The Cheltenham Gold Cup is the most prestigious of all National Hunt steeple chases in the horse racing calendar, and although it’s a long off, 2015’s event is already well-anticipated by riders, trainers and punters alike.
This Grade 1 National Hunt race was inaugurated in 1924 when a horse called Red Splash won for trainer Fred Withington, ridden by Dick Rees. It is run over a distance of 3 miles 2 1/2 furlongs with 22 fences.
According to Paddy Powers' latest Cheltenham Gold Cup odds one name immediately stands out. Silviniaco Conti, recent winner of the King George VI Chase at Kempton is now clear favourite at 3/1.
But is now the right time to back him?
In short, the answer is yes. This French-bred gelding, trained by Paul Nicholls, racing in the familiar colours of Chris Giles & Potensis Bloodstock Ltd has done well winning four of his last six races, holding Dynaste on two occasions and proving better than Menorah after suffering a surprise defeat at Wetherby. All looks good for his best performance come the big day.
In last years Gold Cup this nine-year-old chestnut looked the winner, when wandering right under pressure, tiring in the last 100yds, when not recovering from that errant maneuver. He held Bob's Hope, one place behind in fifth, in a race where the outsiders prevailed.
In 2013 he traveled like a winner when falling three out.
Other major rivals include last year's winner Lord Windermere & previous Gold Cup stalwart Bob's Worth.
From a historic perspective this event has seen exceptional winners include household names such at Arkle, Best Mate, Mill House and Paul Nicholls' wonder horse Kauto Star who won the race twice. Golden Miller won this race no less than five consecutive times (1932 - 1936).
In truth, Silviniaco Conti [pictured] is a consistent horse who has proven his class. Come (3:20) Cheltenham Gold Cup day, 13th March 2015, lady luck may shine on a horse which has proved disappointing twice before.