2021 Cheltenham Gold Cup | Ante-Post Tips
Last Autumn, the staying chase division was identified by many as the hottest zone in National Hunt racing. An exciting crop of novice chasers made the step out of novice company and as it transpired, the majority of them soon became house hold names. Given the quality and competition on show throughout the calendar, I personally rank Al Boum Photo’s second Gold Cup win higher than 2019.
The average progression for a high class second season chaser tends to be in the region of 8Ibs. Last year’s RSA second Santini, improved 10Ibs to 173 this season, with last year’s Marsh Chase second Lostintranslation, rising 11Ibs to an official mark of 172. A second and third respectively in this year’s Gold Cup supports the above theory.
When assessing the form going forward, it should be mentioned the duo both suffered interrupted campaigns, with both undergoing wind surgery mid season. Although they will both be nine next term, the scope for improvement is plentiful.
After analyzing the 2021 Cheltenham Gold Cup market, my first selection will be TOPOFTHEGAME (20/1), who has already been pointed out by some respected judges when 33/1. In my book, he’s still over priced and represents the most value in the current market.
Forgot his RSA victory? Knowing how the form has panned out, we can give this an upgrade with Santini, Delta Work and Defi Du Seuil landing an impressive six group wins between them this season.
Unfortunately, the Flemensfirth gelding missed the season due to a tendon strain, which as injurys go, is minor. It was encouraging to see Paul Nicholls reporting good health this week, and if anyone saw the picture of Topofthegame when pulled out, he looks a monster. At 17 hands tall, physically the break could prove beneficial. We learnt with the likes of Don Cossack, who won his Gold Cup aged 9, large framed individuals need more time to mature.
Lightly raced with only four chase starts under his belt, Topofthegame could shorten significantly if returning to victory off 164 in the Ladbrokes Trophy. Nicholls has suggested Newbury will be the early season target before routing towards the Cheltenham Gold Cup.
Should he run well without winning, you shouldn’t give up hope. This horse has plenty of the right attributes to become a champion.
Topofthegame (20/1) – Cheltenham Gold Cup 2021 (3pt win)
We already spoke about LOSTINTRANSLATION (16/1) earlier in the piece and he also represents solid value in the 2021 Gold Cup market. I’d encourage all to keep the faith with Colin Tizzard’s 8yo going into next season.
The Tizzard stable form was mentioned by plenty last month, but more significant for Lostintranslation was his huge run despite an interrupted prep. Watching the re-run, the Flemensfirth gelding travels like the best horse throughout and probably ran a touch free which may have cost him his chance of winning.
Beaten one and a half lengths by Al Boum Photo was no disgrace, but some may argue the slow run affair should’ve played to his strengths, given his unproven record over 3m 2f. I’d be of the complete opposite view.
Going a stride quicker, his scholar jumping and tactical speed could have played a bigger part than it did. Would a quicker gallop have forced an Al Boum Photo jumping error? Would Santini have been on the television turning for home? The margins were tiny and pace plays such an important factor. I bet we haven’t seen the very best of Lostintranslation.
Lostintranslation (16/1) – Cheltenham Gold Cup 2021 (1pt win)
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By Barry Doyle 11/04/2020