Trainers Quotes – Cheltenham Gold Cup

Cheltenham Racecourse

There’s no such thing as a bad renewal of the Cheltenham Gold Cup. The 2019 edition features an intriguing blend of returning champions, new kids on the block, and one or two who are looking to get themselves back on to the straight and narrow having veered wayward from earlier promise. Although not always a true indicator, trainer quotes on Cheltenham Festival horses can be crucial and we’ve compiled all the key ones for the Gold Cup here.

Presenting Percy

Favourite for this race since he crossed the line victorious in last year’s RSA Chase, Presenting Percy is undeniably exciting, yet his preparation is equally unusual. He’ll arrive here off the back of a win in the Galmoy Hurdle, but no horse has won a Gold Cup with this kind of preparation since Daisy Buchanan danced the Charleston at a party in West Egg.

Of Percy’s unorthodox preparation Pat Kelly said: absolutely nothing, but Davy Russell and numerous horsemen from the Cheltenham preview evening circuit have been emphatic in their trust in Kelly’s methods.

The ordinary man nonetheless has fair cause for concern that the current 7/2 favourite hasn’t jumped a fence in public since last year’s RSA, and the Gold Cup is ruthless a punishing arena if any jumping rustiness exists.

Philip Reynolds is all to familiar with winning at the Festival and had no concerns with Presenting Percy when recently speaking to Racing Post about the apple of his eye.

(Credit: Racing Post)

Clan Des Obeaux

A newcomer to the top table of staying chasers, Clan Des Obeaux scaled new heights this season when beating Thistlecrack in the King George at flat, right-handed Kempton. He’s zero wins from three when visiting undulating, left-handed Cheltenham, however. He’s clearly a horse on the upgrade but is the King George form only fool’s gold?

Paul Nicholls: “He is an experienced horse that has matured, and he has done the talking himself in the last few runs. We are really excited about running him in the Gold Cup.” (Credit: Sky Sports Racing)

He was equally bullish when speaking about his team in a recent yard open day, where he revealed he was “thrilled with the way Clan [Des Obeaux] has progressed this season. He has had a great preparation and it is nice to go to Cheltenham with a lead“. Cheltenham hasn’t been the happiest of hunting grounds for Nicholls in recent years, but that could all change this week. (Credit: Racing Post)

Native River

The defending champion splits opinion: a gutsy plodder who had everything fall in his favour last year, or an underrated battler who puts fight before flair? With rain forecast again, dismiss Richard Johnson’s relentless galloper at your peril.

Colin Tizzard: “It is everyone’s dream to have a runner in the Gold Cup. Native River was third the year before he won it and to have three lovely staying chasers rated up in the 160s in the race is everything you want.” (Credit: Sporting Life)

With the rain pouring down in the lead up to the Festival, we could be in for another stamina-sapping Gold Cup, and Colin Tizzard is obviously relishing that prospect.

The more pace the better. We’ve all seen Native River, he’d stay four miles. The stronger the pace, the better he’ll be. It will come down to stamina I’m sure. Softer ground would play to his strengths more. If he’s on song he should have as good a chance as last year”. (Credit: Racing Post)


Like Clan Des Obeaux, Kemboy is a fresh face on the elite staying chase scene. Unbeaten in 4 runs since April and running away with the Grade 1 Lexus Chase at Leopardstown last time, his trainer Willie Mullins will be hoping that Kemboy is the elusive answer to his long unsolved Gold Cup riddle.

Mullins: “The ground in Leopardstown at Christmas, where Kemboy put in a huge performance, was very, very good. If it comes up like that on the fourth day at Cheltenham, which it can, he must have a very good chance and the further he’ll go, the better he’ll be.” (Credit: The Guardian)


Going into 2017, Thistlecrack had the horse racing world at his hooves, but he’s been a paler version of his exuberant best since narrowly giving in to the late Many Clouds in the Cotswold Chase of January 2017. However, there were signs that he’s close to a return to 2016’s form in his second to Clan Des Obeaux in the King George last time, which gives hope of a rejuvianted performance here.

Colin Tizzard: “Thistlecrack is a cracking horse. He has won a King George and he got quite close at Kempton to Clan Des Obeaux this season. He is 11 years old, and you can’t get away from that, but he has proved he has good form round Cheltenham.” (Credit: Yorkshire Post)

Might Bite

If Pat Kelly is the most enigmatic trainer in the Gold Cup line up, then Might Bite takes the equine equivalent of that honour. A winner of the RSA when all but pulling himself up on the run-in, he was vanquished by Native River in last year’s Gold Cup and has seemed thoroughly out of love with the game in two runs this season.

Can the magic of the Festival and the mastery of Nicky Henderson nurse Nico De Boinville’s mount back to his best? A recent piece of prep work at Newbury suggests it isn’t out of the realms of possibility.

There was nothing much else we could do, but something’s changed and he’s definitely working to a much higher level now. He’s been telling us for a while that we’re getting somewhere near the old Might Bite, and I was delighted with that. He looks great and all we want now is some decent ground.” (Credit: Racing Post)

By Joe Ellis

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