The 2011 Cheltenham Gold Cup was billed as a triumvirate battle between the last three winners, but recent developments suggest this could be the most competitive running in recent years.
Long Run’s impressive display in the King George VI Chase last Saturday has seen a huge loss of market confidence behind dual Gold Cup winner Kauto Star who is out to 8/1 from 5/1, and Long Run (5/1) is now seen as the pretender to the throne.
However there are question marks surrounding the top four in the Gold Cup betting and the longer-priced horses now offer the punters the most value in the market.
Imperial Commander is the defending champion and the 4/1 ante post favourite in the 2011 Cheltenham Gold Cup betting.
But the only horses to have ever won consecutive Gold Cups are Easter Hero, Golden Miller, Cottage Rake, Arkle, L’Escargot and Best Mate and Imperial Commander, with just four wins in 10 starts, is not in the same league as any of these greats.
Kauto Star’s age, and notably his first real signs of ill-health that have emanated following his King George defeat, has seen all his market confidence disappear and that is a huge negative for the dual winner.
Long Run would become the first 6-year-old to win the Gold Cup since Mill House in 1963, and while only three have tried since, the statistics are against the rising star taking the title.
And so to Denman (6/1), the mercurial talent who is yet to repeat that incredible display of speed and stamina that won him the 2008 Gold Cup in eight starts, and has never looked like doing so.
18 of the 82 winners have been 10/1 or bigger when winning and Pandorama (12/1), Midnight Chase (16/1) and What A Friend (33/1), are all worth exploring as potential Gold Cup winners.
A £25 stake on What A Friend winning would return £850. New customers can sign up here for a free £25 bet.