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Ginger Joe - 2024 Cheltenham Gold Cup - Runner By Runner Guide

Publish Date: 09/03/2024
Fact checked by: James Leeland
Key Points
  • My Cheltenham Gold Cup preview
  • Runner-by-runner guide and verdict
  • Unibet with a unique Cheltenham free bet offer

The main event of the Cheltenham week

Racing Fans! We move on to the main event - The Cheltenham Gold Cup. At the top of the market is last year's winner, Galopin Des Champs, who is back to try and make it two in a row. But there are plenty of very good horses here who will do their level best to deny him a second victory.

So, I’ve put together a runner-by-runner guide for you, with my take on every horse in this five-star field, together with my verdict on the potential outcome of this race. But no matter what happens on the day, we are all in for a treat.

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Day 4 - 15:30 The Cheltenham Gold Cup 3m 2f – Grade 1

Personally, I think that every race during the Cheltenham Festival has something special about it, but for many of you it’s all about the Gold Cup, where the best of the best long-distance Chasers come together to battle it out. Each runner here has proven themselves over the season, and they are all ready to run their best race.

Ahoy Senor @ 33/1

There is a possibility that Ahoy Senor won’t actually run in the Gold Cup, as he also has the option of running in the Ryanair Chase. In fact, I have a feeling that connections are leaning in that direction. Although he deserves his place here, there are certain things about him I don’t like. He is quite a hot-headed sort that doesn’t settle easily, plus his jumping is all over the place at times. That said, he does have a big engine, as we’ve seen at Cheltenham and Aintree, but he’s not for me.

Bravemansgame @ 12/1

Last year’s Gold Cup and King George runner-up, Bravemansgame, has gained plenty of support in the market over the last couple of days and rightly so in my opinion. He may have a bit to do if he is going to turn around his form with Galopin Des Champs, but he is a very good reliable jumper. A repeat of last year’s effort gives him a fine chance of hitting the frame again and he shouldn’t be underestimated here.

Corach Rambler @ 20/1

Two-time Ultima Chase winner and 2023 Grand National winner, Corach Rambler, has a fantastic resume and he thoroughly deserves to be in the lineup here. Although I feel he is short of genuine class, here he is, and history will be made if he is able to pull off a miraculous win in the Gold Cup too. Unfortunately, I think he is going to get outpaced, and even though he will stay on, I can’t see him quite hitting the frame.

Fastorslow @ 9/2

According to the market, Fastorslow is the main danger to last year’s winner and he is definitely a horse that is still open to improvement over this trip. He has actually beaten Galopin Des Champs twice now, and that’s more than can be said for most in this field. He beat him at the end of last season in the Punchestown Gold Cup, and again in the John Durkan. Admittedly over a trip that didn’t suit Galopin Des Champs, but he beat him nonetheless. The results were reversed when the pair met again at Leopardstown, but the distance was only 4 lengths. Fastorslow has to be in with a chance this year to my way of thinking.

Galopin Des Champs @ 5/6

Last year’s winner, Galopin Des Champs, won’t be easy to beat. Connections clearly have him primed for a second victory this year. I think Galopin Des Champs has actually upped his game again this season, which means that his rivals have a lot to find to meet him on level terms.  He is only a short price, but he clearly has the best form in the race and I feel that he holds most of the aces. I’ll be very surprised if he doesn’t cross the winning line with his nose in front, let’s put it that way.

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Gentlemansgame @ 16/1

I think Gentlemansgame is a bit of a dark horse in this race. He managed to beat last year's runner up, Bravemansgame, on his latest start, where he clearly appreciated the step up in trip and has been kept fresh for this race since. That run was back in November, so he has had a good three months off the track and could have improved any amount since then. He has turned into a much better Chaser this year and I think he has very good each way credentials here.

Gerri Colombe @ 9/1

Gerri Colombe was just touched off in last year’s Brown Advisory and although he is clearly a horse with a ton of stamina, he lacks gears when it really matters. I also don’t think he jumps well enough to be competitive here either. I’m sure some shrewdies will fancy him on the day, but I’ve found him rather disappointing really and he has over 20 lengths to find with Galopin Des Champs. I don’t rate his chances here at all.

Hewick @ 12/1

Hewick is one of those horses that just keeps surprising me and he has some massive races on his resume. He won the American Grand National last year, then won the King George in December and has been overlooked both times. If you go back to last year’s Cheltenham Gold Cup, he was actually running a really big race before he fell. I would be careful about writing him off too soon for this year's race, as he continues to shock the racing world.

Jungle Boogie @ 50/1

Jungle Boogie has had more than his fair share of injuries, which kept him off a racetrack for over two years, but he definitely has ability. He finished fourth on his first start back, and then went on to beat Classic Getaway by a length at Tramore on New Years Day. That was quite a spectacular run and a brilliant finish too, but it’s highly unlikely that he is quite up to Gold Cup winning standard.

L’homme Presse @ 14/1

I absolutely love L’homme Presse as a horse. He is a beautiful three-mile Chaser and has a very big engine on his day too. I’m not sure he is quite up to the level of winning a Gold Cup though and I’m not convinced that this trip suits him that well either. To me he is a proper, old school three-miler, and I worry that he won't have enough kick at the finish here, but he certainly holds sufficient credentials for place money.

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Monkfish @ 20/1

No decision has been finalised, but connections have mentioned they are likely to reroute Monkfish away from Cheltenham altogether, and give him a chance in the Irish National instead. If he does line up here though, he has a lot to find.

Nassalam @ 40/1

Nassalam was a highly impressive winner of the Welsh National at Chepstow over Christmas and at just seven years of age he is a horse that’s on an upward curve for sure. I don’t know if he is quite up to this class just yet, but if the ground does end up very soft, he may have a chance of some place money. Basically, he will stay all day, but he is highly ground dependent and it’s that which will dictate his chances in the Gold Cup this year.

Shishkin @ 7/1

It looked to me like Shishkin was well on his way to winning the King George until he unseated Nico after the last fence. You do have to take his attitude on trust, but on a going day, he is a very talented individual and I’m sure his stamina will hold out here. I don’t know if he will be able to match the finish of Galopin Des Champs, but Shishkin doesn’t ever know when he is beaten, he is a horse that will just keep on galloping and I would give him a better shout than most.

The Real Whacker @ 25/1

I didn’t give The Real Whacker the credit he deserved for winning the Brown Advisory Chase last year, probably because I thought he was lucky to win at the time. However, my opinion of him has changed quite a bit since then. He has run some very good races and certainly looked like he could stay further when he finished second to Capodanno in the Cotswold Chase. I’m not totally sure he is classy enough to win here, and his habit of jumping out to the right isn’t ideal, but he could run a big race from the front, and at a big price.

My Cheltenham Gold Cup Verdict

I cannot wait for the Gold Cup to get underway, it’s always a joy to watch and this year’s renewal is sure to have a real nail-biting finish.

It’s often the case that returning favourites get beaten, because it’s a tough ask to win back-to-back Gold Cups, but Galopin Des Champs just looks on another level to me. Not only do his rivals have to raise their game to get to where he was last season, he has improved since then, so the bar has been raised again.

I’d love to see Shishkin serve it up to Galopin Des Champs, but that is probably heart over head unfortunately. Gentlemansgame is one I like a lot because we don't know where his ceiling is yet. He is a great jumper and he looked the real deal when beating Bravemansgame last time out. Also, the fact he comes into this fresh makes me think there is a big performance on the cards.

It really is a tough race to call this year, but I think Galopin Des Champs wins the Gold Cup ahead of Gentlemansgame, and I can see Fastorslow being the best of the rest.

  1. Galopin Des Champs
  2. Bravemansgame
  3. Fastorslow

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