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Gold Cup 2021: Runners, riders and tips ahead of Cheltenham Festival’s biggest race

It’s Gold Cup Day, the biggest day of the sporting calendar in Cheltenham, and punters are deciding who to bet on ahead of the showpiece race.

Al Boum Photo (9/4) has won the last two for Paul Townend and trainer Willie Mullins, and is favourite to complete a historic treble and become the fifth horse to win the coveted trophy three times, and first since Best Mate in 2004. He won the Group 3 Savills New Year’s Day Chase at Tramore in January by 19 lengths and looks superb.

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His closest challenger is A Plus Tard (10/3), ridden by Rachael Blackmore for trainer Henry de Bromhead. Blackmore has won five races at the Festival thus far, the best of which her Champion Hurdle triumph on Tuesday, becoming the first female jockey to win the race. The horse’s last outing was at Leopardstown in December where he won the Group 1 Savills Chase, beating out Kemble by half a length.

Another hotly tipped pick is Champ (6/1) for Nico de Boinville and trainer Nicky Henderson. The nine-year-old came second 26 days ago at Newbury but has won five hurdle races in his career.

Minella Indo (8/1) and Santini (9/1) post shorter odds than 2018 winner Native River (12/1), but all may be in for an ‘each-way’ punt, with most bookies paying up to five places. The latter won at Sandown a month ago in the Group 2 Virgin Bet Cotswold Chase by 10 lengths and looked impressive.

Royale Pagaille (14/1), Frodon (14/1), Kemboy (16/1) and Lostintranslation (28/1) complete the middle of the pack, with Bryony Frost returning on the second of those, with whom she won the 2019 Ryanair Chase at the Festival and the 2020 King George VI Chase at Kempton Park.

Aso (150/1) and Black Op (150/1) are the two outsiders, as Tom Scudamore rides the latter.


WIN: A Plus Tard – 10/3

It wouldn’t be a surprise to see Al Boum Photo win a third Gold Cup, but I tip Rachael Blackmore to continue her terrific, record breaking festival and become the first female jockey to win Gloucestershire’s most coveted trophy.

EW: Native River (12/1)

A winner in 2018, Native River looked extremely impressive and dominant last time out and will definitely be a shout to finish in the top five, and has seen a shortening of his odds recently.

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