|Wednesday 1st March 2023
Three of the leading contenders for 2023 Cheltenham Gold Cup
The 2023 Cheltenham Gold Cup promises to be a thriller with outstanding horses competing for the ultimate prize at Cheltenham Festival.
Rachael Blackmore guided A Plus Tard to victory in the event last season, securing a second win in a row for trainer Henry de Bromhead. Here we look at the credentials of the best runners and riders.
A Plus Tard
A Plus Tard was outstanding in the Gold Cup last season defeating his stable-mate Minella Indo by 11 lengths, avenging his loss from the 2021 Gold Cup. Blackmore created history in the process by becoming the first female jockey to win the title.
The French thoroughbred was a strong contender throughout the campaign and delivered on his potential. De Bromhead does have an issue this season as A Plus Tard fell in his only race of the term at Haydock Park in the Lancashire Chase.
He has not competed since and his form heading into the Festival is anything other than consistent, unlike in 2022. The nine-year-old is the defending champion and is backed in the odds for betting on Cheltenham at 6/1 to win for a second year in a row joining the likes of Al Boum Photo to secure a lasting legacy at the Festival.
Galopin Des Champs
Galopin Des Champs has a point to prove at Cheltenham after the result of his last run at the Festival. Willie Mullins’ charge was well ahead of the field in the Turners Novices' Chase and was seemingly on his way to a dominant victory, only for the French thoroughbred to fall at the final hurdle presenting the win to Bob Olinger. The response has been emphatic from Galopin Des Champs as he has won all three of his races since his fall
He ended the last campaign with a sensational run at the Gold Cup Novice Chase at Fairyhouse to win the event by 18 lengths. Mullins’ charge was equally impressive to win the John Durkan Memorial Punchestown Chase before Paul Townend steered the seven-year-old to another dominant outing, securing the Irish Gold Cup at Leopardstown.
Noble Yeats could become the first horse since L’Escargot to win both the Grand National and the Cheltenham Gold Cup. L’Escargot achieved the feat in 1975, having won two Gold Cups in successive years in 1970 and 1971 before winning the National, defeating Red Rum in the process. Noble Yeats already has the Grand National win after stunning the field to triumph at Aintree in 2022 as a 50/1 outsider.
Emmet Mullins appears to be preparing his charge for a run at the Gold Cup, although he did not enjoy his first experience at the Festival, finishing ninth in the Ultima Handicap Chase last year. However, he produced the performance of a lifetime to win the National four weeks later, edging out Any Second Now.
Noble Yeats pulled up in his first race of the term at Auteuil but responded with back-to-back wins in the M.W. Hickey Memorial Chase at Wexford and Many Clouds Chase on his return to Aintree. His last outing came at Cheltenham in the Cotswolds Chase, where he was beaten out by Ahoy Senor. It perhaps shows frailty in his ambition to win the Gold Cup, but he will be a tough contender if given the go-ahead.
A Plus Tard will aim to join an illustrious company of horses to win successive Gold Cups when he competes at the event, although the host of challengers for his title will make it a very tough feat to achieve.