This years Festival feature race looks wide open. There is no real outstanding candidate in the race. Or is there? Normally, Silviniaco Conti would be a red hot favourite in anyone’s book. He has the best form this season, and clearly is the number one chaser around at the moment. His Kempton King George success is the standout piece of form – undoubtedly. Trainer Paul Nicholls insists that all past problems have been solved and therefore he won’t falter again the way he did in last years Gold Cup after jumping the last, when he actually looked the sure winner. I’m not convinced, however To my eyes he simply looks a horse tailor-made for flat tracks, like Kempton and Aintree. For that reason I oppose him today.
There are plenty of new kids on the block. Novice Coneygree is a super exciting prospect. I really like him. He gets his ground with the rain arriving. But he’s a novice. That is not an easy task today. Road To Riches and Many Clouds are the improvers. There is no reason why they shouldn’t be competitive. Carlingford Lough also falls into this category and I like his profile. But the more rain’s falling, the more his chances are faltering. Willie Mullins’ best chance is rising star Djakadam. Another progressive sort, but he is a very short price in this competitive race given his form.
Holywell is tipped by many to give AP McCoy the perfect farewell gift. He has been improving throughout the season and looks primed for a big run. He loves it around Cheltenham and stays. Surely it would be lovely to see him winning. But is he good enough? I remain a doubter.
What about the old brigade? Bob’s Worth, a former Gold Cup winner. Hard to trust these days with lack of recent form. Last years winner Lord Windermere hasn’t shown much this year either. Though an improved effort in the Hennessy may bring him nicely along. He’s trained with only this one race in mind. But the 2014 renewal was a strange race. I don’t trust the form.
Boston Bob and On His Own, two more Mullins horses. The latter one was runner-up last year. As mentioned before, a strange race. He done well this winter in the Lexus Chase and is not out of this, clearly he is a better chance than Boston Bob in my mind.
A bit the forgotten horse is The Giant Bolster. He absolutely loves it around Cheltenham and with a bit luck he would have won at least one Gold Cup in recent years. His jumping can be a problem sometimes, but he has the heart and guts to be a big runner once again today. At 40/1 with four places, he is well overpriced and his chances underestimated. He usually comes alive at this time of the year, and it is wise to ignore anything he has shown up to this point this season.
The Giant Bolster @ 40/1 Bet365 – 2.5pts EW