Cheltenham Gold Cup: Poor preparations might cost Presenting Percy
The Cheltenham Gold Cup is the highlight of the 28 races at this year’s Cheltenham Festival with Presenting Percy currently leading the betting to claim the spoils but a quiet winter might be his undoing…
Conditions present Percy with problems
Presenting Percy looks likely to go off in Friday’s feature race as favourite to claim the Gold Cup but having run only once over hurdles in January and with few other appearances throughout the winter there’s little in terms of current form to really go on despite the current price of 4.50* in the market.
In fairness – the one-and-a-quarter length success in the Galmoy Hurdle at Gowran Park – was pretty emphatic though with recent conditions not entirely to his liking a trip over fences has been all but impossible, with the exception of a run-out at Galway, meaning this hasn’t been the best preparation for the Pat Kelly trained horse.
This is in stark contrast to the previous two festivals which saw Presenting Percy enjoy a pretty busy calendar ahead of the big one at Prestbury Park, so with little to go on in recent months whether the strong favouritism can be justified is open to debate with a number of notable contenders looking a little more appealing.
All going to plan for Clan
Clan des Obeaux’s season appears to have gone exactly to plan, however, with his surprise victory in the King George at Kempton followed by a win in the Betfair Denman Chase with the only real concern being a failure to get off the mark at Cheltenham in four visits to the Gloucestershire course, even so, the 7-year old is available at 5.00*.
Having won this race last season and finishing third back in 2017 Native River has to be respected and will likely be much more at home on the Cheltenham course than his rival having missed-out on the Denman after the race was switched to Newbury and at 5.50* offers a little more value in the market.
As for others which catch the eye, the Willie Mullins trained Kemboy impressed when winning the Savills Chase at Leopardstown after Christmas, his fourth win on the bounce, and looks capable of finding more if required here, though the only doubt might be over his jumping in a race as competitive as this but still of interest at 10.00*. Meanwhile, Might Bite’s effort in the Betfair Chase and King George left a lot to be desired with others looking more favourable even at 11.00*.
Don’t write off Thistlecrack
A second place finish for Thistelcrack in the King George at Kempton might just have proved there is plenty of life in the old boy yet, though whether that is enough to take the spoils in such a competitive field as this is debatable. But with a fantastic record at Cheltenham and plenty of stamina few 11-year-olds would command such respect and at 15.00* might be a tad overpriced.
Last year’s Golden Miller winner Shattered Love can be backed at an attractive 26.00*, though she hasn’t won since and although the longer trip is bound to appeal, the good ground is far from encouraging, suggesting only plenty of rain prior to the race would enhance her chances here.
If it’s a course specialist you’re looking for then Frodon has a pretty impressive record at Cheltenham with the Paul Nicholls trained horse winning the Cotswold here back in January and if given the opportunity to take an early lead without doubt has the stamina to last the distance and at 19.00* looks an appealing prospect in the each way market.
*all odds are subject to change