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July 18, 2024
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Cheltenham Festival Preview and Tips

Don’t miss our in-depth guide to the 100th Cheltenham Gold Cup, the highlight of day-four at the Festival.

Boodles Cheltenham Gold Cup

  • When: 3.30 Cheltenham, Friday March 15
  • Where: Cheltenham Racecourse, Gloucestershire
  • First prize: £351,688
  • Going: Soft, Heavy in places
  • TV: ITV & Racing TV

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Timeform at-a-glance guide

Top-Rated: Galopin Des Champs (8 lb clear)

Pace Forecast: Even

Specific Pace Hint: Galopin Des Champs has a good chance on form and shouldn’t be troubled by any pace scenario.

Individual Price Hint: Galopin Des Champs is right up there on the short list but has been beaten 4 times when trading at odds on in-running.

Timeform Analyst Tip: Galop Des Champs

What are the best each-way bets in the Gold Cup?

Timeform Jumps Editor Dan Barber:

The dashing Grey Dawning provided a tonic for the beleaguered crowd of British-trained participants in the graded races over the first two days and L’HOMME PRESSE can give them significantly more of it in the biggest race of the week. The absence of Shishkin has removed one of the form rivals to Galopin Des Champs but this still rates a potentially better renewal of the race than the 2023 version, with L’Homme Presse’s strong display in winning the Broadway under similar conditions as a novice still fresh in the mind and lots also to take from his two starts back this time around, belying a long absence to see off Protektorat at Lingfield and clearly finding the trip – and the right-handed course – less than ideal when taken off his feet by Pic d’Orhy at Ascot. The usual test of a testing-ground Gold Cup can bring out the required improvement.

Sporting Life Senior Tipster Ben Linfoot:

Just like Thursday’s Stayers’ Hurdle winner for the same connections, GERRI COLOMBE has had a light campaign and he can capitalise with a bold showing in the Boodles Cheltenham Gold Cup. Gerri Colombe was well beaten by reigning champion and race favourite Galopin Des Champs at Christmas, but Willie Mullins’ horse was favoured by racing on the speed in a slowly-run race, taking a wide route where he found better ground – unlike Gerri Colombe who had to come from off the pace on the worst of the conditions on the inside. Gordon Elliott’s horse has shaped like a strong stayer throughout his career before that and he should be ideally suited by this test. The Leopardstown defeat means we are getting inflated odds and he looks a good each-way bet against Galopin.

Last year’s runner-up when leading between the last two fences before going down by seven lengths to Galopin Des Champs. Has found one too good in all three of his starts this season but might well have won the King George VI Chase at Kempton for the second year last time had he not been badly hampered by likely winner Shishkin after two out, eventually going down by a length and a half to Hewick. Sound jumper and most reliable but may have to settle for minor honours at best once more.

Last season’s Grand National hero who also took the Ultima, for the second year running, at last year’s Cheltenham Festival, beating Fastorslow a neck in receipt of 4 lb. Better of two runs in the autumn when third of four to Royal Pagaille in the Betfair Chase at Haydock. Excellent Festival record and this greater test of stamina are in his favour, and should be staying on from off the pace, though needs a career best and the return to Aintree is probably the priority.

A novice in all but name last season who quickly developed into a top-class chaser, following his second to Corach Rambler in the Ultima with a surprise defeat of the Gold Cup one-two in the Punchestown Gold Cup. Had Galopin Des Champs behind him again when making a successful return in the John Durkan Memorial at Punchestown but no match for a back-to-form Galopin Des Champs in the Irish Gold Cup last time when four and a half lengths adrift. Shouldn’t be far away again.

Kept his unbeaten record in completed starts over fences when winning this last year, seeing the race out well to quash any stamina doubts. Suffered a couple of surprise defeats to Fastorslow at Punchestown on his next two outings but at least as good as ever at Leopardstown under more positive rides the last twice, a wide-margin winner of the Savills and having something in hand when beating Fastorslow to win his second Irish Gold Cup. Holds excellent claims of becoming stable’s second dual Gold Cup winner after Al Boum Photo.

Has only had three runs over fences, winning twice, but showed high-class form when beating previous year’s winner Bravemansgame in the Charlie Hall Chase at Wetherby in November. Capitalised on favourite’s mistake at the last there, as well as having the advantage of race fitness and being in receipt of 6 lb, so lot more to do here after more than four months off.

Lost his unbeaten record by just a short head to The Real Whacker in the Brown Advisory Novices’ Chase at last year’s Festival but soon made amends at Aintree and returned with another Grade 1 win in the Champion Chase at Down Royal, rallying from third on the run-in to beat Envoi Allen and Conflated. Gold Cup hopes took a knock after heavy defeat to Galopin Des Champs in the Savills Chase, even allowing for the fact he might have raced on slower ground than the winner, but certainly not one to write off yet.


Very lightly raced, winner of his only bumper and hurdle and two of his three chases. Rallied for length win over Classic Getaway in the New Year’s Day Chase at Tramore last time but that’s a far cry from Gold Cup form and would be a big outsider this time for a stable that’s won this twice recently.

Excellent novice season included a Festival win in the Brown Advisory. Only managed two runs last term before injury intervened but won the Rehearsal at Newcastle under top weight before unseating at the last when set to finish second to Bravemansgame in the King George. Returned from over a year off with win in the Fleur de Lys Chase at Lingfield but while Ascot Chase defeat last time was a backward step, the return to further on a left-handed track could well see him closer to his best.

Dual Festival winner in the past, including in the 2021 Brown Advisory. Very lightly raced since and has been campaigned over hurdles following a two-year absence, returning successfully from another nine months off when winning a weak renewal of the Galmoy Hurdle at Gowran in January. Best chance of winning this has probably passed him by and has the Stayers’ Hurdle 24 hours earlier as an alternative.

Behind in last season’s Ultima following a bad early mistake but an improved chaser this winter, proving well suited by long distances/testing conditions and with blinkers replacing cheekpieces the last twice when successful at Chepstow. Put up a very smart effort to win the Welsh National last time, pulling long way clear of four other finishers in straight. Would need similarly extreme conditions to come into the reckoning but even then would still have plenty to find on form.

Front runner who won all three of his novice chases last term, each one at Cheltenham, notably the Brown Advisory when holding on narrowly from Gerri Colombe. Has found life tougher in open company this season, beaten around ten lengths into fourth in the King George when ridden patiently for a change, before rallying to be runner-up in the Cotswold Chase back at Cheltenham last time. Much more needed again here.

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