Who will win the Cheltenham Gold Cup?

Author: Published: March 11, 2024
Cheltenham Gold Cup

Friday March 15 sees the Cheltenham Gold Cup being held. It’s the main event of the four-day festival that will dominate the horse racing world this week. Galopin Des Champs is the favourite to win the Grade 1 race for the second year in a row but will the eight-year-old be the winner?

Two in a row for Galopin Des Champs?

The last horse to win two successive Cheltenham Gold Cups was Al Boum Photo in 2019 and 2020. Willie Mullins trained that double winner and he’s also the trainer of Galopin Des Champs. The Mullins yard is in excellent form at the moment and another prosperous Cheltenham Festival looks distinctly likely this week.

Galopin Des Champs has had three races this season. His seasonal debut saw him finish second just half a length behind Fastorslow. He’d have probably won that but for jumping left and losing ground.

His two most recent races have produced better performances. The Grade 1 Savills Chase was won by 23 lengths last December. That was followed by a win in the Irish Gold Cup and reversing form with Fastorslow. The victory made it six wins from his last eight races and he’s 11/10 at bet365 to again win the Cheltenham Gold Cup.

Fastorslow is the second favourite and trained by Martin Brassil. The eight-year-old finished second in the Ultima Handicap Chase behind Corach Rambler at last year’s Cheltenham Festival. He only lost by a neck to the horse that went on to win the 2023 Grand National.

Before that Fastorslow lost by a short head at the 2022 Festival in the Coral Cup. He’s only won three of his seven chases but at 9/2 with BetVictor he looks a good each-way bet and did get that win over the favourite last year.

Which Shishkin will turn up?

It’s 11 years since Nicky Henderson last trained the winner of the Cheltenham Gold Cup. That was Bob’s Worth and it gave him his second win in three years after the 2011 success of Long Run. This year his big hope is Shishkin who is 11/2 at William Hill.

The ten-year-old won last time out at Newbury but did jump left and wasn’t all that fluent. That was his tenth win over fences in 15 races. Shishkin is undoubtedly highly talented but can you trust him to put in a winning performance on Friday?

He refused to race at Newbury and then unseated his rider in the King George VI at Kempton on Boxing Day.

Last year he went off at odds-on in the Queen Mother Chase at the festival and put in a terrible performance on the soft ground and was eventually pulled up. He’s won twice at the festival (one over hurdles) but will need to be at his very best to do well on Friday.

Gordon Elliott has only trained the winner of the Cheltenham Gold Cup once. That was eight years ago when Dan Cossack went off as the 9/4 favourite and won. This year Elliott’s big hope is Gerri Colombe. The eight-year-old has won five of his races over fences but has a lot to find with Galopin Des Champs.

The pair met last time out with Gerri Colombe finishing second but 23 lengths behind the 2023 Cheltenham Gold Cup winner. That followed a good win in the Champions Chase at Down Royal last November. He was still a novice last season when finishing second at Cheltenham and it’s a big ask for him to win this race. At 10/1 with bet365 he’s worth an each-way bet though.

L’Homme Presse is trained by Venetia Williams and also looks a good each-way proposition. He’s 16/1 at WIlliam Hill and was second at Ascot last time out. This contender has won twice at Cheltenham including a novices’ chase two years ago so is worth considering.

Three of the last four Cheltenham Gold Cup races have been won by the favourite. Galopin Des Champs has a great chance of making that four in five if showing the form he was in last time out and here in 2023.

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