Cheltenham Gold Cup Tips 2022 (Cheltenham Festival Day 4 3.30pm)

Cheltenham Gold Cup tips

The Cheltenham Gold Cup is not only the highlight of the Cheltenham Festival but, for many people, the highlight of the entire National Hunt season.

The Roll of Honour reads like a ‘Who’s Who’ of staying steeplechasers down the years and includes such luminaries of the sport as Golden Miller,  Cottage Rake, Arkle, Best Mate and Kauto Star, to name but a handful.

 

Gold Cup Main Contenders Odds

  • Minella Indo (5/1)
  • A Plus Tard (10/3)
  • Galvin (4/1)
  • Protekrat (8/1)
  • Tornado Flyer (12/1)
  • Al Boum Photo (9/1)
  • Royal Pagaille (20/1)
  • Chantry House (16/1)

 

Minella Indo

No better place to start than the defending Champion and a very lucky, but good, spare ride for Jack Kennedy to pick up last year. He is one of the best examples of “Horses for Courses”. Cheltenham seems to bring the best out in this horse, winning the Albert Bartlett at a massive of 50/1, second in an RSA when he and Allaho probably got racing too far out and Champ picked up the pieces that day and then another win in last years Gold Cup.

Last year’s win was his most impressive performance with the exception of one mistake his jumping was pinpoint and the way he stayed up the hill he most certainly wasn’t for catching. This season you could argue has been a little disappointing even with the fact that his season revolves around the Gold Cup and was fairly similar to last season.

He was behind Frodon and Galvin first time out when by Frodon at Downpatrick. He looked like he was carrying a lot of condition that day and looked to need the run, he ran like it too. Rachel was always just nudging him along to not let Bryony and Frodon get too far ahead and ended up just flattening out and losing second after 2 out and just kept on for third.

He was then entered in the King George, an entry a lot of people were questioning whether he would suit a flat 3m, right-handed track and would he find it too sharp. Henry added the cheekpieces, for the first (and last time I would say) and let’s just say a line can be put through that form. He went off like the absolute clappers with Frodon cutting each other’s throats for over a circuit and Rachel ended up pulling him up before 3 out.

Minella Indo’s last race in the Irish Gold Cup showed more of the spring Minella Indo, he seemed to travel so much better and when Robbie Power (who will most likely ride him in the Gold Cup) asked for more, the horse responded and although wasn’t getting closer to the winner in the end, he stayed on well and you have to think the horse wouldn’t have been 100%. Especially given the fact Henry’s form has been massively off, although he is starting to find it again.

He is most definitely the horse to beat and the showing he gave last will give backers more confidence rather than hoping and praying, that Cheltenham would bring him back to life although there is still that element of doubt, is he another horse to never find that form again after running in the Gold Cup?

 

A Plus Tard

A Plus Tard is from the same stable as Minella Indo and was second to him in last year’s Gold Cup. He is the current ante-post favourite to take the crown in 2022. On all profile for this season, probably the rightful one. A similar campaign was planned out for him with just the two runs before March, one in November and one in December, with the idea to freshen him up then it’s all systems go for the big one.

His run in the race last year was a solid performance, not as good as the winners overall and you could say that the mistake 2 out vs Minella Indo’s jump 2 out just left him too much to do up the hill to try and catch the winner.

A Plus Tard has had two runs this year, first at Haydock, winning the Betfair Chase when never really coming off the bridle. He jumped well, travelled well and after 3 out he took up the lead with complete ease beating Royal Pagaille by 22 lengths (see a re-run of that race below). Everyone went crazy after this and he was instantly put in as favourite in the Gold Cup odds, although he couldn’t have done it any more impressively, I am always dubious about Haydock form albeit this wasn’t on the usual “Haydock Heavy” ground it was on going described as good to soft.

So, the form can stand up but the field behind him that day consisted of two horses we haven’t seen since, one has been retired and the others have let the form the down massively.

His next run, connections must have been disappointed to get beat, again you could argue the form of the yard and Rachel Blackmore probably hit the front a little too soon and got collared by Galvin and I’m sure if Rachel had the chance to ride it again, she would have and probably would have won.

It’s definitely not out the question of him turning the form around but my main problem with A Plus Tard is how strongly he really does stay. There is no question that he does stay, but in a battle against the likes of Galvin or Minella Indo going up the hill or has to make up ground to the leader I would certainly have my doubts about him being able to pull it out the bag.

If he is a couple of lengths in front going over the last, on a roll and steaming up the hill with the rail to help, he will be hard to peg back.

 

Galvin

Galvin is somewhat of the surprise package, some would say. He has massively improved this year from being a second season novice last year having just the two runs, one of which came in the National Hunt Chase at last year’s Cheltenham Festival, to being a prime contender for this year’s blue-ribbon event.

He started off this season with a comfortable enough win over Annamix in a Grade 3 when always doing enough and was better than the ½ length winning distance.

His next run was a massive step up in grade when second to Frodon, pipping Minella Indo for the place. He always seemed to be just lacking that Grade 1 pace but stayed on strongly from two out and had every chance to win the race but Frodon was just too quick for him after finding more. It must have been then that connections really felt they had a live Gold Cup contender.

The Irish Gold Cup was his next assignment, and as mentioned earlier, he beat A Plus Tard by a short head. Again, he seemed to get outpaced at a crucial time but Davy switched him to the other side, and he ran on to get up to win just on the line. Although staying is his game, the ground is a big factor for him. Ideally his optimum conditions are Good to Soft. That being said, if the Gold Cup turns out to be a complete stamina test and they get racing too early this will fall into his hands but on the other hand, as we have seen in his previous grade one races, he seems to lack that speed and I would be worried about him doing the same going down that hill and although the likes of Synchronised, Long run and Native River have all won Gold Cups and you wouldn’t say they were quick horses, we have also seen many horses like him getting completely taken off their feet in the race.

I can see him playing a big part but it’s just a case of how far behind he is going over the last. If he’s within a couple of lengths or better then he will massive danger to whoever is in front him.

 

Protektorat

Another big improver this season and a second season chaser who has improved 10lbs from the beginning of the season now rated 164 and although he is 9lbs lower than last year’s winner and current favourite, improvement isn’t out of the question. He didn’t really set the world alight in his novice chase season, when winning his beginners chase and then a weakish novice chase around Cheltenham. After that he was beaten at short odds the next twice.

It wasn’t until the Grade 1 novice chase at Aintree that he really delivered (a little unexpectedly really) beating the likes of Shunter who had won at the Cheltenham Festival the month before and Hitman back in third.  Like a couple of his rivals this season, he has only had the two runs.

One of which when coming second in the Paddy Power Gold Cup off top-weight to Midnight Shadow. It really was big effort that day carrying that weight against some well-handicapped rivals. He made a mistake early on which took him some time to recover but was doing all his best work towards the end of the race, which showed the trip was probably too short for him that day.

The Many Clouds at Aintree was next. The race was absolutely gruelling, he beat Native River by 25 lengths and with Sam Brown a further 22 Lengths back, only 3 of the 8 runners finished that day. It wasn’t the strongest of races, with the likes of Wishing and Hoping, Tiger Roll and Simply the Betts all pulling up.

Like A Plus Tard’s form from Haydock, it’s hard to take it on complete trust. Especially as a couple of the field have run since and disappointed and Native River was retired after he pulled up in the Welsh National the race after, so it wasn’t the Native River from old.

But you couldn’t have not been impressed with him. He jumped well, they went a fast pace and his first try over 3m seemed to hold no fear for him, so the question mark of the extra 2f isn’t really much of a worry for me about him, what I do fear is the fact of how much improvement he can find against some top horses.

 

Tornado Flyer 

In my opinion, this horse has a similar profile to Sizing John. He has had a very mixed campaign running over 2 and 2 ½ miles and always running his race but just finding a couple too good despite running on well at the end of his races. This includes when third in last year’s Ryanair Chase (at the time that was his best run on ratings) behind Allaho, who put in one of the best performances seen in a Ryanair if not right up there at Cheltenham and was only ½ behind Fakir D’oudairies who is a very good Grade One horse in himself. That day he was always being pushed along and although was making headway before 2 out he was never going to get to the winner but again seemed to power up the hill, making out that the 2 ½ miles wasn’t long enough for him.

He has tried 3m once in last season’s Irish Gold Cup when he was a very respectable 5th of 14 but it was his first time and although he didn’t really have any excuses, he was only 7 and has definitely improved since then.

This season he too has only had the two runs, one over 2 ½ behind the likes of Allaho and Janadil in the John Durkan, where he pecked on landing after the first, which completely threw him off and it wasn’t really until 2 out where he started making up ground again looking like he needed 3m.

3m was exactly what Willie stepped him up to when he won very surprisingly the King George. Although again he threw in a shocker at the first, Danny Mullins (who came over to ride him instead of staying in Ireland, where he could have won a guaranteed Group 1) didn’t panic and gave the horse plenty of time to get back into the race. As mentioned, they went at a frantic pace so the leaders were always going to come back to the field.

After getting back into the race, it wasn’t till the 11th he started making his move and he went third going around the home bend.  He was pulled out wide and led from 2 out. Asterion Forlonge fell at the last when it looked like he was challenging but watching it again and the way Tornado Flyer won,  he looked very comfortable and wouldn’t have been beaten. He powered away and being ridden out he wasn’t for stopping.

Although unlike the horses I have mentioned above, the extra 2f is a question mark for him, the way he galloped through the line albeit at Kempton and what we have seen in his other races, he will be fine once again stepping up in distance.

He too will have to improve to win and get up to the level of the other contenders, but now he has matured as a horse, stepped up in trip and more importantly got that win, we could just see a new Tornado Flyer.

 

Al Boum Photo

Double Gold Cup winner Al Boum Photo was meant to be having a different campaign to last year, as Willie had wished he had one more run before last year’s race. This hasn’t happened though and he won his race at Tramore on New Years Day. He had been entered a few times but was never declared. Willie came out recently saying he wasn’t 100% happy with him, wishing he was in better form which can’t make backers confident. He’s now a 10yo and would be some amazing performance from him, if he was to come and regain his crown but it’s not impossible.

 

Royal Pageille

He showed something like he had promised last time, when a good second in very unfavourable conditions in the Denman, he got outpaced badly in the Gold Cup last time but again another year older on softer ground he could throw his hat in the ring for a place.

 

Chantry House

Last years Marsh winner has not really gone on as hoped this season. He won at Sandown in a match race against The Big Breakaway before being pulled up in the King George on a track and conditions that didn’t suit although he went off favourite that day, better would have been expected. Next up he put up a very sluggish performance in the Cotswold Chase.

He would have to improve a massive amount on this performance to even challenge for a place, but what is eye-catching in a recent stable tour, despite not being asked, Nicky was talking him up big time.

 

Cheltenham Gold Cup Betting Tip

The 2022 Cheltenham Gold Cup is a wide-open race and I have to admit my selection is one I have only just nailed my colours to, but I am becoming very keen on him.

He is currently a double-figure price and with all horses ahead of him in the betting due to run, he will go off half of what he is now. Although things fell into his lap in his last race after the strong pace collapsed, I was mightily impressed with the run, he’s on the up and I even think the extra 2f will see more improvement from him.

He will go any ground and now he’s got his head in front, it can really do a horse world of good and give them that confidence to go on.

My ante-post tip for the Boodles Cheltenham Gold Cup 2022 is Tornado Flyer.

TORONADO FLYER – 12/1 with SpreadEx (NRNB)

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Cheltenham Gold Cup Trends

Age – 11 of last 12 winners were aged between 7-9.

Price – 5 of last 12 winners were favourites/joint favourites, 7/12 winners were top 3 in the betting.

Last Run – 10 of last 12 winners won on their previous run before the Cheltenham Gold Cup, 9/12 winners had their last run within the last 77 days, 12/12 winners had their last run 33 days or longer ago.

3/12 winners ran in the King George VI Chase (Kempton) on their last run, 2 of the 3 won, 0 placed.

3/12 winners ran in the Denman Chase (Newbury) on their last run, 3 of the 3 won.

Previous Course Form – 12/12 winners had at least 1 previous Cheltenham run, 6/12 had a previous win at Cheltenham.

Previous Distance Form – 11/12 winners had at least 2 runs over 24 furlongs or further, 11/12 winners had at least 1 previous win over 24 furlongs or further, 7/12 winners had at least 2 wins over 24 furlongs or further.

Previous Hurdle Form – 12/12 winners had at least 4 runs over hurdles, 10/12 had at least 2 wins over hurdles.

Previous Chase Form – 10/12 winners had at least 7 previous chase runs, 12/12 had at least 2 previous chase wins, 8/12 had at least 4 previous chase wins.

Rating – 9/12 winners were rated 166 or higher, 6/12 were rated 170 or higher.

Grade 1 Wins – 12/12 winners had won at least 1 Grade 1 race, 6/12 had won at least 2.

Grade 2 Wins – 9/12 winners had won at least 1 Grade 2 race, 6/12 had won at least 2.

Grade 3 Wins – 9/12 winners had won at least 1 Grade 3 race.

Season Form – 9/12 winners had at least 2 runs that season, 10/12 had at least 1 win that season.

 

Cheltenham Gold Cup Previous Winners

Year Horse Jockey Trainer
2009 Kauto Star Ruby Walsh Paul Nicholls
2010 Imperial Commander Paddy Brennan Nigel Twiston-Davies
2011 Long Run S Waley-Cohen Nicky Henderson
2012 Synchronised A P McCoy Jonjo O’Neill
2013 Bobs Worth Barry Geraghty Nicky Henderson
2014 Lord Windermere Davy Russell Jim Culoty
2015 Coneygree Nico de Boinville Mark Bradstock
2016 Don Cossack Bryan Cooper Gordan Elliott
2017 Sizing John Robbie Power Mrs John Harrington
2018 Native River Richard Johnson Colin Tizzard
2019 Al Boum Photo Paul Townend Willie Mullins
2020 Al Boum Photo Paul Townend Willie Mullins

 

Cheltenham Gold Cup 2020 Result

1st – Al Boum Photo (10/3)

2nd – Santini (5/1)

3rd – Lostintranslation (10/1)

4th – Monalee (20/1)

 

Cheltenham 2022 Betting Tips