The Cheltenham Gold Cup is most prestigious race in National Hunt racing, attracting the best horses in the 3m+ division to create a fantastic spectacle at Prestbury Park on the final day of the Cheltenham Festival.
Last year’s winner Native River is set to return to defend his crown in the 3m2f contest where if successful, he will become the first back-to-back winner of the race since Best Mate, won the third of his three Gold Cups in 2004.
— CheltenhamRacecourse (@CheltenhamRaces) March 16, 2018
Native River made virtually all of the running 2018 in what was a blistering pace from the start. Along with Might Bite, the pair stretched away from their rivals in the race in the early stages and were fighting it out up the hill after the last fence where the older horse had a little extra to get up by just over four lengths.
At 6/1 in the ante-post betting at the time of writing, Native River is sure to be one of the most popular 2019 Gold Cup tips as has proved he has the stamina and class for this race. As a former Welsh Grand National winner, he will have no problem if conditions become testing, while he has also had lots of success on fast ground.
Presenting Percy Leads Irish Challenge
Ireland are set to send a strong team of horses across for the Gold Cup this year with Presenting Percy expected to be their best chance of winning the Blue Riband contest of the Festival again.
Presenting Percy was an empathic winner of the RSA Chase last March to cap off what had been a superb novice season for the chaser. Patrick Kelly’s runner was expected to be a part of all the leading 3m races in the 2018/19 campaign, however, a few setbacks have ruled him out of action in those contests.
The eight-year-old has appeared just once this season which came in the Galmoy Hurdle, the race he won 12 months ago. Connections planned to run their horse in the Red Mills Chase at Gowran Park earlier this month, however, he was taken out at the final declaration stage.
Despite his inactivity this season, Presenting Percy is the 7/2 favourite to win the Gold Cup at the first attempt. The horse is expected to have a big future and this could be the first step at fulfilling his potential outside of novice company.
King George Winner Clan Des Obeaux Out To Prove Kempton Was No Fluke
Clan Des Obeaux caused an upset on Boxing Day at Kempton when he won the King George VI Chase, the second biggest race in this division. At odds of 10/1, not many expected Paul Nicholls’ runner to come out on top in a field which included Might Bite, Native River and Waiting Patiently.
— Racing Post (@RacingPost) February 16, 2019
The seven-year-old, who missed the Festival last year, recently prevailed in the Grade Two Denman Chase by 11 lengths. Connections will be hoping he can add the Gold Cup to his record next month which would ensure he ends the season as the leading staying chaser either side of the Irish Sea.
The final declarations for the 2019 Gold Cup will be announced on Wednesday, 13th March, 48 hours before the big race.