Cheltenham Gold Cup ante-post betting: Indo the forgotten man?

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At the time of writing there isn’t an excess of meat on the Cheltenham Gold Cup betting bone for ante-post players, but that just makes the 16/1 on offer about Minella Indo stick out all the more.

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1 year ago

Henry de Bromhead’s charge may be approaching veteran status but he boasts an impeccable Festival resumé, is a guaranteed stayer and might just be enjoying his smoothest build up to the race yet – a combination few of those above him in the betting can match.

Cheltenham Gold Cup 2023 Odds

*Correct at time of publishing
· Galopin Des Champs – 13/8
· A Plus Tard – 7/1
· Noble Yeats – 7/1
· Bravemansgame – 8/1
· Protektorat – 8/1
· Stattler – 8/1
· Conflated – 12/1
· Minella Indo – 16/1
· Hewick – 22/1
· 25/1 bar

Minella Indo’s Gold Cup credentials

The Gold Cup is a uniquely challenging test that finds many, many talented horses wanting.

Those that have the class to jump consistently at an elite-level Grade 1 clip may lack the staying power to last out the stamina-sapping 3m2f and uphill finish. Those with the stamina for the task often find their fencing falls apart at the remorseless tempo.

Minella Indo has finished first and second in the last two Gold Cups so there’s no doubting he has proven himself equal to the challenges of the race on both fronts.
On top of that his overall Festival record reads 1-2-1-2 after winning the Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle in 2019 and finishing an agonising second in the RSA Novices’ Chase in 2020.

In better form than he was for his last two Gold Cups

Allied to Minella Indo’s enviable Festival and Gold Cup record, he has proven himself in good form this season. It may be argued that he appears to be in better form than in the build-up to either of the last two Gold Cups.

In 2021, the gelding fell at Leopardstown over Christmas, then finished more than six lengths adrift in the Irish Gold Cup in February en route to Festival glory. A year later he was well beaten in the King George and the Irish Gold Cup before claiming his Festival silver medal.

This season he bested Stattler by a neck to win the Savills New Year’s Day Chase at Tramore on his first start of the campaign and may head straight to the Gold Cup off the back of that success. The same route to the Festival was taken by Al Boum Photo for both of his Gold Cup wins.

For a horse that invariably finds his best form in spring it was a highly promising performance to beat a rival that remains seven points shorter than him in the betting for the Festival showpiece.

Credentials few of his rivals can match

Of the horses above Minella Indo in the current Cheltenham Gold Cup odds, only A Plus Tard (1-3-2-1) can boast similarly deep Festival form.

However, de Bromhead’s other star stayer has plenty to prove after his tame surrender in the Betfair Chase – a race he was expected to win by a wide margin.

Galopin Des Champs looks like a star in the making, but as yet he has only one Festival success (in a handicap) to his name, for all he was looking certain to win when falling at the final fence in last year’s Turners Novices’ Chase.

The 6/4 Gold Cup favourite has also yet to face open company Grade 1 opponents over a trip in excess of 2m5f. King George winner Bravemansgame is another for whom the extra distance of the Gold Cup trip may well prove a step too far.

Meanwhile, Protektorat and Noble Yeats are others who have yet to prove themselves capable of winning in elite, open Grade 1 company.

The former landed a Betfair Chase diluted in the extreme by the sub-par showing of A Plus Tard, while the latter has never contested a Grade 1 chase and finished 10th in the Ultima Handicap Chase at last year’s Festival.