Kempton’s The King George VI Chase and Leopardstown’s Savills Chase have shaken up the Cheltenham Gold Cup market with the spoils going to two of the new kids on the block, while some old favourites bounced back to form.
Britain dominated last year’s Gold Cup as Native River got his soft ground to lead home Might Bite, who has alarmingly lost his form this season despite initially coming out of that race just fine by winning at Aintree.
Might Bite won’t be winning the race this season now he’s ten and Native River has proven he needs soft ground to get up with the pace and competitive in a Grade 1 chase, yet Native River has at least remained consistent by placing in both starts at the top table this season.
As such there’s real strength to the form with anything that beats him, which Bristol De Mai, Thistlecrack and Clan Des Obeaux have done this season.
Bristol De Mai was back to his unreliable self and looks to struggle when he can’t lead, so he’s of no interest for the big one, while it’s difficult to believe Thistlecrack can improve for the step up in trip and stiffer track of the Gold Cup, so the fact he was beaten makes him unappealing too.
CLAN DES OBEAUX was brilliant in winning and travelled all over Thistlecrack when that horse was flat out, and by beating the 176-rated Native River by 13 1/2 lengths he must be a big player in the Gold Cup.
Native River would surely have closed that gap on a left-handed track on softer ground, but the winner matched all in the jumping department, relished the strong pace and didn’t come off the bridle until after the last so clearly has stamina in abundance so it’s hard to see how placings would reverse the next time they meet.
Jockey Harry Cobden said he idled as soon as he hit the front, and while that makes him a tricky ride, he clearly had loads left in the tank.
He looked like a monster turning for home and brought his form to a whole new level, and with only Waiting Patiently (brought down) and the ageing Coneygree (over-reach) coming out of the race with excuses, I make him the clear best of the British Gold Cup challenge.
On that logic the 10/1 he is for the Gold Cup looks a bit big, as clearly punters and bookmakers want to see him back that up before talking about his chances of being one of the favourites.
We now know he likes soft ground as well as the sound surface he just won on, and as he’s only turning seven in 2019, the staying chasing division is there for the taking now he’s dismissed last season’s Gold Cup field.
The only obvious dangers are in Ireland, where RSA Chase winner Presenting Percy is yet to be seen this season and fellow new kid on the block Kemboy has thrown his hat in the ring by blitzing the Savills Chase in fine style.
Kemboy looks good – really good – and I can’t knock his revised price of 8/1 for the Gold Cup either, but I can question whether his sound beating of Monalee and Road To Riches, who stumbled badly on the flat before the second-last, is better form than the King George.
Presenting Percy gave Monalee a good beating in the RSA, so his form looks very solid too, but it’s certainly wide open and I suspect the King George form has been underestimated by the market.
1pt ante-post win Clan Des Obeaux to win the Gold Cup at 10/1Leave a comment