Analysing the Cheltenham Gold Cup Favourites  The annual Cheltenham Festival is undoubtedly one of the key dates on the UK horseracing calendar. It attracts racing and betting fans in their thousands each year and those with an interest in the event often include royalty.

This year’s festival is scheduled to be held between the 14th and 17th of March and it will feature all of the usual celebrated races. They include the Queen Mother Champion Chase, the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle and the Turners Novices’ Chase.

Each of them contributes to the increasing global interest in the event. For all that though, it is the Gold Cup that represents the pinnacle of the Cheltenham Festival.

Popularity of the Cheltenham Festival

In recent times, this festival has been assuming an ever-higher place in the rankings of UK horseracing events. Arguably the biggest reason for that is just how action-packed it is.

With a championship race taking place every day, alongside six other supporting ones, there is no time for either the competitors or the punters to catch their breath. Furthermore, as top trainers and jockeys have flocked to Cheltenham to compete in the races, the worldwide enthusiasm for it has understandably grown.

The Gold Cup is the final championship race and is the most prestigious of them all. This is the one that every jockey and trainer particularly wants to win and also the race that attracts the most betting interest.

That will be the case again in 2023 and it means that anyone thinking of placing a bet will want to know which horses are ranked as favourites for the Cheltenham Gold Cup.

Galopin Des Champs

The current favourite for the race among the bookmakers is Galopin Des Champs, with odds of 13/8. He is trained by Willie Mullins, one of the top trainers in the business right now and the seven-year-old heads to Cheltenham in great form.

He won the John Durkan Memorial Chase at the end of last year and followed that up with an Irish Gold Cup triumph last month. That win by eight lengths suggests he has the stamina needed for the Cheltenham Gold Cup, even factoring in the additional two furlongs on that course.

Galopin Des Champs is looking for his first Gold Cup win at Cheltenham, but did come close to claiming victory in the Turners last year, only to fall at the final hurdle.

Noble Yeats

This eight-year-old horse has risen to become second favourite, at 8/1, and it is not hard to understand why. In just his second season he came from nowhere to beat the fancied Any Second Now at last year’s Grand National.

Going into the race with odds of 50/1, he levelled with the favourite near the end before pulling clear to win by 2 ¼ lengths. That has inevitably increased the interest in him and it will be the same man in the saddle – Sam Waley-Cohen – at Cheltenham.

He is confident that the Emmet Mullins-trained thoroughbred is even better now than he was at Aintree, and winning a first Gold Cup would cap a remarkable year.

A Plus Tard

The next horse to be considered a serious bet for this year’s Gold Cup is A Plus Tard. Trained by Henry De Bromhead, this horse is one of the few non-Irish contenders for 2023.

We certainly know he is capable of it, as he won the Gold Cup at last year’s event. Ridden by Rachael Blackmore, the French thoroughbred finished a remarkable 15 lengths ahead of the rest of the field in the 2022 Gold Cup.

Blackmore will be riding him again this year for the Cheveley Park stable and they have odds of 7/1 at the moment to repeat the triumph. It has not been a great season for him this time though, with his only race being the Betfair Chase last November, where he was pulled up.

It remains to be seen whether Blackmore can pull another top performance out of him at Cheltenham.

Minella Indo

Another previous Gold Cup winner is the 20/1 rated Minella Indo. The main reason why the 2021 champ is not rated higher by bookies is that he has not hit those levels since.

He is another Henry De Bromhead horse and is definitely less fancied than A Plus Tard. There are pundits who think he is an under-the-radar contender though, arguing that his season is built around the Gold Cup.

Outside of these four horses, there are Stattler and Shiskin, at 8/1 and 12/1. The former may have the lower odds, but it is the latter horse that caught the eye at the recent Ascot Chase.

Galopin Des Champs is odds-on favourite for a first Gold Cup, but any of these horses could win.

Looking Back At 3 Most Memorable Grand National Moments Of All Time  The Grand National tournament is arguably the most exciting horse race in the annual racing calendar. The fence presents a bigger challenge than other races in the UK, and the distances pose an endurance test to even tough horses.

For horse racing punters, the Grand National 888Sport offers the best odds from this April event. Besides the exciting betting opportunities the tournament presents, it offers some amazing moments worth watching. Here are the three most memorable Grand National moments in history.

The Fall of Devon Loch

The 1956 Grand National went down in history books as one of the most memorable horse racing moments of all time. Devon Loch was in the blink of winning this prestigious race but failed in the end. Riding the Queen Mother’s horse, Devon Loch fell and landed on his belly only a few yards to the winning post on the last final straight.

While Dick Francis attempted to cajole the horse, Loch could not finish the race. Much to the anguish of the hopeful jockey, ESB claimed the prize. The Queen Mother said that’s the nature of racing after the disappointment, although many theories floated around in an attempt to understand Lock’s strange behavior that day. However, nobody truly knows why the horse reacted that way at the Aintree racecourse.

Foinavon’s victory

How many racehorses can boast of claiming a historic win as they were the slowest in every competition of the day? Probably none, but Foinavon. The Irish racehorse won the 1967 Grand National despite being the outright underdog with pre-race odds of 100/1. In fact, both the horse owner and trainer weren’t in the stands during the race day.

Under normal circumstances, Foinavon stood no chance of winning, but this Grand National event yielded an unusual incident that gave him an excellent chance. Popham Down veered to his right during the 23rd fence and caused a huge pile-up, and most horses in the race were pulled down by it.

Being the slowest in the race, Foinavon could easily evade the chaos since he was lagging a little behind the others. He soon established a solid 309-lengtgh lead with only six fences left in the race. Many horses tried to make a comeback in the race, but that was in vain. Foinavon easily rode through the winning post with a huge margin.

Red Rum shocks everyone.

Red Rum is among the greatest names in UK’s horse racing history. Although he didn’t have a great start, trainer Ginger McCain believed in his ability and started training the horse on the sand. However, his first major victory was recorded in 1973 during the Grand National.

This win was quite memorable as his arch-rival, Crisp, led the race all the way and even took charge at one point with a whopping 30 lengths. By the last fence, Crisp was 15 lengths ahead of Red Rum. However, Red Rum didn’t give up. Instead, he came with a thundering speed, making up the difference during the final stretch.

The Ginger McCain-trained racer managed to outrank Crisp by ¾ of a length. The race is often considered among Grand National history’s closest and most exciting victory.

No horse put more distance between themselves and their rivals at the Cheltenham Festival come the finish line this year than Appreciate It.

He gave the premier National Hunt horse racing meeting’s winningest handler and multiple Irish champion jumps trainer Willie Mullins a seventh success in its opening race, which also opened the floodgates for the Emerald Isle. The tide swept almost all British horses away and powerful domestic stables like those of Ditcheat maestro Paul Nicholls and Dan Skelton went without any victories.

This trend continued into the Grand National meeting and in the world’s most famous steeplechase itself. Each of the first five home in the Aintree showpiece, and all but three of 15 finishers were trained in Ireland.

Besides being the winner of the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival day 1, Appreciate It landed two Grade 1 races at Leopardstown on his side of the Irish Sea earlier in the season. Whatever happens at Punchestown at the end of the campaign, this is a seemingly seriously smart horse on paper based on his results going forward.

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A modern record margin of 24 lengths for Supreme success, if taken literally, suggests Appreciate It is a horse with the world at his feet. Closer scrutiny of his form may give a different impression, however. Appreciate It was sent off odds-on for three of his first four hurdles starts, so the market thought there wasn’t much in the way of opposition.

The two-mile novice hurdle division has been particularly weak this jumps season, then. Repeat victories over previous Grade 1 winner Ballyadam showed the superiority of Appreciate It, but there was a big chance for his rival to advertise that form when stepped up in trip at Aintree.


What happened instead was Ballyadam flopped, further denting the value of the Supreme. Appreciate It faced the smallest field in the race’s history with just seven rivals in total. The third home, For Pleasure, is a keen sort who also bombed out during the Grand National Festival.

There was also a final flight faller, Appreciate It’s stable companion Blue Lord, in the Supreme which may mean his comprehensive victory flatters him slightly. Nonetheless, bookmakers make him the early favourite for next year’s Arkle over fences. He is also prominent in the betting on the Marsh Novices’ Chase and could do no more than beat the horses put up against him.

Wins in an Irish point-to-point and in various National Hunt Flat races, plus second in the Champion Bumper, earlier in his career mean Appreciate It is clearly quite a versatile horse. Some of his prospective Arkle rivals could certainly be campaigned over longer trips if switching to fences, and you could also say the same about him.

Mullins initially had novice chasing in mind for Appreciate It long-term. Whether his exploits over the smaller obstacles could force his master trainer into a rethink and tilt at the Champion Hurdle next season remains to be seen. If tackling the Cheltenham Festival opening day feature, Appreciate It may end up against the formidable and currently unbeaten Henry De Bromhead trained mare Honeysuckle sooner or later.

Before this year, Irish trainer Henry de Bromhead was arguably best known for his successes with Sizing Europe. With a victory in the 2010 Arkle Challenge Trophy, he was the horse that landed the 48-year-old his maiden Cheltenham Festival triumph, and he followed that up with a win in the Queen Mother Champion Chase back at Prestbury Park in 2011.

From there, wins were few and far between for de Bromhead at Cheltenham, especially in the big outings with only Special Tiara winning a feature race, the 2017 Champion Chase, in the decade between 2011 and 2021. However, this year, the County Waterford-based trainer has taken the sport by storm and in the last couple of months alone, he has made history on numerous occasions.

That includes becoming the first trainer to win National Hunt racing’s big four races in the same year. So, without further ado, lets take a look at his historic quadruple.

Cheltenham Champion Hurdle – Honeysuckle

Given that Honeysuckle went into the Champion Hurdle, day one’s feature race, unbeaten in 10 races, it’s no surprise that the mare was heavily backed on the online sports betting sites, and she duly delivered for de Bromhead. With fellow history maker Rachael Blackmore in the saddle, Honeysuckle went on to beat Willie Mullins-trained Sharjah by over six lengths with defending champion Epatante lagging some nine-and-a-half lengths behind in third.

Queen Mother Champion Chase – Put The Kettle On

Despite boasting over 70 wins at the Festival, Mullins is yet to win the Champion Chase. Odds-on favourite Chacun Pour Soi (8/13) was expected to end that drought this year. However, Aidan Coleman and Put The Kettle On had other ideas. It was an extremely tight race and the drama heightened with several horses in contention as they raced up the home straight. In the end, it was Put The Kettle On, who set off at 17/2, who landed a narrow victory, beating Nube Negra over the line by just half a length. The market leader was just a further length behind.

Cheltenham Gold Cup – Minella Indo

Given de Bromhead’s and Blackmore’s week in the build-up to the Gold Cup, it seemed if anyone was going to deny Al Boum Photo an historic third successive victory in the showpiece race it would be A Plus Tard. However, it was the trainer’s much less fancied entry Minella Indo who prevailed. Blackmore is the horse’s regular rider, but with the 31-year-old opting to ride A Plus Tard, Jack Kennedy was sworn in for the race, and the 21-year-old guided the 9/1 shot over the line a length-and-a-quarter clear of Blackmore. On top of the impressive 1-2 in the Gold Cup, de Bromhead became the first trainer to win the three races in the same year at the Festival.

The Grand National – Minella Times

Just when you thought a 1-2 in the Gold Cup couldn’t be topped, de Bromhead landed the same feat in the recent Grand National. Minella Times lined up for starter’s orders amongst the front runners at around 9/1, and the whole nation would have been on their feet cheering as Blackmore and the eight-year-old romped over the line, as she became the first female jockey to win the prestigious race in the process. Behind her was fellow de Bromhead-trained horse Balko Des Flos (100/1) and jockey Coleman.

“It’s just brilliant, a lot’s down to Rachael and she was just brilliant on him today,” de Bromhead said afterwards. “She hardly left the rail, she was just brilliant on him and it’s brilliant to get it for the McManus family. I’m over the moon. And Balko Des Flos was brilliant as well.”