The ante-post betting for the Cheltenham Gold Cup on Friday 19th March has seen some drastic changes over the Festive period, after several contenders boosted their chances by unwrapping Christmas successes.
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Favourite Looks As Strong As Ever
Two-time Gold Cup winner Al Boum Photo did nothing wrong in proving he is still the one to catch by beating the talented Acapella Bourgeois at Tramore on New Year’s Day.
The dual Gold Cup champ was doing all his best work at the end of that race over 2m 5½f and will appreciate the step back up to the extended three miles at Cheltenham in March.
His recent victory saw him shorten up to around 7/2 with most bookmakers, although one firm still has Al Boum Photo as a 9/2 shot to make it a hat-trick in the Gold Cup.
Shock in the Savills
The biggest market mover in the Gold Cup picture over Christmas was the impressive A Plus Tard, who snatched victory with a last-gasp success in the ultra-competitive Savills Chase at Leopardstown.
Taking on a field that included names such as Kemboy, Melon, Allaho, Presenting Percy, Minella Indo, Samcro and Delta Work, it was a race to rival the Cheltenham Gold Cup in March.
In the end, A Plus Tard rallied late to beat Kemboy by ½ length but the form is arguably the best that we have seen so far this season, and it was no surprise to see a drastic response from bookies such as Paddy Power, who slashed his odds from 50/1 into as short as 8/1.
King George the 12th For Nicholls
Jumps racing fans have become well accustomed to Paul Nicholls landing the Boxing Day showpiece in the form of the King George VI Chase at Kempton, but few expected him to land the 2020 renewal with Frodon.
The Grade One winner has always kept his best for Cheltenham, including when winning the 2019 Ryanair Chase, but was out of sorts last season and disappointed when well beaten at Aintree in December.
However, he was back to his sparking best at Kempton to put in another breathtaking jumping performance from the front in the hands of his trusty partner, Bryony Frost.
It was a performance that even Nicholls admitted would put him in the Gold Cup picture, and the bookmakers agreed by cutting Frodon from 25/1 into 12/1 for the Cheltenham showpiece event.=
Other Market Movers
Much like Paul Nicholls, Nicky Henderson knows a thing or two about being champion trainer in Britain, and will be hoping to add his third Gold Cup this year with Champ.
The 2020 RSA Chase winner was expected to reappear in the Savills Chase over Christmas, but missed that engagement due to not being quite ready.
Despite that, he must be doing some impressive work on the gallops because his odds were also shortened without even running. He’s now been clipped into 8/1 from 12/1.
On the other hand, Nicky Henderson’s Santini was pushed out from 7/1 to 9/1.
He could only manage a fifth place finish in the King George VI Chase at Kempton on Boxing Day, but has a record of 13212 at Cheltenham, so is a horse to rule out of the big race at your peril.
Another drifter was the 2019 Albert Bartlett winner, Minella Indo. He took the first fall of his career at Leopardstown, and was duly put on the drift for the Gold Cup by the bookies, who went 10/1 from 8/1.
Betting on the Cheltenham Gold Cup
Now that we’ve hit the New Year, there’s less than 10 weeks to go until the Cheltenham Festival. Many bookmakers offer NRNB offers for Cheltenham, which stands for non-runner no bet, and gives you a chance to back your fancy in the knowledge that if it doesn’t run, you’ll get your stake back in cash.