The Cheltenham Gold Cup is the most coveted prize in all of jump racing. From the minute a racehorse is born, a dream is also born about this youngster who may one day reach the top of the National Hunt racing tree, and put his name on the prestigious winner’s list of the Cheltenham Festival’s blue ribband.
In 2023 the dream is still alive for those owners and trainers that have been lucky enough to come across an equine star that can fulfill their dreams. Some of this year’s runners have been there and done it when it comes to Gold Cup experience, some are young proteges looking to graduate to the highest level, and the rest are simply lining up to give their connections the experience of a lifetime.
With the final lineups still to be confirmed on most of the 28 races across the week, fans will have to dig deep into the ante-post action if they are wanting to have a bet on top markets at Cheltenham. Thankfully, these markets are usually a good prediction of which horses will be lining up as the starter calls them forward to the tapes on the final day of the festival.
So, let’s have a look at the main players gunning for glory in the 2023 Cheltenham Gold Cup.
Galopin Des Champs
When it comes to the favourite in this year’s Cheltenham Gold Cup ante-post betting, that mantle falls upon the brilliant Willie Mullins-trained chaser, Galopin Des Champs. The beautiful-looking youngster has proven many times that looks are not the only thing that stands out about him.
Although he did fall at the last fence with the Turners Novices’ Chase in the bag at last year’s festival, his jumping has been spectacular ever since. Any doubts over his ability to stay the 3 miles, 2-furlong trip of the Gold Cup were put to bed in the Irish Gold Cup last time, so everything is in place for a big run from the current 6/4 favourite.
<blockquote class=”twitter-tweet”><p lang=”en” dir=”ltr”>Galopin Des Champs is a superstar! <a href=”https://t.co/nJKI5Vun7z”>pic.twitter.com/nJKI5Vun7z</a></p>— At The Races (@AtTheRaces) <a href=”https://twitter.com/AtTheRaces/status/1621889725714808832?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>February 4, 2023</a></blockquote> <script async src=”https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js” charset=”utf-8″></script>
Likely to be the only British-trained horse capable of ending the recent domination of the Irish is Paul Nicholls’, Bravemansgame. The apple of his trainer’s eye has tasted defeat over fences just once in his career and has moved his form to a new level this season, with a King George VI Chase win being the highlight.
The level of his opposition on that occasion is questionable, however, so he must prove that he has what it takes to take on the collection of top-class rivals he is set to face at Cheltenham.
A Plus Tard
It is unusual to see a defending Gold Cup champion so far down the betting markets, but there are reasons behind it. A Plus Tard was breathtaking in his impressive win last year, but things have gone awry for Henry de Bromhead’s horse ever since.
He has been seen just once in the 12 months since a terribly disappointing performance at Haydock in November. He now has plenty to prove if he wants to retain his title, but if he bounces back to his best, he will prove to be a tough nut to crack.
The three horses mentioned above are the main contenders in everyone’s thoughts of a possible winner of this year’s Gold Cup, but with the likes of Noble Yeats, Stattler, and Protektorat, also in attendance, it promises to be another special renewal of the great race.