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2022 Cheltenham Gold Cup Tips - Ante-post guide to Cheltenham Festival feature

By Jon Vine
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11 Mar 2022
  • Ante-post tips and odds for the 2022 Cheltenham Gold Cup
  • This Grade One headlines the card on day four of the Cheltenham Festival on Friday 18th March 2022
  • Minella Indo returns to defend his crown
  • A Plus Tard is our best bet in the showpiece race of the meeting
  • We're also backing another runner at 80/1
minella indo
A Plus Tard (right) just fails to catch Minella Indo in the 2021 Cheltenham Gold Cup. (Getty)
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The showpiece race during the Cheltenham Festival is the Gold Cup. This three-and-a-quarter mile Grade One chase is one of the most prestigious races in the world of horse racing and victory in this famous race guarantees the winner a spot in the annals of history, alongside greats like Golden Miller, Arkle, Best Mate and Kauto Star.

We've taken a look through the entries for the main event at the 2022 Cheltenham Festival and picked out our best ante-post bets.

2022 Cheltenham Gold Cup Ante-Post Guide


2022 Cheltenham Gold Cup Odds


Name
Odds
A Plus Tard10/3
Galvin5/1
Minella Indo8/1
Al Boum Photo10/1
Protektorat10/1
Tornado Flyer12/1
Bar14/1

*Odds taken on 26/1/22*

The Defending Champion

A Plus Tard was my best bet leading into last year’s Gold Cup. I’d also backed Minella Indo at 20/1, after bookmakers drastically overreacted to his performance in the Irish Gold Cup. 

Henry De Bromhead’s star was backed into 9/1 before the off and Jack Kennedy’s mount proceeded to put on a jumping clinic. Minella Indo travelled comfortably behind Frodon throughout, striking the front when the former Ryanair winner gave way. A Plus Tard tried valiantly to run down his stablemate, but try as he might, he couldn’t stop Minella Indo from handing his jubilant trainer a first Gold Cup win.

On his reappearance in the Ladbrokes Champion Chase at Down Royal, De Bromhead’s star looked in desperate need of the run and had a good blow after finishing third. I was never convinced that the King George was the right race for this dour stayer and Minella Indo really laboured behind a rapid pace at Kempton, crying enough well before the end. You’d want to see a bit more from the returning king at the Dublin Racing Festival, as his two runs so far this season have been underwhelming. However, such is his record around Cheltenham, it’s too early to completely rule out a repeat bid from Minella Indo.

Leading Contenders


Galvin2022 Cheltenham Gold CupGET 5/1 HERE
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Following that narrow defeat in last year’s Gold Cup, A Plus Tard returned to action with a dominant victory in the Betfair Chase, thrashing Royale Pagaille by 22 lengths. Rachael Blackmore’s mount was then odds-on to retain his Savills Chase crown, but didn’t produce his most fluent round of jumping and was collared on the line by Galvin.

I backed Galvin to win the Grand National at the start of the season. I’m a huge fan of Gordon Elliott’s eight-year-old, so it’s pained me somewhat to cheer against him for the entirety of the season. A victory on his reappearance at Punchestown was followed by an excellent effort behind Frodon at Down Royal. After watching Davy Russell galvanise his mount after the last at Leopardstown to pip A Plus Tard to the post, I was forced to accept that Galvin is simply too classy for a Grand National and he’s not to be underestimated going into his first Gold Cup.

It’s only fair to include the 2019 and 2020 Gold Cup winner, Al Boum Photo in this section. Willie Mullins felt his star was lacking sharpness when only third in the race 12 months ago and pledged to keep his top stayer more active this term. Sadly, good ground on both sides of the Irish Sea forced Mullins to revert back to his usual plan of starting Al Boum Photo out at Tramore, where he won, but didn’t seem to have his usual sparkle. Now a ten-year-old, age could be catching up with this former Festival hero and I’ll be in no hurry to back Al Boum Photo this year.

protektorat
Protektorat is the leading British contender in this year's Gold Cup. (Getty)

UK Challenge

The highest placed home challenger in the betting is Protektorat, who rounded off an impressive novice campaign with an excellent win in the Manifesto Novices’ Chase at Aintree in the spring. Dan Skelton’s star survived a terrible blunder to finish a staying-on second in the Paddy Power Gold Cup on his reappearance. Protektorat then blew Native River, Simply The Betts and Imperial Aura away with a 25-length triumph in the Many Clouds Chase and fully warrants a crack at the Gold Cup on the back of such a performance.

Having ended last year with wins in the Turners Novices’ Chase and the Mildmay at Aintree, Chantry House could have been backed at single figures for the feature race on day four of the Cheltenham Festival at the start of the season. Nicky Henderson’s star drifted alarmingly after he was pulled up in the King George. His trainer is adamant that it was the track and the lightning pace of the race that spooked Chantry House and a rejuvenated display in the Cotswold Chase on Trials Day would push Henderson’s star back towards the top end of the betting.

Former Gold Cup runner-up, Lostintranslation recorded an overdue win on his reappearance this term before finishing a distant fifth in the King George. Stablemate, Fiddlerontheroof also features in the Gold Cup entries, having placed second in the Ladbrokes Trophy earlier in the season, but it’s very hard to make a case for either mounting a challenge in National Hunt racing’s most prestigious race.

Royale Pagaille finished sixth in this race as a novice 12 months ago and he could return for another attempt. Venetia Williams’ star jumped beautifully when winning his second Peter Marsh earlier this month and he clearly has plenty of class. However, Royale Pagaille jumped really poorly on his first around Cheltenham in last year’s Gold Cup and I’d only fancy him if the ground was to come up very soft.

Lucinda Russell has entered up exciting novice Ahoy Senor, who is the type who would relish a test like the Gold Cup. An outing in the Brown Advisory Chase on day two seems much more likely, but if Russell fancied swerving Galopin Des Champs and another showdown with Bravemansgame, I wouldn’t be surprised if the team went down the Coneygree route and threw Ahoy Senor into the Gold Cup.

Irish Raiders

After Frodon’s early burst and Saint Calvados’ poorly timed challenge, the King George was set up perfectly for a fast closer and it was Tornado Flyer who capitalised. Danny Mullins produced his mount to perfection coming down the straight and Willie Mullins’ star comfortably saw off Clan Des Obeaux to win his first Grade One race.

Asterion Forlonge looked booked for second behind his stablemate, only to take a crashing fall at the final flight. Mullins’ grey also fell late on his reappearance in the John Durkan, where he was travelling well enough to topple Allaho. Asterion Forlonge has now fallen on almost half of his starts over fences and is certainly more comfortably going right-handed, so I wouldn’t advise anyone to back him around Cheltenham.

Despite a poor run in the Ladbrokes Trophy, I remain confident that Eklat De Rire is a Grade One performer, but he’d only appeal if the ground came up very soft. Mount Ida has run up to a very good level this season. Despite winning last year’s Kim Muir, she’s clearly much happier going right-handed and I doubt whether she would have the class to content in a race of this stature.

a plus tard
Rachael Blackmore rides A Plus Tard to victory during the Close Brothers Novices' Handicap Chase on Champion Day of the Cheltenham Festival. (Getty)

2022 Cheltenham Gold Cup Tips – Best Bet


A Plus Tard2022 Cheltenham Gold Cup Best BetGET 10/3 HERE
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I made no bones about it at the start of the season that I thought A PLUS TARD was the most likely winner of the 2022 Cheltenham Gold Cup. A narrow defeat to the hardy Galvin in the Savills Chase cannot dissuade me of the opinion that Henry De Bromhead’s star is the best staying chaser in the sport.

Rachael Blackmore may regret her decision to hold her mount up so far off the pace for the majority of last year’s Gold Cup. Despite a couple of errors as he worked his way into contention, A Plus Tard still had Minella Indo in his crosshairs turning for home, but sadly, he couldn’t find the extra gear to pass Jack Kennedy’s mount on the run to the line.

De Bromhead’s eight-year-old returned to action with a stunning display in the Betfair Chase at Haydock, where he jumped beautifully and left future Peter Marsh winner, Royale Pagaille for dead. 

I could come up with a few reasons why Henry De Bromhead's charge lost over Christmas. A Plus Tard drifted in the build-up. Rachael found herself too far back, again, and was forced wide to challenge. A Plus Tard jumped right at a few obstacles and got in a little tight at the last. However, this is horse racing. The best horse doesn't always win. Galvin gained the plaudits at Leopardstown, and rightly so.

At Cheltenham, I fancy a fresh A Plus Tard will gain revenge on both Galvin and Minella Indo in the 2022 Gold Cup, and I can see him doing it in style!

GB

Verdict

I backed A Plus Tard to win the Gold Cup at the start of the season and I still think he's the most likely winner.

2022 Cheltenham Gold Cup Best Bet: A Plus Tard Straight Win @10/3 at Paddy Power - 25 Units
A Plus Tard
Straight Win
@10/3 - 25 Units
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