quality contest, where he outgunned Rhinestone, with the pair stringing out the rest of the field. He has already ran up to a good level for Gordon Elliott and could easily improve again for this sterner examination of his stamina.
Clan Des Obeaux is going to win the Gold Cup, isn’t he? He’s too good for this lot. What this horse did to Terrefort at Ascot was borderline disrespectful, he came up beautifully out of Harry Cobden’s hands over the last two fences and quickened away, easing late for a very cosy 11 length win over a proven Grade 1 performer. In a recent GG Podcast with Harry Cobden, the King George winner’s jockey said that stamina is not an issue for the horse. “I am 99% sure he will not stop galloping to the line.”, he suggested. Obviously, deep ground would favour the likes of Native River and one or two of the Irish challengers, but otherwise Paul Nicholls could be on his way to another famous win in the Blue Riband event of the season.
The quirky but very measurable profile of Presenting Percy is hard to ignore, he is a rather looming presence. We know he’s really good, but is he Cheltenham Gold Cup good? Where’s he been all season? It’s a weird one for the punters to chew over, but chew we will. The defending Champion though, Native River, must be considered the horse they all have to get past. When he gets into a full flow, he can be a determinedly difficult horse to beat. With the likes of Thistlecrack, Kemboy, Might Bite, Bellshill and Elegant Escape set to line up, this has all the hallmarks of a memorable renewal.
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