There is a Weird feeling about the Cheltenham Gold Cup this time around. It may be time to look beyond the front two in the betting. The Kauto Star and Long Run show could be gatecrashed. We are in danger of falling into the trap so often set by media hype and voluntary short-sightedness. With a dim-witted racing press, the simple job is to call the race a match and hope the misnomer captures imaginations beyond the hard-nosed racing fan.
Long Run has looked far from impressive this year, not least last time when scraping home from Burton Port at Newbury. Time may tell that giving 10lb and a beating to that rival was a magnificent performance. At this stage, I doubt it. It was the first time Long Run had got his head in front this year, having chased home Kauto Star the previous twice. One positive for last year’s Gold Cup winner was his jumping did look better this time. Maybe the niggle he must have been carrying has eased.
Personally I can not accept that a 12-year-old will win the Gold Cup. Hang on a minute, that would rule Kauto Star out. Well there is no doubt Paul Nicholls’ charge is better this year than last, or could Long Run be below par and forever flattering his old foe?
Either way, I want to look for something at each-way odds in the Cheltenham betting to beat both the front two. Synchronised‘s defeat of Rubi Light looks, on face value, far and away better than anything he has produced before. He has possibly improved markedly or it was a flash in the pan.
Another with mighty claims is the novice chaser Grand Crus. If he takes his chance, and it must be mighty tempting to let him do just that, then nobody could be berated for a wager on David Pipe’s formerly top class staying hurdler.
However, my two pennies worth will go each-way on WEIRD AL. If you were bored senseless by the previous post making a case for a Donald McCain horse in the Champion Hurdle, then you may think the record is stuck on this site. But trainer McCain is taking Cheltenham mighty seriously and Weird Al has been saved for the Gold Cup and nothing else. He needs to improve to win, but that is precisely what I think he can do.
Long Run and Kauto Star have done more mileage than my old Skoda. McCain’s Weird one has only had 10 outings. That’s amazing for a nine year old chaser. Other positives are that he is on a steep upward curve. Every run has bettered the preceding one. McCain only got the horse this season, from a good trainer in Ian Williams. But McCain is different gravy. As I write this dialogue, which will no doubt turn out to have got the wrong end of the stick, Weird Al is best priced 20/1 in the Cheltenham Gold Cup Betting. That is well worth a bit each-way. In addition I am going to each-way double the stablemates: Weird Al (20/1) for the Gold Cup and Overturn (33/1) in the Champion Hurdle. If that comes in shed a tear for the old Skoda, who will be swimming with fishes.
As you can see by the date of this post, there is so much that can happen between now and then. But if everything goes to plan 20/1 will be looking good about Weird Al by the race and even better by the end of the day.
One thought, before you rush off and fill your boots with my expert advice, with Cheltenham around the corner, why not avail yourself of some free bets from the bookmakers on the world’s greatest jumping festival.