Cheltenham Gold Cup Tips - 3:30pm Cheltenham

2020 Cheltenham Gold Cup Preview

This year’s Gold Cup looks to be one of the most open races for some time with several horses in with a good chance of lifting the £350,000 winner’s prize.

Let’s start with the defending champion Al Boum Photo trained by Willie Mullins, the 8yo was a surprise winner in 2019 having only previously won a couple of novice chases and a Listed race before being thrown in at the deep end.

He came home 2 ½ lengths in front of outsider Anibale Fly and the enigmatic Bristol De Mai so I’m not sure looking back if that was a vintage edition of the Gold Cup. Many of the fancied runners just didn’t perform including the favourite Presenting Percy who finished lame.

This season he made his comeback at Tramore and won by an easy 6 lengths but at the end of the day that didn’t really tell us anything. The last horse to successfully defend his title was Best Mate back in 2004 which just tells you how difficult this task is.

Stablemate Kemboy looks interesting, he beat Al Boum Photo at the Punchestown Festival last May and went to the top of the Willie Mullins pecking order. That victory followed a pummelling of Clan Des Obeaux at Aintree a month earlier where he looked very impressive.

The horse was prevented from running earlier this season due to irregularities with the syndicate he was owned by, he missed his intended comeback run and had to go to the Savills Chase at Christmas without a prep race. He finished 4th behind an improved Delta Work that day having never really settling and overall it was a messy race.

That form was confirmed at the Dublin Festival but you just have that feeling that Cheltenham will suit this horse better than Leopardstown.

Delta Work is trained by Gordon Elliott who won this race in 2016 with Don Cossack in the same Gigginstown colours. He has done little wrong and has won five chases, four of them Grade 1 contests. He was only 4th on his comeback run this season at Down Royal but was obviously a prep race for the Savills Chase so we can forgive him for that below par performance.

Davy Russell had been his partner up until this season, owner Michael O’Leary decided to change jockeys once Russell stated he would stay loyal to Presenting Percy if ever they both met. Jack Kennedy took over at Leopardstown and gave him a brilliant ride.

The partnership triumphed again when beating both Kemboy and Presenting Percy in February on trials day but Kennedy was subsequently injured in another race. He will miss the Festival.

Presenting Percy was made favourite for this race last season but suffered all sorts of problems starting with a slipped saddle and ending with the horse trailing in 33 lengths behind the winner. He was later found to be lame and the experience is best ignored.

So far this season he has finished 3rd at Punchestown in the John Durkan Memorial Chase and then was only 5th in the Savills Chase, it’s fair to say he has a bit to prove at present.

He ran better at the Dublin Festival but has ground to make up with both Delta Work and Kemboy and I’m not so sure this track suits.

Henry De Bromhead saddles Monalee who could go well at a big price. The 9yo has yet to prove he stays this far despite some very solid form over three miles. His three chase victories have been over 2m4f and was fourth in the Ryanair Chase last season behind Frodon. To his credit he has finished second in the Savills Chase for the last two seasons but would probably need good ground to show his best.

The English challenge is looking strong this season and is led by the Nicky Henderson trained Santini. He’s only had five starts over fences so is lightly raced for an 8yo, that’s not a bad thing as many Gold Cup winners won on their second season over fences.

Santini was second in the RSA last season, just going down a battling finish to Topofthegame, he was put away for the summer and came back to win at Sandown in November. He was less than spectacular that day to be honest and was given a wind operation soon after.

He came back to cation in the Cotswold Chase at Cheltenham in January and showed plenty of grit to overcome Bristol De Mai in gruelling conditions. That will have done him a power of good and better ground will only improve him. Bristol De Mai is better on a flatter track in my opinion and will struggle to reverse the form. Santini is a fresher horse than most and will come here in tip top condition.

Another second season chaser of interest is Lostintranslation trained by Colin Tizzard, he was second in the JLT Chase last season only just beaten by Defi Du Seuil. He went to Aintree and landed the Mildmay Novice Chase over 3m1f a month later and went into many notebooks as a Gold Cup horse for this year.

This season he won a little race at Carlisle to wipe the cobwebs away before his tilt at the Betfair Chase in November. He outbattled Bristol De Mai at Haydock to win by 1 ½ lengths and was almost forced to go for the King George next in chase of the £Million bonus. Things didn’t go right that day and was pulled up a long way from home, he made mistakes and a breathing problem was also reported.

All things being well he should be back to his best on a track that suits him and a trip he will relish and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him bang there at the finish.

Paul Nicholls saddles Clan Des Obeaux who was fifth in this race last season. He has won the King George at Kempton two years running but has been beaten in all four races when he has gone beyond the 3m mark. You would have to think he is a doubtful stayer around this track especially and would need conditions to suit.

Punters Lounge Tip: Santini 5/1 at bet365 - Click Here To Bet
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