Cheltenham Gold Cup blog replay
Replay Ben Linfoot's blog as Bobs Worth stole the show on Cheltenham Gold Cup day.
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*All times GMT - please refresh for updates
1755: Well, there were a few more winners there than I imagined after a tough Thursday, but Alderwood's success levels things up for the punters in style. Your blogger, caught up in the celebrations, can only apologise for the lack of updates since the Grand Annual. But it's over now, over until next year. What a fantastic four days it's been, Bobs Worth proving the champion he is the undoubted highlight for me. Your Cheltenham fix is over, but don't worry. We'll soon be getting quotes for something in the 2014 Supreme Novices' and all roads will lead back to this magnificent arena once again. Thanks for all your emails... over and out.
1715 Result: 1st 15 Alderwood (IRE) 3/1 f
2nd 10 Kid Cassidy (IRE) 12/1
3rd 6 Oiseau de Nuit (FR) 33/1
4th 11 Drumshambo (USA) 20/1
1700: Ah, Double Ross. We nearly ended the meeting on a high. Perhaps we still can, in the Johnny Henderson Grand Annual. I have to back one of Nicky Henderson's in this, so Petit Robin gets the nod. He's been running well over hurdles all season (gets on with Nico De Boinville) and his chase mark is actually lower than his hurdles mark now. He's backed. So is Alderwood, for obvious reasons.
1650: Paul Nicholls gets his winner, and he dedicates that one to Dominic Baker, son of Clifford who recently died in a car accident. Salubrious was tough there, really tough. Double Ross was brave. He cut out the donkey work and looked like he just might do it at one stage, but he paid for his early exertions and faded into third, with Nagpur staying on to take second.
1640 Result: 1st 3 Salubrious (IRE) 16/1
2nd 18 Nagpur (FR) 33/1
3rd 9 Double Ross (IRE) 14/1
4th 17 Make Your Mark (IRE) 8/1
1630: The Martin Pipe next. I can't put my finger on why, but I love this race. The rain has come for Double Ross, so he must have an each-way chance - I hope they go prominent early with him again. Toner D'Oudaries has been running over fences, but the upshot is he's a similar mark to last year when he should've won. I was on him them and I'm on him now. Two against the field probably isn't enough, but they will have to do...
1622: Winning trainer Rodger Sweeney says: "I thought we were second, it was unfortunate for the girl."
1612: Oh my, oh my. I never thought I'd see anything as heartbreaking in the Foxhunters as when Willy Twiston-Davies and Baby Run departed with the race at their mercy. But Jane Mangen has just topped that and some. She gave Oscar Delta a peach of ride - I'm convinced she had Salsify beat - and they looked absolutely nailed on for the win after a good jump at the last. But up the run in Oscar Delta ran into the rope on the far side and ejected Mangan who couldn't correct him in time. Heartbreaking stuff. The Cheltenham crowd, the majority who will have been on Salsify, hardly cheered the winner home. I don't think anybody wants to win like that. But, Salsify, is your Foxhunters winner for the second year running.
1600 Result: 1st 21 Salsify (IRE) 2/1 f
2nd 9 Divine Intavention (IRE) 50/1
3rd 5 Cottage Oak (IRE) 9/1
1558: Foxhunters next. Has the rain taken away Chapoturgeon's chance? Possibly. They're lumping on Salsify, the 'Irish Banker' for many - they've already won 12 races!
1552: Henderson says: "I don't think the rain helped us but he's very brave. He's never been beaten up that hill."
One of the owners, Malcolm Kimmins, said simply: "It's the best feeling in the world, bar none!"
1547: Big cheers for Nicky Henderson who saddles the first and third in the Gold Cup. Long Run ran a cracker in the pieces didn't he? Apart from that sketchy jump early on I thought he got into a really good rhythm and he should be given great credit for his consistency - he keeps his 'first three throughout his career' record intact.
1542: "We'll be back next year," says Willie Mullins who acknowledges that while the ground wasn't perfect for his fellow, it probably wasn't for the winner either.
1540: Silviniaco Conti was matched at 3.2 in-running, he was travelling as well as anything before he fell. Sir Des Champs was matched at 1.4, and Bobs Worth at a high of 10s.
1530: What a great horse race and what a great racehorse. Bobs Worth wins the Cheltenham Gold Cup after a fine patient ride from Barry Geraghty who overhauls long-time leader and stablemate Long Run up the hill. Sir Des Champs looked a likely winner at one stage as he loomed up on Long Run's quarters and he was a gallant second. The Giant Bolster, too, played his part in a great race by battling on. He was one of the first under pressure, but was right in the mix at the last before having to settle for fourth. Silviniaco Conti fell, compounding an already miserable week for Paul Nicholls. But it's Bobs Worth, the new Gold Cup hero. A Worthy winner.
1520 Result: 1st 1 Bobs Worth (IRE) 11/4 f
2nd 8 Sir Des Champs (FR) 4/1
3rd 5 Long Run (FR) 7/2
1518: We're almost off for the biggie. You can feel the tension, it promises to be an absolute cracker. It's going to be tough out there. I'm off to the stands...
1515: It's officially Soft (Good to Soft in places) but all the jockeys coming back in reckon it's more testing.
1514: Bobs Worth, on the other hand, is looking edgy. He's a solid 5/2 favourite, though, and is taken to be the new champion. I'll be cheering him and The Giant Bolster up the hill.
1512: Sir Des Champs looks is the paddock pick according to my mole (Alex Steedman, Cheltenham Radio). He says he looks 'absolutely magnificent'.
1510: Big moments these. Paul Nicholls sounds a bit nervous as he quickly discusses Silviniaco Conti's chances. "It was soft at Haydock, it was soft at Newbury. He's going to be fine." After the week he's had, this is a huge race for the champion trainer.
1505: Sam Twiston-Davies replaces Paul Carberry on Monbeg Dude in the upcoming Gold Cup.
1500: James Clements says: "Ben, I'm getting increasingly concerned about the cut in ground going into the Gold Cup. I need reassurance Bob's Worth is going to be fine on softer ground as im in desperate need of him winning for the final leg of my treble.....p.s. after my e/w shout on Manyriverstocross, worth noting I think similar e/w value can be found in the Martin Pipe with Nagpur (40/1 best)."
It's a worry James, he's never officially run on it. However, it was pretty soft for the Hennessy (officially Good to Soft) and it's not enough to put me off him - especially if he drifts on the back of it. Long Run seems very popular since the rains came.
1455: Eric O'Brien asks if the rain is affecting the ground. It is Eric, Ruby Walsh and Paul Carberry both decsribed it as 'soft' straight after the Triumph.
1450: AP McCoy is all smiles for the first time this week as At Fishers Cross sprints away from African Gold up the hill accompanied by a huge roar. It's one for Wales and Rebecca Curtis who looks delighted with her win. He had the form, he had the ground, he had everything. Why isn't the game always this easy? Still, more money to play with in the Gold Cup now...
1440 Result: 1st 3 At Fishers Cross (IRE) 11/8 f
2nd 2 African Gold (IRE) 9/2
3rd 8 Inish Island (IRE) 13/2
1430: Albert Bartlett, and it's all on At Fishers Cross. He's got the form, he's got the rain, he's got the stamina. He's got to carry my cash. The key horse of the day - for me - and for many, looking at the market.
1419: That 'gettable' exacta paid £118. It's easy this game (I wasn't on, don't worry.)
1415: Many mucky silks suggests the ground is getting softer...
1413: Bryan Cooper's getting good at this winning at Cheltenham lark as Ted Veale overhauls Tennis Cap up the hill in the style of a well-handicapped horse. Tanerko Emery was fifth, and if you played each-way with Sky Bet, Edgardo Sol was sixth - I think.
1405 Result: 1st 24 Ted Veale (IRE) 10/1
2nd 10 Tennis Cap (FR) 11/1
3rd 22 Manyriverstocross (IRE) 25/1
4th 18 Shadow Catcher 16/1
1356: Did I mention it's raining? County Hurdle next. Foolishly, I've just backed the one. Il Fenomeno. There's still time for another, though, and Tanerko Emery heads the list of possibles. I can't remember ever backing the winner of this race, so confidence is high.
1348: Sky Bet go 5/1 joint-favourite (with Hurricane Fly) about Our Conor for next year's Champion Hurdle.
1344: Next year's Champion Hurdle: My Tent Or Yours. The New One. Our Conor. I'm already excited.
1342: Bryan Cooper says: "It was unbelievable, he's got so much class, he's got everything." And the ground? "The rain's getting into it alright."
1340: Our Conor backers, you never had a moment's doubt. What a sensational performance from Dessie Hughes' juvenile. He's won by 15 lengths - it could've been more. Bryan Cooper had a long lingering look round before the final flight, but he won't have seen a rival. Simply stunning.
1330 Result: 1st 11 Our Conor (IRE) 4/1
2nd 4 Far West (FR) 4/1
3rd 13 Sametegal (FR) 33/1
1330: That famous roar indicates they're off on time (just about) for the Triumph... all the best if you're getting involved this afternoon.
1327: Is Lac Fontana a huge price at 25s? No, Linfoot. No more bets in the Triumph.
1323: As the rain continues to fall pretty heavily, the money continues to come for Rolling Star. It's a major gamble now and he's into 9/4.
1320: I love the buzz about the place on Gold Cup day. It's packed at Cheltenham, packed with 67,000 here for a special afternoon of sport. And it's raining pretty hard now...
1312: The punter formerly known as 'Nutty Dan' is back for more: "Yo Benny boy, I'm feeling confident, I've got my lucky pants on today. Noticed this morning there is now a hole in them, I hope that isn't an omen. Well, all my antepost bets hinge on Sir Des Champs. Back in September I backed SDC, Simonsig, Sprinter Sacre, Hurricane Fly and Boston Bob with trebles, 4folds and acca. Gutted with BB falling as had him at 10s. Pleased to see McCoy up now but I would definitely have preferred to see Davy Russell on board as he knows the horse so well. Today I like a couple of outsiders: Discoteca in the 14.05. Twice the price of Tennis Cap, but receives 6lbs for a 3 1/2 length beating and also has 7lb claimer on board. Definite each way value for me. Bathwick Brave. Have a look at it's run in December. Was beaten a short head by master of the sea who has since gone up 50lb in the ratings. For that short head defeat he was giving MOTS 16lbs!!! Bon Chance."
Thanks Dan. I like Discoteca, but I think the ground has gone, or will be going, against him. Best of luck...
1310: It's that dangerous time in the afternoon. Will Hayler ropes me into an office Placepot, savers are being being placed to cover ante-post bets (a double whammy awaits) and I'm being tempted by some ridiculous prices about some in the handicaps. Still, the main bets are Rolling Star, Il Fenomeno, At Fishers Cross, Double Ross, Toner D'Oudaries and Petit Robin. And in the Gold Cup I'm committing to Bobs Worth and hoping the place part of the ante-post each-way wager on The Giant Bolster can at least be rewarded. That's too many, isn't it? Ah well. It's Gold Cup day! 20 minutes until the Triumph...
1255: Phil Chatman is a fan of backing horses named after 70s sitcoms, if not the sitcoms themselves. "There are and will continue to be much worse 66/1 shots than Somemothersdohavem in the first," he says. "No, am not a fan of the programme, but think you'd get a run for your money from him today. Oo er, Betty."
He won nicely enough at Doncaster from Swnymor if you take that form literally...
1236: Andrew Hobbs has many interesting angles into today's racing, the highlight being: "Pope Benedict presumably retired from office so he could lump on Benedictus in the Foxhunters without having to answer to the press."
You've convinced me!
1234: John Carus is one of the good guys. "Hi Scoop. Really looking forward to the racing today. Bad news about JT Mac and here is hoping all ends well for him and his family. The first two days were very profitable for me and my juicy double of The Fly and Sir Des has kept me warm since Tuesday afternoon. The less said about yesterday the better. Unlucky for D Russell but gotta feeling it is all set up for a WP Mullins AP McCoy dream ending. Our Conor and Salsify to top off a great meeting for the Irish. Good luck today one and all!"
Lots of love for Salsify, John. And best of luck with your double. There is a feeling that the big story of the day could be the dramatic late jockey change for Sir Des Champs in the GC...
1232: Sal is back for more. She says: "Even though Nicholls has not had a single winner yet, got a feeling he still might win the big one today. After yesterday's losses's will be looking to get some back from the satchel boys !! Has to be Salsify today, for obvious reasons!!"
He'll be a hot favourite in the Foxhunters, Sal. Imagine if Nicholls won just one race all week and it was the Gold Cup!
1230: Falbrav is coughing and is a doubt for this afternoon. He says: "Hello Scoop, it's Falbrav with flu here! I'm struggling to mount some enthusiasm here but I would really fancy Diakali in the Triumph if the rain stays away. He is by Sinndar who didn't go a yard in soft ground and out of a Linamix mare. I'm so old I can tell you that Linamix won the French 2000 Guineas in 1991 and was second to In The Groove in the Champion Stakes the same season. I'm amazed Diakali has run so well in Ireland on soft/heavy ground and probably won't have to make his own pace in a bigger field today. I'm ultra, ultra confident that he'll go in if the ground remains g, g/s until after the first. Please help me with a weather update as I'm contemplating a top up."
Falbrav, I can see a few brollies going up as I look out of the press room window. Simon Claisse suggested earlier it could be soft by the first race, but while it won't take much to change the ground it needs to get heavier than it's currently falling if it's to change it in the next hour.
1225: Ken Wiener says: "Hello from Canada. I love reading your commentary and that of your correspondents. You Brits have a way with words! For example, James from Reading was so eloquent about Best Mate. While I can't quite grasp all of your betting descriptions, best of luck to everyone in pounding the bookmakers today!"
Cheers Ken. You must know what a Canadian is?
1220: When you're in charge of the wheels of steel you shouldn't have blog favourites. It's a bit like picking who is your favourite child. But, I must admit, Niclas from Sweden is one of mine (favourites). He says: "Cheers, Sir Linfoot! I've heard that there has been some complaints over the cold weather at Cheltenham . Well, I had to bunny-hop over a polar-bear that had frozen to death on my way to work, and the penguins are wearing scarfs, mittens and caps. So far my bets at Cheltenham have been horrible and I think some of them are still coming down the home-straight. But it's not over because you lose, it's over when you quit! Will do a Placepot today and I could really use a banker, Our Conor is my call right now. Any input is much appreciated as to where I should put my last measly sheckels? Hope you enjoy your day at the races, and I will be following via my computer at work with a glass of red-wine at close range."
Enjoy your tipple Niclas, enjoy it and make it taste sweeter by having your last sheckels on At Fishers Cross. I've now filed him in the drawer marked 'good thing'.
1215: Went to visit three of my mates who have been here all week during my stroll. They looked like three extras from dawn of the dead. One of them missed Wednesday - and Sprinter Sacre - after too many Jagermeisters and ciders and black on Champion Chase eve. What a disgrace. I would disown him but I don't want to fall into single-figures in my friends list.
1210: The brisk walk pre-curry in the press room was enjoyable and necessary to sharpen me up ahead of the day's action. No proper rain as yet - it's spitting - but the clouds they-are-a-gathering.
1205: Here's the latest on J T McNamara who is sadly in hospital after a terrible fall yesterday. Dr Adrian McGoldrick, Senior Medical Officer, Irish Turf Club said: "We can confirm that amateur rider J T McNamara suffered two fractured vertebrae in his neck yesterday. He is currently in theatre in Frenchay Hospital, Bristol. There will be no further news until tomorrow and we will keep everyone informed, His wife Caroline is with him."
1135: Right, off for a pre-lunch walk to focus the mind ahead of this afternoon's battle with the bookies. I will return with precipitation news shortly.
1125: James in Reading is backing Manyriverstocross and Long Run today as he reminisces about Gold Cups from yesteryear. He says: "Gold Cup day is always bitter sweet for me. Now on my 10th consecutive festival I have not since felt the surge of adrenaline and excitement as the day Best Mate won his 3rd Gold Cup. I said bitter sweet, because even now the thought of Best Mate brings a small tear to my eye, as the poor old boy never got to enjoy his much deserved retirement. Sometimes people define champions as "machines", but Best Mate wasn't. To say he was ordinary would be unfair, but there was nothing spectacular about him. He worked hard and had bags and bags of heart, and to this day I haven't seen a more worthy Gold Cup legend."
1115: Norman in Yorkshire did email with a tip for Same Difference yesterday, but I didn't open it until after he'd edged out Super Duty in a thrilling battle for the Kim Muir. Today he says: "I don't think I will be able to repeat yesterdays winners but I can live in hope.....four winners and a 20/1 placing was very welcome....I sent you Same Difference before the off but I don't suppose you managed to do anything about it.....anyway, today's bets.....the Gold Cup betting revolves around 4 horses who are all at low odds so I am going with a couple of outsiders in Cape Tribulation's and Monbeg Dude. Cape Tribulation's beat a good field over this course last time and Monbeg Dude has previous course form over slightly further than today."
Thanks Norm. Monbeg Dude eh. He'll need the rain and plenty of it, but stranger things have happened in Gold Cups and you often get a big outsider placed...
1110: Brian from Korea is on the winning trail, and in some style. He says: "Finally a winner with Carrickboy and Holywell yesterday, great run from Smad Place and will make up to a nice chaser. For the Gold Cup, I still believe that Captain Chris will have a say in the finish if he can stay in touch, normally gets outpaced for a few strides in his races. Well after the New Pope Francis helped Holywell in the Pertemps.... Only reference today is Abbey Lane in the Vincent OBrien..little bit of mix of different religions but here's hoping for some more divine intervention! All The Best, lets bash the bookies."
Great work Brian. But Captain Chris? Will he jump right now he's back on a left-handed track? The forecast rain should hold no fears after his King George run, but I would be concerned about the extra two and more furlongs also.
1102: I fully expected Our Conor to be the one for money in the Triumph. He's got plenty of soft ground form, his form's been franked, he looks a class act etc.. etc.. But he's on the drift and is now 4/1, with Rolling Star favourite across the board at 3/1 (best of 100/30). I backed Nicky Henderson's horse straight after he won on Trials Day at 8/1 (and 7/1 and 6/1) but if Our Conor drifts any further a saver may be played. After these tactics when spectacularly wrong yesterday, I'm hoping things even themselves out. Will the good guys (me) get a break?
1100: Mick and Gary are all at sea and relying on me according to their email: "Good morning Ben. There is a couple of horseracing fanatics here...bouncing around the Atlantic Ocean on a small oil rig supply ship on route to Cape Town. We are relying on your excellent coverage of the festival and will be shouting home Bob and the Bolster (place money) with gusto!!! Keep up the good work and we look forward to your commentary."
Good luck with the Bolster and his quest for another GC place chaps, I'll be cheering him on up that big hill with you/for you.
1053: The reason? His blood analysis was not normal. At Fishers Cross has a golden chance now doesn't he? Looks like 2/1 is the best you can get as the market reforms.
1048: Ballycasey is a significant non-runner in the Albert Bartlett.
1043: It's now confirmed, Tony McCoy rides Sir Des Champs in the Gold Cup. Who would've thought it?
1040: Nelson in London has gone continental for his breakfast choice, something I (sort of) did this morning for the first time all week. I used to be able to rattle off five Full English's in a row, no sweat, but searing pains in the stomach after a sumptious gammon and two eggs last night did for me. I'm not the man I used to be. Anyway, Nelson says: "I'm sat at my desk with a danish pastry and a coffee, mulling over today's card, safe in the knowledge I will finish in profit after a very healthy day 2 of the Festival. I really can't see past At Fisher's Cross - he's 7 pounds clear on ratings and easily has the best form. I got him last night at 3s, I wouldn't be surprised if he goes off 7/4. Looks like a weak renewal of the Albert Bartlett and surely A P McCoy has to ride at least one winner. Main dangers?? Someone told me Bobs Worth is a nailed on win for Gold Cup. I'd like to think so, but what of his chances if we see significant rain in the next few hours?"
If it does get soft, really soft - as it could - I think it's another thing to consider when backing Bobs Worth. I'm not saying he won't go on it, but he's never gone on it and it would have to be a concern. Totally agree with regard At Fishers Cross. He's a best of 11/4 now and that looks big.
1030: Tom in Reading is a Silviniaco man. "Fascinating GC today," he says. "Been on Silviniaco Conti's side for several months now so I'll have to stick with my convictions, although the form of the Nicholls stable is a slight concern (might have been overplayed a bit though, never looked like being one of his strongest teams). As an aside, can I please submit the following Nicholls quote about SC for the "stating the bleedin' obvious" award of the week? "People say he doesn't have Cheltenham experience but that's only because he hasn't been there". Can't fault that logic really."
Thanks for that Tom, he's right isn't he?! I actually don't think Cheltenham will be an issue for SC, he's a slick jumper and is very straightforward. The stamina-sapping, extended 3m2f, though, is another matter.
1026: Secondly - if you're betting in the County Hurdle today you have to bet each-way. And if you're betting each-way in the County Hurdle you have to bet with Sky Bet. I believe they're the only bookmaker paying SIX places on the race this afternoon and if you go here you can get a £10 free bet without having to deposit a penny. It's a no brainer.
1025: A few parish notices. First up, check out the latest standings and get involved in our Cheltenham Tipping Game right here. Great effort from Petertaylor72 (former England caretaker boss?) yesterday.
1015: Declan Lenane says: "Is Long Run the forgotten horse of the Gold Cup? Everyone is saying the young pretenders will win this year but Long Run is only an 8-year-old which is young for a Gold Cup chaser. Also Long Run has not looked fit this year and knowing Henderson he has left plenty to work on, I personally think Long Run could demolish this field. Looking at Bobs Worth form he has beat Tiday Bay by 3 lengths in his last race do I think he has not proved himself as yet.. Good luck today."
Looking at the market, Declan, I don't think he's been forgotten at all. Cut to 5/1 everywhere this morning, it seems plenty of punters agree with your assessment. With cheekpieces on for the first time the King George winner is interesting, but, rightly or wrongly, I just don't think he's the horse he was and would expect at least one of the second-season chasers to beat him.
1010: Listening to Simon, and looking at the weather forecasts, it looks like we could have a similar scenario to when Imperial Commander won his Cheltenham Gold Cup three years ago. The rain got heavier throughout the day and it was very soft by the time Pigeon Island won the Grand Annual. That year I ended up tagging along with a stag do (I knew just one person in it, it wasn't the stag) and ended up sleeping in my car (in those days, a battered 'Ferrari red' Tigra). I washed myself in a McDonalds toilet the following morning. Ah, memories.
1005: Simon Claisse, Cheltenham clerk of the course, is predicting three or four millimetres of rain by 3pm and is predicting soft ground by the time the Gold Cup at 3.20. Fresh ground has been opened up on the chase course after moving a mile and a half of rail last night.
0955: The fantastic Hadley Fox is also dusting himself down and geeing himself up for another go today after yesterday's beating from the bookies. " I would say good morning Ben, but after bloodbath Thursday, the world seems a very dark place. My profit for the week was violently halved, as my heart was as Super Duty capped off a miserable day by getting chinned like that! I have some very tasty doubles and trebles all rolling on to Far West, and surely Nicholls has to do something here, so the world will become a sunnier place and all yesterday's losses could be recouped by 1.36. I need help Ben, I have had Bobs Worth, Conti and Sir Des Champs all making me lots of money over the last 18 months, help me pick!!! Elsewhere At Fishers to break McCoys curse, Alderwood, and Cotton Mill."
Best of luck with Far West, Hadley, but I'm in a similar position with Rolling Star having backed him in various ways after he impressed on Trials Day. Unfortunately, Our Conor looks capable of beating us both. At Fishers Cross could be the key horse for me and many punters today, but the Gold Cup - I'm undecided. I think it will be either Bobs Worth or Silviniaco - hopefully the latter will drift after the week Nicholls has had!
0940: Darren Radford - you know I can't publish your email. And there's no confirmation yet on Sir Des Champs' jockey booking for the big race.
0930: Wilbert in Huddersfield is getting giddy about Gold Cup day. And why not? He says: "Good morning Ben after a good first two days I found myself on the canvas and out for the count after yesterday's results. I will be back in to the fray today battered and bruised but ready for the final round. Pinning my hopes on N.Henderson who usually has a good last day."
You're not the only one, Wilbert. Yesterday was tough but it's a new dawn, a new day, a new life... and At Fishers Cross surely wins the Albert Bartlett.
0922: For those asking about JT McNamara, he has a serious neck injury and we're expecting a statement on his current condition shortly.
0920: We've had light rain overnight (more predicted throughout the day, perhaps 4mm) and the ground is Good to Soft, Good in places on both the chase and hurdles courses. The chase rail has been moved in, reducing each circuit by 42 yards. Not enough for the doubtful stayers in the Gold Cup, but worth a mention nonetheless!
0915: It was an unsatisfactory scope for Sunnyhillboy. Shame really, I thought he had a chance of sneaking a place if we get significant rain later. Jonjo O'Neill won't have a Gold Cup runner today, and his Cloudy Copper is out of the Albert Bartlett (cast in his box) too.
0910: Early news and Sunnyhillboy is out of the Cheltenham Gold Cup. That frees up AP McCoy to ride Sir Des Champs if he fancies riding the 4/1 chance...
0850: Even now, before any one of the 67,000 paying punters have made their way through the big green gates, there's a real sense of occassion here at Prestbury Park ahead of the biggest day of the National Hunt season (for me) - Cheltenham Gold Cup day. Anticipation of the great event increases as you walk by giant posters of former champions - Cool Dawn, Looks Like Trouble and Best Mate were three I spotted on my walk to the course. Who will join the greats of the game today? It's a top-notch renewal but it's hard to crack. Get your Gold Cup stories, tips, thoughts - anything - into me by email at email@example.com. It's going to be a good - no - it's going to be a magnificent day.