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5 Leading Contenders for the 2020 Cheltenham Gold Cup

6th March 2020

horse

Horse races don't get any bigger than the Cheltenham Gold Cup, which is the centrepiece of the four-day Festival held at the eponymous racecourse in the Cotswolds each and every March.

Many of Britain's top National Hunt stables are in the West Country, but home trainers have to fend off strong Irish challenges. This year looks no different, so who are the leading contenders for the 2020 Gold Cup on Friday, 13 March?

Al Boum Photo


Willie Mullins had been trying to win the blue riband steeplechase his entire training career until Al Boum Photo came along and did it for him last year. The Closutton maestro has taken a similar route back to the Gold Cup with this horse.

History is against Al Boum Photo but, at the age of eight, he is lightly raced enough to win again. The Cheltenham Gold Cup odds also speak in his favour with him trading as the 7/2 joint-favourite to retain his crown.

Clan Des Obeaux


Ditcheat trainer Paul Nicholls hasn't lifted the Gold Cup since 2009 but insists double King George VI Chase hero Clan Des Obeaux can go better this year than his fifth-place finish 12 months ago. Kempton Park is certainly the eight-year-old's track, but the jury is out on whether he is seen to best effect around Cheltenham.

The two courses ask very different questions of a racehorse. Clan Des Obeaux gets the easy three miles at Kempton which is flat. Cheltenham is undulating and better suited by gallopers, but Nicholls keeping his charge fresh could be a shrewd move.

Delta Work

 

Delta Work

Previous Festival winner Delta Work has improved on his novice chase form in open company this season. Gordon Elliott told punters he would come on a lot for his return at Down Royal and the trainer has been as good as his word, because the seven-year-old Gigginstown House Stud-owned gelding has won two Grade 1s at Leopardstown since.

Some of the Cheltenham predictions made by experts highlight how those runs were hard races. There is no hiding place in the Irish Gold Cup for instance but, having beaten everything bar Al Boum Photo in the Emerald Isle, Delta Work has to be taken seriously in a bid to follow-up at the Festival. 

Lostintranslation


West Country trainer Colin Tizzard has come a long way since starting out as a dairy farmer. Lostintranslation, who has won Grade 1s at Aintree as a novice and Haydock in open company, is the latest inmate of his stables to be fancied for the Gold Cup.

It never quite happened for Cue Card or Thistlecrack, but Native River delivered in 2018. With the past winner injured, however, Lostintranslation is the leading chance for Tizzard this year. The one concern is him pulling up in the King George, but the eight-year-old has had a wind operation to aid his breathing since.

Santini


It's a very grand ambition to set a racehorse's career aim of winning the Gold Cup, but that is precisely what Nicky Henderson has done with Santini. He has deliberately kept his charge lightly raced with this in mind all along.

Santini is eight like many of the other leading contenders, but hasn't been stylish in winning both of his starts this season. Will the curse of winning the Cotswold Chase on Festival Trials Day strike again? The betting says not as he's disputing favouritism.

Posted by Mark at 7:28am

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