What has been abundantly clear in the last few Cheltenham Gold Cups is that to win jump racing’s showpiece event you really need an out-and-out stayer.
In two of the last three renewals, the eventual winner has jumped the last in no higher position than third place, fighting off all-comers in the subsequent final furlong.
A burst of speed is certainly required, but that ability to grind out a tough victory is paramount.
And in Sam Winner, we have an improver that boasts just that, and looks a cracking each-way bet at 33/1 for the Prestbury Park contest.
While in all reality it was difficult to see past the first three in the betting for the Champion Hurdle in our opening antepost challenge round, the Gold Cup offers up a plethora of attractive options at big prices.
Racing Post’s Pricewise may have split his stakes on Holywell and Carlingford Lough, but here at Ladbrokes News we think our selection holds more appeal, especially over the former.
Paul Nicholls’ charge has been a revelation this season, and has proven he can mix it with the best of them.
A win in a decent Grade 3 handicap at Cheltenham over 3m3½f started his campaign in good style, before he saw off a small but select field, including Holywell, at Aintree.
Now, Jonjo O’Neill’s horse departed at the third-last, but was travelling no better than the eventual winner.
Why then, is our selection twice the price?
Sam Winner’s best performance this season probably came in the Lexus Chase at Leopardstown over Christmas.
First off the bridal, he plugged on nicely to hold third ahead of the likes of Lord Windermere, Boston Bob, Bobs Worth and Carlingford Lough.
The race in question…
Now, I’ve seen it written that some of the above horses are simply being ‘primed for the Gold Cup’, hence their below par performances.
But just because a horse is running well and winning, by no means confirms that bigger targets are not the priority, therefore there could be even more to come from Sam Winner in March.
The eight-year-old has yet to win a Grade 1 chase (all of the last 10 victors had done so previously), but with just two attempts yielding encouraging results (the Lexus third and a fifth-placed finish in last year’s RSA Chase), his time could come.
His record at Prestbury Park is not too shabby either, with four wins and a place from 10 visits to the Gloucestershire venue, so won’t be found out, like some horses are, by the track.
In a race where his stablemate is too short to back antepost, there are some attractive alternatives on offer, and Sam Winner is the one we are taking a chance on, with the big race confirmed to be his target.
Pricewise’s picks: Holywell – 14/1 – 1pt win
Carlingford Lough – 20/1 – 1pt win
Ladbrokes News’ pick: Sam Winner – 33/1 – 1pt each-way
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
Agree with us and think Sam Winner is value for the Gold Cup? Follow our each-way pick with your free £25 bet and pick up a 24-carat £540.63 if he scorches up the Cheltenham hill in front!