After holding past two winners Cue Card and Menorah off to take the Charlie Hall Chase by less than a length at Wetherby, Rebecca Curtis’ Irish Cavalier is a top price of 33/1 to win the Cheltenham Gold Cup in March, with the market for Prestbury Park’s showpiece feeling some of the tremors.
No horse over nine-years-old has won the 3m1f slog since Grey Abbey in 2004, with the runner-up and third both eclipsing that number, so 8/11 odds about Cue Card always seemed somewhat fanciful.
Colin Tizzard’s stablestar led for much of the business end of the £100k Grade Two under Paddy Brennan, but ultimately finished more than 3l behind the shock 16/1 victor after gradually being reeled in up the straight.
Having fallen three from home when travelling well in last year’s Gold Cup, which he went into as 5/2 second-favourite just behind eventual 9/4 winner Don Cossack, Cue Card is out to 12/1 to finally land the big one in the Cotswolds, after previous Champion Bumper and RSA Chase success.
Tizzard’s Thistlecrack is still out on his own at 4/1 following six wins on the bounce, with a solid seasonal reappearance at Chepstow earlier this month confirming the eight-year-old’s good health.
Paul Nicholls’ See More Business was the last horse to match up the Wetherby prize with Gold Cup success the following March, but considering Irish Cavalier finished fifth last year – admittedly 22l behind the winner – Curtis’ former Cheltenham Festival Handicap Chase winner should get the chance.
Over at Ascot, Racing Post Pricewise supremo Tom Segal’s 16/1 Sodexo Gold Cup tip Antony romped home under Jamie Moore, for father and trainer Gary, by more than 4l at an 11/1 SP.
Nicholls’ 2015 Ladbrokes World Hurdle runner-up Saphir Du Rheu was supposed to make a much better fight of it back in third, and is now 16/1 to win Newbury’s Hennessey Gold Cup next month, where Native River and Avant Tour currently lead the field at 8/1 apiece.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.