Midnight the one to Chase – Cheltenham Gold Cup preview

On Christmas Day last year I put on the winner of the 2010 Cheltenham Gold Cup, Imperial Commander so let’s see if I can repeat the trick once again. The timing is the same but the selection is different.

The horse in question is Midnight Chase, a young rapidly improving front running chaser that simply loves Cheltenham. He’s unbeaten in his last four starts at Prestbury Park, one at the end of last season and three this season. In his other two outings at the course he’s come second and third. The last victory on the Friday of the International Meeting was most impressive. After he made a mistake at the third last, Presenting Forever went on only for Midnight Chase to show great determination to collar him on the run to the line from the last. He was just about headed by Rare Bob too between the third and second last.

He also made a mistake at the third last when winning at the Open Meeting so if he’s in front on the 18 March I’ll be holding my breath hoping he makes a clean leap. Midnight Chase is normally a great fencer and I love the way he goes about his business – he really enjoys his racing and shows a lot if courage. Other positives are his liking for good ground, his stamina and his age. As we see year after year the going is generally good at Cheltenham in March and horses lacking in stamina fail to stay the Gold Cup trip. At his win at the Open Meeting in November, Midnight Chase won over a 3m 3 1/2 furlongs so the 1 furlong shorter distance of the Gold Cup will hold no fears for him. Eight winners of the Gold Cup have won aged 8 years old in the past 30 years so he’s a good age.

He’s improving hand over fist but will he be able to mix it with the big three? Well, Kauto Star and Denman will be 11 years old and there hasn’t been an 11 year old winner of the Gold Cup since Mandarin in 1962 (What A Myth won aged 12 in 1969). Last year’s selection Imperial Commander has the best chance of the ‘big three’ but it’s a big ask for him to win two years in a row and he’s now a year older at 10. They’re really doesn’t seem to be anything else in the field that could factor and a lot of those quoted in the betting aren’t certain to run.

In contrast, Neil Mulholland has stated that the Gold Cup is Midnight Chase’s target so all things considered at 25/1 we have a cracking each way bet.

Recommended bet: 1 point ew Midnight Chase 25/1 – Generally – Gold Cup