Last year’s Gold Cup winner, Bobs Worth, heads the betting at 7/4 for the 2014 Gold Cup at Cheltenham. Can he make it two in a row? David Myers reveals his tips for jump racing’s Blue Riband.
Bobs Worth @ 13/8
The highlight of what promises to be a memorable week takes place via the Cheltenham Gold Cup at 3.20 where Bobs Worth (13/8) will be looking to emulate the likes of Best Mate and Kauto Star in winning a second title, and a glance back at what happened 12 months ago suggests there is every chance of that happening.
On that occasion, Bobs Worth came home 35l in front of the fifth-placed, Captain Chris (14/1), with Silviniaco Conti (3/1) a faller three fences from home. The aforementioned trio occupy three of the first four places in this year’s market, suggesting Bobs Worth’s may already have one leg in the winner’s enclosure.
Although Captain Chris came out to finish runner-up in the King George at Christmas before victory in the Ascot Chase last month (2m4f), he will need another step forward if getting closer to Bobs Worth this time around.
As for Silviniaco Conti, then the memory of him going well in this last year before falling may see some punters backing him in the hope of putting the record straight on Friday. True, he was impressive in digging deep to win the King George at Christmas, but that was in the mud where he is more effective, and the spring-like weather forecast suggests he may find drying ground against him.
One who could give Bobs Worth more to think about is Last Instalment (6/1), who impressed in making it 5-6 over chases in the Hennessy Gold Cup a few weeks ago (3m). This rapidly improving 9yo handles quicker ground, but lacks experience around Cheltenham’s unique track. If he handles it, then he’ll be in the mix.
It’s unknown whether First Lieutenant (14/1) will run here or in the Ryanair Chase (where he is 4/1), though his chase record of 3-18 does not exactly smack of a Gold Cup winner, while The Giant Bolster (16/1) may tempt each-way backers having finished runner-up and fourth in the last two renewals of the race. He also bounced back to form over the Gold Cup C&D last time in a first-time visor/hood and a repeat of that would see him feature.
But, could there be a ‘forgotten horse’ in the race, who could still improve enough to land jump racing’s Blue Riband? If there is, then Nicky Henderson’s, Triolo D’Alene (16/1), could well be that runner.
A winner of the Topham Chase at Aintree last spring before winning landing the Hennessy Gold Cup at Newbury when last seen in November (good), he will arrive here a fresh horse and has reportedly been working well. If he can improve once more as he did at Newbury, then he’ll be thereabouts.
It’s difficult, however, to get away from his stalemate, Bobs Worth, who has less to prove, especially at Cheltenham where he has an unbeaten record of 5-5 and will come here having put his disappointing Haydock flop behind him by bouncing back in style over in Ireland at Christmas.
Backed into 11/4 joint-favourite with Sir Des Champs in the Lexus Chase at Leopardstown on that occasion, Bobs Worth showed all of his qualities to win by over 1l – a performance that saw his trainer looking forward to another Gold Cup after the race.
As a 9yo, Bobs Worth will now be in his prime, as were Kauto Star, Imperial Commander and Synchronised at the same age when winning the Gold Cup during the last five years. Synchronised also won the Lexus Chase before landing the 2012 Gold Cup, which could be a good sign.
Here are the full trends covering the last 16 winners…
All 16 were rested for 31-90 days.
All 16 ran in a 3m-3m2f chase last time.
15 raced two to five times that season,
15 arrived via Cheltenham, Kempton, Leopardstown or Newbury – the King George VI, Letheby & Christopher (Pillar Property), Lexus and Aon Chases all good pointers.
15 had 5-13 chase outings.
14 were 7-9yo’s.
14 won during their last three runs.
14 won a Grade 1 chase.
14 won over 3m or further, including in Point-to-Points.
12 made the top two at the Cheltenham Festival – Denman emulated Looks Like Trouble and Garrison Savannah in following up their Royal & SunAlliance wins.
12 since 1999 were officially rated 166 or higher.
Paul Nicholls (4), Nicky Henderson (2) and Noel Chance (2) shared eight winners.