Cheltenham Gold Cup 2022 Guide

Andy Smith | @AndySmithRacing

Cheltenham - March 18 2022
Cheltenham 15:30
2
Rachael Blackmore

A Plus Tard

J: Rachael Blackmore
T: Henry De Bromhead
N/A
Age: 8
Weight: 11-10
OR: 172
Days: 80

Starting life over in France, A Plus Tard went chasing immediately after having joined Henry De Bromhead.

A great first season over fences saw him beat Arkle winner Duc Des Genievres before winning the Listed handicap chase at the festival in 2019.

Experimenting in trip saw him come 3rd over 3 miles before beating Chacun Pour Soi over 2 miles. He’s since found his niche in staying chases.

Coming from the clouds to win the 2020 Savilles chase, he got there in the nick of time to deny Kemboy.

This teed him up for a brilliant 2nd in this race last year, just being outstayed by stablemate Minella Indo. This season has been much the same.

Winning the Betfair Chase by a mammoth 22 lengths, he was then just collared late by a late challenge from Galvin at Leopardstown over Christmas.

He looks to go one better than last year’s 2nd.

DateCourseDistanceTypeWeightPosition
18/03/22CHL26.5GS11-101
28/12/21LEO24Y11-122
20/11/21HAY25.5GS11-71
19/03/21CHL26.5GS11-102
28/12/20LEO24Y11-121
Cheltenham - March 18 2022
Cheltenham 15:30
10
Nick Scholfield

Santini

J: Nick Scholfield
T: Polly Gundry
N/A
Age: 10
Weight: 11-10
OR: 153
Days: 48

He looked to be Nicky Henderson’s Gold Cup hopeful for a few seasons but his attitude and jumping stopped him achieving what he could have.

A lazy racer, Santini graduated from novice hurdles with a Grade 1 win before tackling fences. A close 2nd in the 2019 RSA made him look a real prospect for the Gold Cup and he scalped Bristol De Mai in the 2020 Cotswolds Chase to then be a neck 2nd in the Gold Cup.

The wheels have fallen off since. He simply fell out of love with the game and failed to complete in last years’ Gold Cup putting in a round of sketchy jumps.

Beaten by Chantry House in the Cotswolds Chase this year, he’s already a big price to get involved.

DateCourseDistanceTypeWeightPosition
09/04/22AIN34.5GS11-24
18/03/22CHL26.5GS11-108
29/01/22CHL25.5Gd11-22
10/12/21CHL26GS11-124
19/03/21CHL26.5GS11-10PU
Cheltenham - March 18 2022
Cheltenham 15:30
1
Paul Townend

Al Boum Photo

J: Paul Townend
T: W P Mullins
N/A
Age: 10
Weight: 11-10
OR: 170
Days: 76

A two time gold cup hero, Al Boum Photo looked to make it a three timer last year but found himself vulnerable to the younger legs of A Plus Tard and Minella Indo.

Now 10 years old his age is probably against him but Willie Mullins has kept him very lightly raced over the years, having seemingly found the right formula to win the Gold Cup with him.

As usual he followed the route of winning a grade 3 at Tramore on New Year’s Day over 21 furlongs before coming to the festival nice and fresh.

He looks like he’ll have to concede to the younger horses again but could hit the frame with another bold performance.

DateCourseDistanceTypeWeightPosition
27/04/22PUN24Gd/Y11-103
18/03/22CHL26.5GS11-106
01/01/22TRM22Sft/Hy11-101
28/04/21PUN24.5Y11-122
19/03/21CHL26.5GS11-103
Cheltenham - March 18 2022
Cheltenham 15:30
4
Callum Bewley

Aye Right

J: Callum Bewley
T: Harriet Graham & Gary Rutherford
N/A
Age: 9
Weight: 11-10
OR: 158
Days: 48

A brilliant staying handicap chaser, Aye Right has had his sights aimed high for this year’s festival and finds himself the outsider in the Gold Cup betting.

His form in Listed and Grade 3 handicaps has been solid over the years and he captured this year's Rehearsal Chase beating Rowland Meyrick winner Good Boy Bobby.

He has dipped his toe in Grade 2 company before but found himself unable to live with Cyrname.

Last seen being beaten by Chantry House in the Cotswolds chase, the form doesn’t look strong and he has a mountain to climb to get involved.

DateCourseDistanceTypeWeightPosition
22/10/22KEL26GS11-122
18/03/22CHL26.5GS11-109
29/01/22CHL25.5Gd11-63
27/11/21NCS23.5GS11-51
03/10/21KEL17Gd11-55
Cheltenham - March 18 2022
Cheltenham 15:30
9
Charlie Deutsch

Royale Pagaille

J: Charlie Deutsch
T: Venetia Williams
N/A
Age: 8
Weight: 11-10
OR: 166
Days: 34

Venetia Williams’ 8 year old came to this race last year as a novice with a massive reputation.

A brace of handicap wins saw him win the Peter Marsh at Haydock without breaking sweat. This saw him tackle the Gold Cup but it was a big task for the novice and he wilted back into 6th place.

Unable to live with A Plus Tard in the Betfair chase on seasonal debut, he won another Peter Marsh carrying top weight again before not being able to reel in Eldorado Allen in the Denman Chase at Newbury.

His form maybe flatters to deceive and he looks to need at least genuine soft ground to be effective.

DateCourseDistanceTypeWeightPosition
07/04/22AIN25GS11-75
18/03/22CHL26.5GS11-105
12/02/22NBY23.5GS11-62
22/01/22HAY25.5Sft11-101
20/11/21HAY25.5GS11-72
Cheltenham - March 18 2022
Cheltenham 15:30
11
Danny Mullins

Tornado Flyer

J: Danny Mullins
T: W P Mullins
N/A
Age: 9
Weight: 11-10
OR: 167
Days: 82

Mullins’ second string seemingly, 9 year old Tornado Flyer has had a relatively quiet career.

A Grade 1 winner in a bumper, Tornado Flyer failed to hit the same heights over hurdles but did run well to be 4th in a Grade 1 at the Punchestown festival. Immediately taken chasing off the back of that he managed to win a grade 3 novice event but suffered a barren spell after that.

Often running well in defeat, he placed in a John Durkan behind Min narrowly and came 3rd in last year’s Ryanair.

However, he finally had his day in the sun when springing a surprise and winning the King George by a wide margin at a big price at the end of last year.

He’s got stamina to prove in a Gold Cup but wasn’t stopping at the line at Kempton.

DateCourseDistanceTypeWeightPosition
21/05/22AUT25.5VSft10-107
27/04/22PUN24Gd/Y11-107
18/03/22CHL26.5GS11-10PU
26/12/21KEM24Sft11-101
05/12/21PUN20.5Y/Sft11-125
Cheltenham - March 18 2022
Cheltenham 15:30
3
B J Cooper

Asterion Forlonge

J: B J Cooper
T: W P Mullins
N/A
Age: 8
Weight: 11-10
OR: 164
Days: 41

The last of the Mullins battalion. Astern Forlonge has been an incredibly hard horse to follow over the years.

Favourite for the 2020 Supreme, he cannonballed around Cheltenham jumping right and caused havoc, eventually finishing 4th.

Taken chasing after that has yielded mixed success.

A string of falls made him hard to trust but he did run well to be 3rd in the Marsh last year and won a novice handicap chase to round out the season.

This year he’s been up to his old tricks. Travelling well in the John Durkan he unseated late.

Coming through to be a good 2nd in the King George he pitched at the last and came crumbling down. Favourite for the Irish Gold cup he finished a weak 4th.

Stamina to prove and questionable jumping.

DateCourseDistanceTypeWeightPosition
18/03/22CHL26.5GS11-107
05/02/22LEO24.5Y11-104
26/12/21KEM24Sft11-10F
05/12/21PUN20.5Y/Sft11-12UR
30/04/21PUN21Y11-101
Cheltenham - March 18 2022
Cheltenham 15:30
7
Robbie Power

Minella Indo

J: Robbie Power
T: Henry De Bromhead
N/A
Age: 9
Weight: 11-10
OR: 174
Days: 41

The reigning champion for Henry De Bromhead, Minella Indo has always been a strong staying prospect having won the Albert Bartlett in 2019.

He took to fences well and looked to have the RSA in his grasp after a war with Allaho until Champ gathered ahead of steam to catch him up the hill.

He tends to peak in the spring. A few poor runs saw him go off 9/1 for the Gold Cup last year but he climbed the hill powerfully to beat A Plus Tard.

This season again has seen him slightly below par but follow a similar pattern to last season. Coming 2nd in the Irish gold cup is probably the perfect prep for him and he’s always put his best foot forward here at Cheltenham.

Seemingly the stable second string however.

DateCourseDistanceTypeWeightPosition
27/04/22PUN24Gd/Y11-10PU
18/03/22CHL26.5GS11-102
05/02/22LEO24.5Y11-102
26/12/21KEM24Sft11-10PU
30/10/21DRO24Sft11-123
Cheltenham - March 18 2022
Cheltenham 15:30
5
Nico de Boinville

Chantry House

J: Nico de Boinville
T: Nicky Henderson
N/A
Age: 8
Weight: 11-10
OR: 160
Days: 48

A winning machine for Nicky Henderson, he has somehow found himself gifted some good races or has been expertly placed by his trainer.

A decent enough novice hurdler, he came 3rd in the 2020 Supreme. Chasing soon on the agenda, he acclimatised to fences well and won at the first time of asking.

He rounded out his novice chase season with a brace of Grade 1 wins, maybe getting lucky Envoi Allen fell in the Marsh last year and similarly when Espoir De Romay crashed out at Aintree.

Winning a 2 runner listed event on comeback this season, he was sent off favourite for the King George but failed to complete.

Last seen winning a weak renewal of the Cotswolds chase, he looked out on his feet up the hill.

Stamina and quality to prove, he might not get his usual rub of the green.

DateCourseDistanceTypeWeightPosition
18/03/22CHL26.5GS11-10PU
29/01/22CHL25.5Gd11-61
26/12/21KEM24Sft11-10PU
07/11/21SAN24GS11-81
09/04/21AIN25GS11-41
Cheltenham - March 18 2022
Cheltenham 15:30
6
Davy Russell

Galvin

J: Davy Russell
T: Gordon Elliott
N/A
Age: 8
Weight: 11-10
OR: 168
Days: 80

He has taken to fences brilliantly well and has had his potential truly unlocked over the bigger obstacles by stepping up to staying trips.

Unable to win in his first season as a chaser, he found success as a second season novice which culminated in him winning the National Hunt Chase last season.

This season saw him come back with a close fought Grade 3 win before a narrow defeat to Frodon in the Ladbrokes Champion Chase.

However he bounced right back to form when winning the Savilles chase at Leopardstown over Christmas. Using his staying power to come home late and collar A Plus Tard late on.

He’s got tremendous form this season and stays well. The Gold Cup looks tailor made for him.

DateCourseDistanceTypeWeightPosition
12/10/22PUN24Gd11-121
27/04/22PUN24Gd/Y11-106
18/03/22CHL26.5GS11-104
28/12/21LEO24Y11-121
30/10/21DRO24Sft11-122
Cheltenham - March 18 2022
Cheltenham 15:30
8
Harry Skelton

Protektorat

J: Harry Skelton
T: Dan Skelton
N/A
Age: 7
Weight: 11-10
OR: 164
Days: 104

Dan Skelton mainly campaigned this 7 year old over intermediate trips during his career.

His time over hurdles saw him taste listed success over 2.5 miles before a mid pack finish in the 2019 Coral Cup.

Going chasing he won at the first time of asking over 2 miles before stepping up in trip and winning here at Cheltenham.

He tried 3 miles last season but was overturned at short odds before a blinding display to win the Manifesto chase at Aintree well.

This season saw him return in handicap company over an inadequate 2.5 miles before an absolute demolition job over 3 miles in the Many Clouds Chase.

Given time off since then to keep him fresh, he looks a good staying prospect for the Skeltons.

DateCourseDistanceTypeWeightPosition
07/04/22AIN25GS11-74
18/03/22CHL26.5GS11-103
04/12/21AIN25Sft11-31
13/11/21CHL20Gd11-122
08/04/21AIN20GS11-41

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