The countdown is now on to the 2020 Cheltenham Festival, and Joe Eccles is back with his Joe’s Jottings article – proving an ante-post selection for a different race every Thursday for the next eight weeks.
Kicking off the series, he has decided to delve deeper into the current Cheltenham Gold Cup market, identifying a selection which – at the time of writing – is a best-priced 50/1, read his views below.
For all of the key trials in the build-up to March, check out our free horse racing tips page, which provides free runner-by-runner analysis and selections for all of the big races.
Joe’s Gold Cup Verdict
At the start of this season, the Cheltenham Gold Cup promised to be an absolute cracker – with even the slim prospect of Altior in the line-up had he run out a smooth winner of the King George.
Well, things don’t always go to plan, and as a result, the market for this year’s race is headed by the reigning Gold Cup winner – Al Boum Photo.
It’s a case of ‘if it ain’t broke don’t fix it’ for the son of Buck’s Boum, with a reappearance win at Tramore to be followed by Cheltenham – an identical route to the one taken last year.
He is obviously entitled to be in the mix once again, albeit offers very little appeal from an ante-post perspective.
Last year’s second – Anibale Fly – doesn’t hold an entry this time around, but the third home, Bristol De Mai, looks set to take his chance once again – and the 50/1 available on Nigel Twiston-Davies’ charge looks too big to ignore.
Bristol De Mai has finished out of the first four in only three of his twenty-eight starts since joining these connections, and last year’s third-place finish dispelled any theories on his ability to act around Cheltenham.
Sent off at odds of 18/1, the Simon Munir and Isaac Souede-owned grey arguably looked the likeliest winner turning for home, but he had charted a very wide course throughout and that seemed to take its toll at the business end, with him eventually fading into third.
He was behind Lostintranslation in the Betfair Chase on his only run so far this campaign, but that rival was race-fit, and the ground was likely a little quicker than Bristol De Mai would prefer.
The nine-year-old remains in a very small bracket of horses currently rated in the 170’s, and that defeat in the Betfair Chase may well prove a blessing in the long run, as it resulted in him side-stepping the King George – with Kempton looking too sharp a test for Bristol De Mai in the past.
He is set to reappear in the Cotswold Chase at Cheltenham next weekend, and that will be the first time that he has dropped out of Grade 1 company in almost two years.
Connections released a positive update on the gelding last week, where they confirmed the Gold Cup to be his target despite a Ryanair entry – and they will be hoping that a bold showing next weekend will put him spot-on for March.
The Gold Cup has previous for throwing up a big-priced placed horse, with Mon Mome (50/1 – 2010), The Giant Bolster (50/1 – 2012) and Anibale Fly (33/1 – 2018) all rewarding each-way punters in the last ten years, so the four-time Grade 1 winner Bristol De Mai doesn’t look the most fanciful suggestion.
BRISTOL DE MAI – 50/1 Cheltenham Gold Cup