Author: Alan Kelly
Published: 09:01 05/01/2014
Friday saw a shake-up in the ante-post market for the Betfred Cheltenham Gold Cup with the news that last year's runner-up Sir Des Champs will miss the race and the rest of the season due to a tendon injury causing bookmakers to trim the price of reigning champion Bobs Worth to a best price 9-4, odds which are available with several firms including Ladbrokes, Coral and Betvictor.
King George V1 Chase 1-2 Silviniaco Conti and Cue Card are next in the betting at 4-1 and 8-1 respectively but after that it is possible to back any horse at odds of 14-1 or better, with the result that a value bet could be lurking among the other possible runners especially with Stoke-based bookmaker Bet365 who are going non-runner no bet on all four championship contests at the Festival.
Despite the fact that he could well be targeted at Thursday's Ladbroke World Hurdle rather than steeplechasing's premier prize the horse who really takes the eye at 25-1 with the n.r.n.b. proviso is the Willie Mullins-trained Boston Bob. The Closutton handler has indicated that the 9-year-old son of Bob Back may be kept over the smaller obstacles this season the fact is that he could have a major contender for the World Hurdle in Annie Power whereas with Sir Des Champs out of the equation his Gold Cup possibilities are thin on the ground to say the least.
Owned by Andrea and Graham Wylie who have yet to have a Gold Cup on their c.v. whereas Inglis Drever provided the couple with a trio of World Hurdle victories in 2005, 2007 and 2008 and the temptation to go for Gold Cup glory may well lead to a change of plan. From the moment Boston Bob finished a creditable second to the ill-fated Brindisi Breeze in the 2012 Albert Bartlett the horse has been regarded as a potential Gold Cup winner and that opinion remained intact after last year's RSA Chase in which the mount of Paul Townsend came to grief at the final fence when looking to have the race in safe keeping. Impressive when winning over hurdles at Punchestown last week Boston Bob could easily revert back to fences next month in the Hennessy Gold Cup at Leopardstown and a win there would see the odds currently available look very generous indeed.
Gold Cup Ante-Post Recommendation:
Boston Bob 24/1 NRNB (Bet365)