Cheltenham Gold Cup Preview: Tips, Betting Offers and Free Bets, 3.30 at Cheltenham, Friday 15th March 2019, Cheltenham Festival Day Four
The Cheltenham Gold Cup needs little introduction. Read on for betting tips, history and the best odds and offers surrounding this greatest of races on the final day of the Festival.
The Cheltenham Gold Cup is not just the feature race of the entire Cheltenham Festival, it is the most prestigious race in the National Hunt calendar. Run over three miles, two and a half furlongs on Cheltenham’s New Course, the Gold Cup is a test of stamina, jumping and sheer natural speed. Although the 2018 renewal has been weakened by some high profile withdrawals, we’re still left with a very interesting betting heat.
Cheltenham Gold Cup 2019 Ante Post Betting Tips
Odds correct at the time of writing and are subject to change.
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Cheltenham Gold Cup Tips and 2019 Ante Post Race Preview
Native River preparing for Gold Cup double
No horse has been able to win the Gold Cup back to back since Best Mate early on in the new millennium. Reigning champion Native River looks set to attempt the feat this March and can be backed at 5/1 (Ladbrokes) to do so. Last year his Cheltenham preparation involved just one run, an easy win in the Denman Chase. This season finding a win hasn’t been so straightforward however. His season return saw him fairly beaten by Bristol De Mai in 3m 1½f contest at Haydock Park and another loss followed on Boxing Day.
Dropped down in distance a little for the King George VI Chase, a less than fluent performance saw the eight-year-old forced to settle for third place. Clan Des Obeaux (10/1, Betfair) was first past the line that day and the fine performance at Kempton has helped improve his Gold Cup credentials. Despite this festive success, you should be wary of backing Paul Nicholls’ horse for another high profile victory as he’s been a beaten favourite three times previously at Cheltenham. Native River on the hand can be backed to raise his game at the prestigious racecourse and will stand every chance of defending his title.
Presenting Percy in need of a run
Although Presenting Percy is the narrow ante post Gold Cup favourite (9/2, Betfair), as things stand he would be breaking a huge trend should he win at Cheltenham. Unsuitable ground has twice denied him an appearance since the summer, leaving him without a single run this season. No recent Gold Cup winner has won without a previous outing that season and only one horse (Native River) made just the one appearance prior.
The eight-year-old is scheduled for a run at Gowran Park but only over hurdles. The son of Sir Percy reverted back to the smaller obstacles at the start of last season in an attempt to ease him back into jumping. The approach paid off too as he then later won the RSA Insurance Novices’ Chase at Cheltenham during his fifth chase start. Gold Cup winners have typically had far more experience this though. Ten of the last 12 victors have had at least eight previous efforts over fences and this lack of experience is fair reason to question his chances here.
Thistlecrack still with something to offer
There’s been no Gold Cup winner aged over 10 since What A Myth in 1969 but Colin Tizzard’s 11-year-old is not without hope. He performed credibly in November’s Betfair Chase at Haydock Park, finishing less than two lengths behind Native River. Fast forward one month later, the former World Hurdle champion pushed Clan Des Obeaux to the line in the King George VI. His jumping still requires some work but if Tom Scuadmore can get him leaping straight on the day then he’ll prove a good value each way bet at his 14/1 (Coral) price.
Cheltenham Gold Cup Tips Previous Winners
- 2018 – Native River – jockey Richard Johnson, trainer Colin Tizzard
- 2017 – Sizing John – jockey Robbie Power, trainer Jessica Harrington
- 2016 – Don Cossack – jockey Brian Cooper, trainer Gordon Elliott
- 2015 – Coneygree – jockey Nico de Boinville, trainer Mark Bradstock
- 2014 – Lord Windermere – jockey Davy Russell, trainer Jim Culloty
- 2013 – Bobs Worth – jockey Barry Geraghty, trainer Nicky Henderson
- 2012 – Synchronised – jockey Tony McCoy, trainer Jonjo O’Neill
- 2011 – Long Run – jockey Mr Sam Waley-Cohen, trainer Nicky Henderson
- 2010 – Imperial Commander – jockey Paddy Brennan, trainer Nigel Twiston-Davies
- 2009 – Kauto Star – jockey Ruby Walsh, trainer Paul Nicholls
- 2008 – Denman – jockey Sam Thomas, trainer Paul Nicholls
- 2007 – Kauto Star – jockey Ruby Walsh, trainer Paul Nicholls
- 2006 – War Of Attrition – jockey Conor O’Dwyer, trainer Mouse Morris
Cheltenham Gold Cup Tips History
The first race referred to as the Cheltenham Gold Cup actually took place way back in 1819. At three miles that contest was similar in distance to the event we know and love today, however, whilst todays protagonists are required to negotiate a total of 22 fences, that initial event held on Cleeve Hill was a flat contest.
It wasn’t until over 100 years later that what is now Cheltenham’s showpiece event was first held as a jumps contest. The prize money on offer in 1924 for that inaugural Gold Cup over fences was £685. In terms of prestige it ranked behind both the National Hunt Chase and the County Hurdle in those early days.
The first real legend to appear in the records of this race is the remarkable Golden Miller. The Dorothy Paget owned gelding had three different jockeys and two different trainers between the years of 1932 and 1936, but the result was always the same. Nothing could touch Golden Miller as he racked up a record five consecutive wins in this race. Adding a win in the Grand National of 1934, Golden Miller was unquestionably the standout horse of his generation. Paget also took the Gold Cup home in 1940 with Roman Hackle and again in 1952 with Mont Tremblant. Her seven total wins make her the most successful owner in the history of the race.
The status of the Gold Cup was undoubtedly aided by the exploits Golden Miller. This status was further enhanced by events that came following the two year absence of the race in the war years of 1943-44. Firstly the three successes of Cottage Rake for Vincent O’Brien between the years of 1948 and 1950 helped to grab the attention of the Irish who had previously been slow to embrace the contest. The races subsequent ability to consistently attract the top Irish chasers added to its overall quality and appeal.
1959 saw a switch to the New Course for the first time. Not long after this the greatest chaser in history left his indelible hoof prints in the Gold Cup history books. Unsurpassed before or since, the imperious Arkle repeated the feats of Cottage Rake by taking the Gold Cup back to Ireland in 1964, 65 and 66. His dominance is perhaps best illustrated by his starting price for the final of those victories, being sent off at just 1/10 for what is traditionally the hottest race of the jumping year. The best chaser in history is unsurprisingly the Gold Cups shortest priced winner. The horse referred to as “himself” by his legions of Irish followers racked up 15 top class victories between 1963 and 1966, including two Hennessy Gold Cups, the King George VI Chase, Punchestown Gold Cup and an Irish Grand National.
The exploits of Arkle have also left a mark in the leading jockey and trainer table. His jockey Pat Taaffe also won on Fort Leney in 1968, his four wins put him out in front as the races most successful jockey. Trainer Tom Dreaper went one better, sending out Prince Regent to win in 1946 as well as Arkle and Fort Leney.
The next aid to the growth of the Gold Cup came with the advent of sponsorship in 1975, helping to boost prize money and profile. Piper Champagne were the first ever sponsors of the race, various betting companies have also backed the contest over the years with Internet firm Timico taking over in 2016.
One of the most popular winners of the 1980’s was the Paddy Mullins-trained, Dawn Run, who became only the fourth mare to take this prize. She is also the only horse to have won both the Champion Hurdle and Gold Cup.
The 1980’s also saw a training feat which is unlikely to ever be repeated. Michael Dickinson won the race with Bregawn and also saddled the second, third, fourth and fifth. Surely the greatest ever training performance over jumps or on the flat.
Then followed a period of ultra-competitive years. 1990 saw the biggest shock in the races history as Norton’s Coin prevailed at 100/1.
2003 brought us the first repeat winner of the race in over 30 years. The hugely popular Best Mate took this prize in 2002, 2003 and 2004 for Henrietta Knight.
Five men have both ridden and trained the winner of this prestigious event. The most recent of these is the jockey of Best Mate, Jim Culloty. Jim took the prize as a trainer in 2014 with Lord Windermere.
The requirements for success here appear to translate well to those needed for the King George VI chase at Kempton, despite the contrasting natures of the tracks. Numerous Gold Cup Winners have also conquered the Kempton showpiece, including the glorious grey, Desert Orchid who won the King George four times, and Kauto Star who went one better with five wins.
Paul Nicholls’ Kauto Star also holds the record as the only horse to have regained the Gold Cup having lost it. Having come home in front in 2007, he failed to conquer stablemate Denman in 2008, before roaring back to claim the 2009 edition.
Only three five-year-olds have won this toughest of high class chasing tests. Of the 87 renewals up to 2015, 72 had been won by runners aged between seven and 10 years of ages. Experience appears to count here with novices not faring particularly well. 2015 winner Coneygree was the first novice to prove successful in over 40 years. The 12-year-olds Silver Fame (1951) and What A Myth (1969) are the oldest ever winners.