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Tuesday, 31 December 2019

The Cheltenham Gold Cup antepost market 31-December

It's been a few weeks since the last blog, and with not being able to donate enough time to make selections and write a decent weekly blog, I've decided to concentrate on preparing for the Cheltenham Festival in March.
There has been plenty going on in the past few days, and here is the latest betting:-
KEMBOY - 6/1 (available generally - I do not consider the odds of 7/1 offered by 888Sport)
AL BOUM PHOTO - 7/1 (Coral and Betfred)
CLAN DES OBEAUX - 8/1 (Hills and Paddy Power)
LOSTINTRANSLATION - 8/1 (available generally - I do not consider the 9/1 offered by Betway)
DELTA WORK - 10/1 (Betfred and Paddy Power)
SANTINI - 10/1 (BetVictor and Paddy Power)
PRESENTING PERCY - 14/1 (Boylesports)
NATIVE RIVER - 20/1 (Hills and Paddy Power)
They are the front-8 in the betting and I really cannot see anything else coming out of the woodwork.

KEMBOY and the 2019 Gold Cup winner AL BOUM PHOTO head the market, with Kemboy just ahead. While I appreciate that Al Boum Photo is worthy of his position in the betting, I cannot say the same about Kemboy.
Sure, Kemboy won the Savills Chase (G1) in Dec18 beating Monalee into 2nd, and he went on to win at Aintree and Punchestown but (in my opinion) he beat CLAN DES OBEAUX and Al Boum Photo when they were possibly over-the-top after being trained for the Cheltenham Gold Cup. Kemboy was also trained for that race but he fell at the 1st fence.
I rate his win in the Savills Chase as his best to date (165) whereas RPR rate his wins at Aintree and Punchestown superior to that effort.  What you can take from his career to date is that he does improve for a run from a break, so he is sure to find improvement from his recent run on 28-Dec.  I hope rather than expect he will be given another race before Cheltenham, as otherwise he will go into the Gold Cup too fresh. I'm also not sure he will stay the Gold Cup trip.
AL BOUM PHOTO easily won the Gold Cup last March, and he runs on Wednesday 1st Jan in a repeat of his preparation of last season. He will be only an 8yo in March 2020 and there's no reason he cannot repeat that effort.  On the downside, I did not rate his win was in a particularly strong Gold Cup. He should win easily on 1st January and in proving his well-being his odds will almost certainly shorten to probably 9/2, so if you think he can win again in March you had best place a wager today.
CLAN DES OBEAUX easily repeated his win in the King George on Boxing Day, and he did not have to repeat his winning effort of 2018 to do so. Can he win in March? Probably not, as he's run in 4 chases beyond 3-mile and been beaten each time, which (to me) indicates he lacks the stamina to win a Gold Cup at Cheltenham.
LOSTINTRANSLATION is a tricky horse to fathom, and I'm prepared to overlook him pulling-up in the King George on Boxing Day as I do not think he enjoys going right-handed. In beating Topofthegame at Aintree over 3m1f last April he showed he was one of the very best novice staying chasers and probably would have won the RSA Chase at the last Festival. He is an out-and-out stayer and is probably the best value in the market at the moment.
DELTA WORK is a horse that needs a stamina test, as he's not the quickest and that lack of zip was exposed in last seasons RSA Chase when he went from cruising along and looking the most likely winner, to being caught flat-footed and left in a matter of strides. He was ridden more aggressively at Punchestown and was rewarded with a much better performance and one that suggested he could have won the RSA with a similar ride. As such I would expect him to push for the race early come March and make it a gruelling contest. Again, he looks value in the betting.
Personally, I do not think we will see SANTINI race again this season, as he was a shadow of himself in his race at Sandown earlier this season and we have not seen him since.
PRESENTING PERCY has - in my opinion - had his chance and that was last season.
NATIVE RIVER is still a top class chaser, but his limits were exposed at the Gold Cup last March and he will be a 10yo come March and the young guns will be too good for him.
The pair in the betting that I like are:-
Lostintranslation and Delta Work and at 10/1 it's DELTA WORK for me.

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