Celebrating the Gold Cup: Past, Present & future
Friday 19th March 3:30
As we get closer to the Cheltenham Festival, the biggest story will inevitably be Al Boum Photo's attempt to secure a third consecutive Gold Cup triumph. The 9-year-old, trained by Willie Mullins, is the clear favourite to win on March 19th, where a victory will emulate the likes of triple Gold Cup winner, Best Mate, and go down as one of the great feats of modern jumps racing. Nevertheless, there is a sense that Al Boum Photo is hurtling towards his third Gold Cup, not because he is an all-time great in tremendous form, but because he is the least-worst option. By that we don't mean any disrespect to Al Boum Photo – to win two Gold Cups makes him a great in everyone's eyes.
Getting ready to bet on the Cheltenham Gold Cup 2021? I must admit, I'm not one for betting ante-post because anything can happen between now and the 19th March 3:30. However, sometime you see a price and say: ''I'll have some of that!'' And that may well be the case if you fancy Nicky Henderson's Champ to be this year's winner of the Cheltenham Gold Cup. Without question, individually Nicky Henderson and J P McManus have proved successful over the years. Henderson has won the Gold Cup with Long Run (2011) and Bob's Worth (2013). While big-time gambler J P McManus won with Syncronised (2012) when ridden by Tony McCoy.
It's getting to that time of year when the Flat turf racing transcends to the National Hunt. Both codes detail a different type of gambler. Myself, I'm a Flat racing man, but even I take a glancing look at the Cheltenham Festival when it appears on the horizon. Ante-post bettors of the Magners' Cheltenham Gold Cup 2021 are taking note and listening to the news from stables large and small. If you put your ear to the ground, you can feel the vibrations of galloping horses, distant shouts, cheers and jubilation. I'm sure Del Boy would say to Rodney: ''This time next year we will be millionaires''
Although the middle of November, the Cheltenham Festival is firmly in the mind of punters with ante-post wagers and hopes of what might be come Prestbury Park. Today's JCB Triumph Trial Juvenile Hurdle (Registered as the Prestbury Park Juvenile Hurdle) saw a field of eight three-year-olds taking part at Cheltenham (12:30) for a first prize of £14,807. Racing over 2m 1/2f, on good to soft going, bookies made Paul Nicholls' Hell Red favourite, starting at fractional odds against (11/10f), but struggling some way out and a bitter disappointment - pulled-up before the last.
I guess over the years we have seen and heard about many professional gamblers. To be honest, I'm not sure if many of these public pro gamblers are really as true as they would like us to believe. Who really knows what people do or don't? Harry Findlay has been in the public eye for his gambling exploits for decades. Clearly, he is a man who knows his subject although I have always thought of him as a loud-mouth type who kind of gets his point across by not allowing the others to get a word in edgewise.
Gay Kelleway, like her late father, Paul, has seen a few talented two-year-olds come and go. I notice today, she has Piranhadrama running in the 5:05 Southwell. In the ownership of Colomane Racing, this daughter of Heeraat, out of the dam Piranha, cost just £6,000 at the yearling sales. She made her debut at Wolverhampton when half fancied at 11/1 when sixth of eight when ten lengths behind. Interesting to note she was entered for the Bosra Sham Listed Race. However, priced 40/1 today, suggests this January foal will not be nibbled in the betting. Good luck to connections.
Successful in the RSA Chase at Cheltenham 2019, Paul Nicholls made the decision to give Topofthegame a year off after a minor tendon injury with the words: ''He'll come back even better than before.''
Only time will tell if his statement holds true - but there's growing ambition he can win the Cheltenham Gold Cup 2021. One thing's for sure, punters are eagerly awaiting the return of this son of Flemensfirth who is earmarked for Haydock's Betfair Chase (21st November). It's a time of much excitement and a long-await return.
The Gold Cup and, indeed, the entire Cheltenham Festival has a rich history of classic races, but within those contests, there have always been superb rivalries that capture the imagination. Think of Kauto Star and Denman going at it, or the legendary battle of Mill House and Arkle in the 1964 Gold Cup.
While the history of the 2020 Festival has yet to be written, there are some tantalising match-ups we are looking forward to this year.
The Gold Cup is the blue riband event of the Cheltenham Festival and with the 2018/19 campaign now up and running, all the leading contenders for the race in March are likely to appear over the next couple of months for their opening run of the season.
Here is a look at the five leading contenders for the latest renewal of the 3m2f steeplechase.
Presenting Percy. After winning the 2018 RSA.
Horse racing games are one of the sporting events that most people wanted to witness. It is only the sports where horses are the superstars. Aside from that, a single horse racing tournament gets attended by more than ten entries, which makes the whole show more exciting and interesting to watch out for.
In line with this, a lot of horse racing games are set to commence in the first quarter of 2020, such as the U.S. Triple Crown Series and the Goldprize.
As we know, the Cheltenham Festival is the pinnacle of the National Hunt season and one of the key events on the global horse racing calendar. But when the four-day extravaganza comes to an end, we need to fill the void, and there are plenty of other top horse racing events to get the adrenalin pumping throughout the year.
National Hunt finale
Luckily, racing fans don’t have to wait long for their next serving of National Hunt action with the Aintree Festival held in April.