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Cheltenham Gold Cup - Friday March 15th 2013 

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Next Generation of Gold Cup Hopefuls Emerge at Cheltenham Festival
27/03/12

No sooner had Synchronised entered the Cheltenham Gold Cup winner’s enclosure last week when the market for next year’s race was already formed by bookmakers who placed the new champion behind three others in the betting at odds of 10/1 to win back-to-back renewals of National Hunt racing's most prestigious race.

Sir Des Champs
© Caroline Norris

Sir Des Champs

The 6/1 favourite with Paddy Power to win the 2013 Gold Cup is the Willie Mullins trained Sir Des Champs, impressive winner of the Grade 2 Jewson’s Novice Chase at this year's Festival. The win confirmed the unbeaten six year old’s potential as a chasing star of the future but he has yet to win at Grade 1 level, however, Mullins confirmed that the 2013 Gold Cup will be his target next season but is not sure whether or not he will run at the forthcoming Punchestown Festival. Sir Des Champs is owned by Ryanair owner, Michael O’Leary’s Gigginstown House stud, who last saw Gold Cup success with War Of Attrition in 2006 and in his Jewson victory, Sir Des Champs gave his connections every reason to believe that their waiting for more Gold Cup success may not be too far away.

Bobs Worth
© Racehorse Photos

Bobs Worth
Next best in the market is the Nicky Henderson trained, Bobs Worth, who is a best price 8/1, two points better than stablemate and 2011 Gold Cup winner, Long Run, who can be backed at 10/1 with Paddy Power and Bet Victor. Bobs Worth was of course another impressive winner at the 2012 Cheltenham Festival, taking the RSA Novice Chase in fine style, 2½ lengths ahead of the Mouse Morris trained, First Lieutenant. It was a second Festival win on the bounce for Bobs Worth who won the Grade 1 Albert Bartlett Novice Hurdle over 3 miles in 2011 and his target in 2013 is sure to be the Gold Cup.

Synchronised meanwhile is fully expected to return next season to defend his crown for his owner, JP McManus, trainer, Jonjo O’Neill and jockey, Tony McCoy. However, there are many that has described his win as a freak result in a below par renewal and that the nine year old is no more than a decent handicapper and will be found out in a better all round quality field. Those critics may have a point given the horse that followed Synchronised home, The Giant Bolster, is a 50/1 chance to win next year.

Despite failing to build on his first season in England, Long Run's connections firmly believe that the seven year old still has more to offer. It was in many ways an ironic defeat for Long Run who had the reputation as the Seven Barrows stable's best chaser but he was the only one of their main Grade 1 chase entries that failed to win at at a meeting which saw the yard landing seven races at the meeting. Bobs Worth won the RSA, Riverside Theatre took the Ryanair, Sprinter Sacre was the most impressive winner in years of the Arkle, while Finian’s Rainbow took the Queen Mother Champion Chase and Long Run was the second shortest priced of the five.

First Lieutenant
© Racehorse Photos

First Lieutenant

First Lieutenant has obtained an early quote of 14/1 whilst the David Pipe Festival disappointment, Grands Crus, is a 16/1 chance. First Lieutenant would have plenty to find with Bobs Worth if RSA Chase form is anything to go by and Grands Crus who finished fourth behind the pair, has to rediscover his confidence and learn how to win races at this time of year. As it stands though, the landscape for the 2013 Gold Cup is an intriguing one, with a number of young pretenders possessing the potential to fill the void left by the likes of Denman and Kauto Star, who looks sure to have run in his last Gold Cup.


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