Last year’s first three home teams will meet again at the Boodles Cheltenham Gold Cup with Minella Indo, A Plus Tard and Al Boum Photo featured among the 13 confirmations for the blue ribbon.
enry de Bromhead weathered an unbelievable week 12 months ago delivering the first two homes, although Rachael Blackmore chose to side with A Plus Tard runner-up – it was just the only thing the racer broke the record for. wrong all week.
Blackmore has been loyal to Cheveley Park’s eight-year-old this season, and they combined for an easy Betfair Chase at Haydock and were beaten by Gordon Elliott’s Galvin at Leopardstown at Christmas.
Galvin has continued his career since winning the National Hunt at last year’s meeting and coming to challenge A Plus Tard for bias.
Things did not go well for Minella Indo, who did not win in the first 3 matches.
But he showed more than his old sparkle when he finished second to Conflated in the Ireland Gold Cup with Robbie Power on board, who is set to maintain the partnership.
Conflated coached by Elliott still won the Gold Cup at the closest stage, although there is a chance he could run the Ryanair Chase a day before.
Willie Mullins has announced his intention to run Al Boum Photo (pictured in), the race winner in 2019 and 2020, more often than his usual prep at Tramore on New Year’s Day.
But a dry winter scuppers those plans, and he’s once again on the finish line after just one run.
Mullins can also be represented by King George heroes Tornado Flyer, Asterion Forlonge and Melon.
The England team is led by Dan Skelton’s Protektorat, Nicky Henderson’s Chantry House – who like Galvin is also the winner of the 2021 match – and the Venetia Williams-trained Royale Pagaille, who finished second in A Plus Tard in Betfair Chase.
Santini (Polly Gundry) and Aye Right (Harriet Graham) are also set to take their chances.
Mullins and Elliott dominate the top trusts for the JCB Triumph Hurdle.
Vauban (Mullins) and Pied Piper (Elliott) meet in Punchestown for their hurdles debut with Pied Piper going to appear overhead at half length.
Since then, Vauban has beaten Elliott’s Fil Dor in First Place at Leopardstown while Pied Piper competed in Second Class at Cheltenham.
One who shouldn’t be underestimated is Milton Harris’ Knight Salute, undefeated in five hurdles. Skelton-trained Dr. Parnassus is also defending his undefeated record.
Gary Moore’s talented pair of Porticello and Teddy Blue are other domestic rivals that warrant a lot of respect among the remaining 13.
Henry Daly’s giant Hillcrest and Elliott’s Ginto came in 25th in Albert Bartlett Novices’ Bicycle Race.
De Bromhead’s Shantreusse and Archie Watson’s Stag Horn are interesting contenders with a higher price tag, and Tony Martin added Leopardstown Good winner Tim Jonny.
https://www.independent.ie/sport/horse-racing/cheltenham/top-three-finishers-from-last-years-race-all-primed-to-renew-rivalries-in-gold-cup-41443792.html The top three finishers from last year’s race are all ready to extend their Gold Cup competitions