Cheltenham Gold Cup Tips 2021 (Cheltenham Festival Day 4 3.05pm) – Can Al Boum Photo complete the hat-trick?

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.

 

Cheltenham Gold Cup 2021 Preview

The fourth race on the Cheltenham day 4 card is the big race of the week, the Cheltenham Gold Cup. As things stand, we are set for a fantastic renewal with all of the big fancies still in the race. This is the ultimate test for the best chasers around and it takes a proper horse to win the Gold Cup. Last year’s winner Al Boum Photo will be back to defend his crown once again.

In 2021, the horse standing on the cusp of Cheltenham Festival immortality is defending champion, Al Boum Photo (4/1), who seeks to become the just the fifth horse in history to win the Cheltenham Gold Cup more than twice.

In 2019, after a series of agonising near-misses, stretching back to the turn of the century, Al Boum Photo finally provided trainer Willie Mullins with his first Gold Cup winner and, in 2020, defended his title.

 

Cheltenham Gold Cup Main Contenders

  • Al Boum Photo
  • Santini
  • Champ
  • Minella Indo
  • Lostintranslation

 

Al Boum Photo

Still only a 9-year-old, Al Boum Photo, the returning hero looked at least as good as ever when comfortably beating his stable companion Acapella Bourgeois, by 19 lengths, eased down, in his traditional warm-up race for the Gold Cup, the Savills New Year’s Day Chase at Tramore. Of course, Cheltenham Gold Cups are not, as some observers have commented, ‘like London buses’, but Al Boum Photo must have every chance of completing a historic hat-trick.

 

Santini

Santini (10/1) finished a staying-on second, beaten just a neck, behind Al Boum Photo last year and, while beaten of his first two starts of the 2020/21 season, should not be written off just yet. Nicky Henderson’s 9-year-old has won three of his eight steeplechases, at Newbury, Sandown and Cheltenham, all of which are galloping in nature, so it’s easy to forgive him less efforts at Aintree and Kempton, disappointing though they may seem, at first glance.

 

Champ

Of course, the Master of Seven Barrows could also saddle another 9-year-old, Champ (12/1), who produced an extraordinary finishing effort to win the RSA Insurance Novices’ Chase at the 2020 Cheltenham Festival. He lacks experience over fences and has his own idiosyncratic jumping style, but remains unexposed over three miles and beyond. He needs to improve – to the tune of 12lb, according to official ratings – but that’s not beyond the realms of possibility, notwithstanding the fact that he is unlikely to make his seasonal debut until late January.

 

Minella Indo

Minella Indo (10/1) looked all over the winner of the aforementioned RSA Insurance Novices’ Chase until collared close home and is another likely contender. He blotted his copybook when falling before halfway in the Savills Chase at Leopardstown over Christmas, but the fact that he started 5/2 favourite for a vintage renewal of that Grade One contest suggests that he should be taken very seriously indeed. Indeed, he had jumped well when winning easily, albeit at odds-on, at Wexford and Navan on his two previous starts, so he has plenty going for him.

 

Lostintranslation

At much longer odds, Lostintranslation (33/1) travelled and jumped well throughout the 2020 Cheltenham Gold Cup and looked the likely winner turning for home. Eventually, he had to settle for third, beaten 1½ lengths, but he deserves credit for a brave effort, particularly as he was returning to action following wind surgery. However, Colin Tizzard’s 9-year-old has fared less well since, floundering in the heavy ground when well beaten in the Betfair Chase at Haydock on his reappearance and bursting a blood vessel when pulled up in the King George VI Chase at Kempton on Boxing Day. Clearly, he is not the most robust horse in training, but that’s not his fault; if he turned up at Cheltenham fit, well and ready to do himself justice, he could go well at rewarding odds.

 

Cheltenham Gold Cup Betting Tips

The feature of the week comes at 3:05 and it is of course the Gold Cup. It looks a great renewal as Al Boum Photo bids to emulate Best Mate and win a third Gold Cup. He’s a lay for me here though, unfortunately. He was clinging on to win by a head last year and this is a much deeper race in my opinion. He wasn’t as impressive as normal on New Years Day at Thurles and I’m happy to look elsewhere. A Plus Tard looks the main danger from Ireland after relishing every yard of the 3m trip over Christmas to win the Savills Chase. He’s still unexposed over this trip and I couldn’t put anyone off him.

However, I like CHAMP (5/1) here. He won the RSA last year at Cheltenham in dramatic fashion where he stayed on like a train to beat Minello Indo and Allaho. His jumping was iffy at best last season which shows how much of an engine he must have to still win a competitive Grade 1. He went to Henrietta Knight to assist with his jumping issues and his jumping looks as well as ever on his seasonal debut over 2m at Newbury. He jumped with confidence and I think if he can get into a nice rhythm he will be bang there here. That run will have hopefully blown the freshness out of him and not running until the turn of the year and only having one run prior to the Gold Cup is certainly no bad thing. Look at recent winners Native River and Al Boum Photo who done the same. He’s a classy horse Champ and I expect a bold bid.

I’ll also have to give an each-way shout-out to SANTINI EW (12/1). I’ve been saying for months Henderson is waiting for Gold Cup to throw first time headgear on and here we are. The visor goes on. He ran his best race last season in first time cheekpieces in the 2020 renewal and he arguably should have won. He stays all day and although Champ is my main fancy, I’ll have a go on Santini too.

WIN BET: CHAMP – 5/1 with bet365.

EACH-WAY BET: SANTINI – 12/1 with bet365.

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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 2021 Betting Tips