Arguably, the biggest of all races is the Cheltenham Gold Cup as one of the very first events that took place in 1819. However, the Cheltenham Gold Cup chase event we know today in so much different in many ways and increased in stature and popularity ever since its inception. Virtually everyone involved in horseracing is looking forward to the Gold Cup, so we have thought we'd give you a rundown of the top Gold Cup favourites for 2018.
The Cheltenham Gold Cup’s statistics show two things. For one, the huge favourites do not always perform to expectations and secondly, the clear underdogs often fail to shake off their tags. Only nine favourites have justified market confidence since 1980, with others dismally failed. The year 1966 was the last year we saw the shortest priced winner at 1/10, while 1990 was the period for crowning the longest prized winner. Sizing John in this case, is considered among those horses that are in the middle range who often take to the headlines.
Not taking away anything from the fact that Sizing John is the reigning Gold Cup champion, his performances over the start of the season in December have not been that impressive. He won his first John Durkan Chase race, but had a less than par performance in Leopardstown losing by a staggering 32 lengths. However, Sizing John will take solace in that the Gold Cup 2017 was his first race ran over three miles and by keeping Jessica Harrington as the trainer, they could try to emulate the success of 2017 together.
Another one right in the thick of things is Might Bite. Throughout the whole of 2017, Might Bite showed his unpredictable side with some folly antics that nearly cost him big wins including the RSA Chase at the last Cheltenham Festival. However, he stuck with Nico de Boinvaille as his jockey; therefore there will be some sort of relationship and stability. De Boinvaille is known for his perfect control over Might Bite and as a team, we suspect they'll do well. Though with some doubters, Might Bite showed that he has what it takes to flourish at the highest level by recording some impressive wins firstly at the RSA Chase (March), the Mildway at Aintree(April), and King George at Kempton (December). Overall, he won all five of his last five starts including Grade 1 races. The biggest test for Might Bite as he prepares for the Cheltenham Gold Cup, is a race over three miles for the first time. Sizing John won it last year while participating for the first time, many as whether Might Bite will be able to do the same.
This is just one of those horses that shows a lot of potential, although rarely lives up to the expectations. However, time is still on Native River’s side and he needs to start winning some big races or he'll end his career with no major accomplishments. Many say that the Cheltenham Gold Cup is the perfect shot for him to silence critics and doubters and we eagerly wait to see this come to fruition. Last season, Native River participated in the Hennessey and Welsh National a few weeks before the Festival, but he was unable to recover in time as he quickly ran out of steam during his first Cheltenham appearance. With an extended break, Native River goes into the Festival full of energy, and if he can add a desire to win, then it’s quite possible the Cheltenham Gold Cup 2018 will become his first major win.