The Cheltenham Gold Cup is the most prestigious event of the season in jumps racing in the UK. It is the highlight of the Cheltenham Festival, the four-day meeting in March at Cheltenham Racecourse.
With the 2022/23 National Hunt season past the halfway point, here is a look at three horses who go into the Gold Cup with strong claims for victory.
Galopin Des Champs
Irish star Galopin Des Champs ended last season as one of the leading novice chasers in the sport. An error at the final fence at the Cheltenham Festival stopped him from having glory at the biggest week of the year, but he bounced back to score in a Grade One contest at Fairyhouse.
? CHELTENHAM GOLD CUP ENTRIES ?
Ante-post favourite Galopin Des Champs heads 27 entries for the Boodles Cheltenham Gold Cup on March 17, alongside all of the main market leaders
Shishkin has also been entered but Allaho has not pic.twitter.com/tE2KWbw76B
— Racing Post (@RacingPost) January 3, 2023
Willie Mullins’ runner goes into the 2023 Cheltenham Gold Cup as the 13/8 favourite in the horse racing betting. He has held that position following an impressive seasonal reappearance success at Punchestown.
The seven-year-old is likely to be one of the leading horse racing betting tips for the Gold Cup this year as he ticks a lot of the right boxes. He is a chaser who remains open to improvement, his trainer has an excellent record at the festival, and he has won over the three-mile distance last season.
2022 Brown Advisory Novices’ Chase winner L’Homme Presse has had a mixed start to the season so far. He prevailed on his opening outing of the campaign at Newcastle, scoring from top weight in that handicap contest.
Venetia Williams’ runner then unseated his rider at the final fence at Kempton in the King George VI Chase. Connections will not be too concerned about that run, as his form around right-handed racecourses like Kempton is not as strong.
L’Homme Presse will appreciate the stiffer stamina test in the Gold Cup at Cheltenham. He has won at Cheltenham before and a return to a left-handed track will help his chances of winning the biggest prize in the division in just his second season as a chaser.
British trainer Paul Nicholls has won the Gold Cup on four occasions. A victory in March will see him match the record for the most successes in the race which is set by Tom Dreaper with five wins.
.@CobdenHarry celebrates with Bravemansgame @kemptonparkrace @PFNicholls pic.twitter.com/g9vy4zTH6a
— PA Racing (@PAracing) December 26, 2022
Nicholls will be optimistic about the chances of Bravemansgame after his horse won the King George VI Chase during the festive period in the sport. The eight-year-old proved his stamina in the division, scoring by 14 lengths in an emphatic performance.
The King George winner now has an official rating of 172, one of the highest of all the chasers in training in the UK and Ireland. His only defeat over fences came at Aintree last season in the Mildmay Novices’ Chase.
Bravemansgame will need to prove he can handle the stiffer test at Cheltenham, as he has appeared just once at this course in the 2021 Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle. However, this horse has shown a lot of improvement since switching to fences so that can’t be ruled out in the Blue Riband contest.
The 2023 Cheltenham Gold Cup takes place on the 17th of March, and it will be the 95th renewal of the day four contest at the Cheltenham Festival.