Cheltenham Gold Cup Form Guide 2013

Gold Cup Form Guide 2013

One of the first big trial races for the Gold Cup is the Charlie Hall Chase and in Silviniaco Conti we look to have an exciting winner. The Paul Nicholls horse extended well at Wetherby to win by some distance and he could well be a Gold Cup contender in the making if he continues his impressive start to the season. He will need to improve to mix it with the big boys but he looks like a three mile chaser to watch if he goes to the Gold Cup.

The Peter Casey trained Flemenstar made his seasonal debut at Navan in the Fortria Chase and he duly hacked up to start the season in fine form. That win was over two miles but he wiped the floor with Big Zeb and connections are convinced he will make up into a Gold cup horse this season. That fact will need to be proved but at this stage Flemenstar could be anything and is one to follow this season.

Silviniaco Conti confirmed his Gold Cup credentials with a win in the Betfair Chase at Haydock ahead of 2011 Gold Cup winner Long Run. The young Paul Nicholls horse jumped really well in testing conditions to see his Cheltenham priced slashed. Long Run stayed on gamely but couldn't really land a blow on the winner on his first start of the season and he will now go to Kempton for King George. Its worth noting that The Giant Bolster ran a decent race in the ground to come in third place and having come second in the Gold Cup last season he will be aimed at the race once again.

The Hennessy Gold cup is always an important race with the Gold Cup in mind and we had a very good winner this season in the form of Bobs Worth. The Nicky Henderson horse won the RSA Chase last season and travelled really well in testing conditions to win ahead of Tidal Bay at Newbury to see his Gold Cup price slashed. It was a fine weight carrying performance, he proved he stayed well on testing conditions and he remains unbeaten going left handed.

The John Durkan Chase is always a top class chase and we had two Gold cup contenders in Sir Des Champs and Flemenstar taking their chances. In the end though we had a brilliant winner of the race as Flemenstar won in some style to mark himself out as a genuine Gold cup candidate for March. Both horse still need to prove themselves over three miles but Flemenstar in particular looks to be a potential superstar for Peter Casey.

The King George Chase has long been a key trial for the Gold Cup as well as being a big race in its own right. We saw Long Run win the race for the second time in three years and he will now go straight to the Gold Cup at Cheltenham. It is fair to say that Long Run made a number of jumping mistakes at Kempton but he stayed on best to wear down Captain Chris on the run in after the last. Captain Chris ran a stormer as he plugged on from the back picking horses off one by one and connections are now keen to test him in the Gold Cup and on this form he could run a big race.

We saw Sir Des Champs and Flemenstar rematch in the Lexus Chase at Leopardstown over Christmas for the first over three miles. Flemenstar looked the best horse all the way but after travelling well he tired after the final fence and was pipped on the line by the fast finishing Tidal Bay. Ruby Walsh gave Tidal Bay a stunning ride to snatch the win while Sir Des Champs also stayed on strong despite jumping mistakes while the same can be said of the game First Lieutenant. Flemenstar remains the interesting horse though as connections ponder his best trip with the Gold Cup, the Ryanair and the Champion Chase all still under consideration.

The Argento Chase at Cheltenham is always an interesting race with one eye on the Gold Cup and we have seen a good winner emerge in the form of Cape Tribulation. The horse won the Pertemps Final last season and he got up in testing conditions to beat Imperial Commander who was having his first run in two years for Nigel Twiston-Davies. The ground was very testing and Cape Tribulation showed he stayed the trip while his pedigree at Cheltenham is second to none making him an interesting each-way prospect.

The Irish Hennessy Gold Cup is always the last big Gold Cup trial in Ireland and we saw a fine win from Sir Des Champs. The Willie Mullins horse set a good pace and Flemenstar was back in second and never able to land a blow. It was an excellent run from Sir Des Champs who we know stays the Gold Cup trip and who has won at the last two Cheltenham Festivals ensuring he goes to the Festival with an outstanding chance.

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