Top-level events are the lifeblood of sports and the UK economy in general. This is especially true when it comes to equestrian-related events. Events, such as the latest Burnham Market International event, showcase all that is good and exciting about this type of occasion.
The Spring’s top horse events look set to take place without spectators. For Eventing fans, missing a trip to Badminton for a second year running will leave a whole May weekend empty, whilst a little earlier, the Cheltenham Festival, the other marquee horse event for the county of Gloucestershire,
is the top festival in UK jump racing and a marker for others to emulate.
The 2021 Cheltenham Festival is due to take place over four days – from Tuesday 16th March to Friday 19th March. While there are many fine races to catch during this period, the Gold Cup is the blue riband event for most people. Who are the leading contenders to look out for in this year’s edition?
One horse that many bookies have as a real contender for this year’s Gold Cup is Delta Work. This horse also shows up on GG.co.uk’s top Cheltenham tips, which is a good sign. GG.co.uk is the leading resource for horse racing news on the web and so any horses it flags up are certainly worth looking into further.
What makes this horse so special though? A quick look back at his racing history answers this, with a 2018 Pertemps Final win and a third in the 2019 RSA Chase to his name. While his recent 2020 form could have been better, his win at Leopardstown in February 2020 shows that he can mix it with the best. He also performed pretty well in the Gold Cup last year. Delta Work is from the yard of trainer Gordon Elliott, who knows what this race is all about and what it takes to win.
Al Boum Photo
Al Boum Photo’s 2019 Gold Cup win was awesome enough, but he then won again in 2020. With a fabled hat-trick up for grabs, this could be the extra motivation that trainer Willie Mullins needs to get him right for the race. It is not just Gold Cup wins that this horse can point to either – he really is a superstar, with three wins to his name in the Savills New Year’s Day Chase also. Mullins certainly looks to have one eye on the Gold Cup with this horse, as he is pretty lightly raced. This includes only two run-outs in 2020 and one race in 2021 so far. The jockey should be top rider Paul Townsend again, and he certainly knows how to win on this horse.
A Plus Tard
As with Al Boum Photo, the road to the Gold Cup has seen this horse pretty lightly raced. He has yet to reappear in 2021 and only raced three times in all of 2020. His most recent Class 1 race at the end of December 2020 saw him emerge victorious, and set him up for a good tilt at the Gold Cup in Cheltenham. Trainer Henry de Bromhead will be delighted at the most recent victory, which means that he now has a top-drawer staying chase on his record. It will be interesting to see if Darragh O’Keeffe, who was on board for December’s triumph, is given the nod to race him again.
This is another horse from the yard of top Irish trainer Henry de Bromhead. With five wins from 11 starts in this type of company, he has the class and nerve to come home in front. 2020 was a decent year for him and saw three wins and one second in five races. The only blot on his copybook was a poor run at Leopardstown last December, which saw him fall. If O’Keeffe is put on board A Plus Tard, then it is likely that we will see Rachael Blackmore riding. If she can keep him focused and use his obvious jumping talents well, then Minella Indo could win out.
2021 Gold Cup will be a stunning event
When you look at the horses and trainers who are involved in this year’s race, it is clear to see that it should be a very exciting affair. With a number of horses in with a shout of winning, it will be sure to keep horse racing fans on the edge of their seats at home bearing in mind they are unlikely to be able to attend.