With the initial 41 entries for the Cheltenham Gold Cup having been revealed, punters everywhere are eagerly examining the Cheltenham odds from Betfair Exchange in the hopes of correctly predicting the winner. It’s no surprise that the favourites being touted are Al Boum Photo, who has won the race for the past two seasons, Santini, who was a narrow runner-up last year, and the likes of A Plus Tard and Minella Indo, who have both proved their worth in recent times.
But the Gold Cup does not always play out as the odds would have you expect, and there can often be some valuable outside bets – horses who have perhaps gone under the radar but could burst into life at the Cheltenham showpiece. With the 2021 Cheltenham Festival just a couple of months away, let’s take a look at some of the early outsiders that could spring a surprise come race day.
Fresh of the back of a sensational victory in the King George VI Chase at Kempton on Boxing Day, Frodon and jockey Bryony Frost will be gearing up for further success at the Cheltenham Festival. It’s clear that the relationship between Frost and Frodon is a special one, and that innate bond has helped the pair earn plenty of success for trainer Paul Nicholls and owner Paul Vogt.
Frodon raced in the Ryanair Chase last year but could only record a fourth-place finish as Min stole the show, but with another year under his belt, and a seismic victory in the King George, rule out Frodon and Frost at your peril.
While Al Boum Photo will undoubtedly be Willie Mullins’ main chance of success in the Gold Cup, there’s plenty to be said for stablemate Kemboy, who sits at an interesting price of 14/1 in these early days of the jumps racing season. 2020 wasn’t the best year for the nine-year-old, but a seventh-place finish in the Gold Cup last year could mean that Kemboy has the experience and knowhow to do better this time around.
While not a firm favourite by any means, those analysing the 2021 Cheltenham tips may just fancy the chances of Kemboy.
Follower’s of Gordon Elliott’s stable will be watching Delta Work closely as the Cheltenham Festival approaches. Similar to Kemboy, Delta Work finished in the top ten of the Gold Cup last year, and could well be on course for an improvement on last year’s fifth-place finish at this year’s Festival.
Around this time last year, Delta Work enjoyed two solid wins at Leopardstown with Jack Kennedy in the saddle, but recent times haven’t been so successful. In his most recent outing, Delta Work unseated jockey Sean Flanagan on his first occasion riding the horse, and while it’s clear that the eight-year-old has the potential to win the Gold Cup, odds of 20/1 are probably about right.
Many people seem to have forgotten about Native River, given the success of Al Boum Photo, but the Colin-Tizzard trained horse can’t be discounted, even at the advancing age of 11. Injury meant Native River had to withdraw from the Gold Cup last year, and so wasn’t able to have a tilt at regaining the crown which he won in 2018.
But this year, Native River could make a thrilling comeback, and this great champion could have one fine performance left in his ageing legs.