Cheltenham Festival 2014 Gold Cup Preview and Tips

Photo of Cheltenham Gold Cup by Kerry Hendry of Love The Image. The feature race of the Cheltenham Festival and the one that everybody out there is desperate to win. Won in recent years by the magnificent Kauto Star, Denman and more recently Bobs Worth, who takes his place in the line-up once more to defend his crown. Bobs Worth has an impeccable Cheltenham record and has been undefeated in his three festival races and is unbeaten in five starts at the track. The hill compliments him perfectly and he is incredibly tough to beat at the track. His relationship with jockey Barry Geraghty is poetry and their performance in the Lexus last time should put him in perfect shape for this one. Trainer Nicky Henderson has released a further upbeat bulletin about him and when he takes his place to retain his crown you would hope he would go mighty close to putting him in an elite team of great horses. He no doubt has a mighty task on his hands with the likes of Silviniaco Conti and Last Instalment coming into the race in great form, but he always seems to find more up the Cheltenham run in and in a fight to the line you would not want your money anywhere else. Silviniaco Conti comes into the race looking better than ever and his winning run in the King George is superb looking form. He fell in the race last year when still going well, even it visually looked like a tired fall. Noel Fehilly is getting a tremendous tune out of him and it will be interesting to see how he fares in this one. He is a fantastic stayer and it will be great to see how he comes up the hill. His fall last year combined with his slightly disappointing run in the Betfair Chase means Bobs Worth is chosen in preference as the selection. Having said that, the Betfair is probably an unfair judgement point and he must have a terrific chance. The Gigginstown pair of Last Instalment and First Lieutenant both come into the race with solid claims. Last Instalment was seriously impressive last time and has to be considered on that. However, he is still a doubt with the Fenton yard shrouded in controversy and only time will tell if this has affected his preparation for the race with the likes of The Tullow Tank now not crossing the Irish Sea. First Lieutenant is a horse I have followed for a long time now, he has however been a tad disappointing and his performances this season do leave him with a bit to find. However, he is crying out for this trip and it will be interesting to see him run nevertheless. David Bridgewater has been oozing confidence about The Giant Bolster who put in a mighty performance to win last time. He will be in there pitching and is an admirable sort for a really attractive yard. He does however look to be little bit short of the standard required to win a Gold Cup. He has been placed and that is arguably the best performance of his career, which does leave him a bit to find on the likes of Bobs Worth. Triolo D’Alene was recently given the all clear to have a crack on route to the National. He worked well enough to warrant a place in the race. Listen to Nicky Henderson speak about him two seasons ago when he’d first arrived in the yard and you would think he was going to win a Gold Cup. He has got his act together after a slow start and now looks to have a great chance in the Grand National. However, he is the stable’s second string here and probably isn’t quite good enough to win a Gold Cup. Harry Topper has been a revelation this season and has shown he is a high quality horse. He won impressively last time, beating Al Ferof comfortably. He comes into the race in good form and must be taken seriously even if not from a win perspective. Two horses that I like at big prices are Boston Bob and Lyreen Legend. The latter ran a cracker in the RSA Chase last year, and looked just as good when shaping very encouragingly on his comeback run in the Lexus Chase. He was a bit disappointing in the Irish Hennessy but is worth another chance at a big price. Boston Bob was also running a blinder in the RSA Chase when taking a heavy fall. He has always been highly regarded but has been a bit of a nearly horse and hasn’t quite shown that potential championship race winning ability. If he could come back to his RSA Chase form he too would have a chance. He though however, is not a definite to line up in this with entries elsewhere. Of the others, Captain Chris and Dynaste are both useful performers and the former of the two comes into the race in better form than ever on the back of two wins in lesser company. Dynaste does have a bit to prove after his latest performance but is by no means ruled out on the strength of his Betfair Chase form. Although his Cheltenham form from last season is a bit worrying, where he didn’t seem to quite power up the hill as you would like. He may well give this race the swerve and run in the Ryanair instead. Lord Windermere won the RSA Chase last year but hasn’t looked to have trained on quite like Lyreen Legend, while Long Run now looks more like an Aintree type as the heat of many tough major races start to take their toll. Rocky Creek and Teaforthree will probably also find this too hot with greater tests of stamina more up their ally. Therefore. in conclusion the mighty Bobs Worth is hard to pass over and is a worthy favourite. Hould be a fantastic winner for all at Seven Barrows, in particular Barry Geraghty who bought him as a youngster. Lyreen Legend and Boston Bob are ones to note at huge prices. Selections: Bobs Worth 4pts WIN Lyreen Legend 1pt E/W