CHELTENHAM GOLD CUP GRADE ONE – REVIEW
A Plus Tard
18th March 2022 – Cheltenham – His jockey held onto him until coming down the hill on the approach to the second last fence. His performance at Haydock marked him up as the best staying chaser around and this was right up there with that run and possibly a whole lot better. If we consider his margin of victory over Royale Pagaille in both races there is not a lot of difference. The drying ground probably helped his cause and worked against the horses to follow him home.
18th March 2022 – Cheltenham – He was kicked clear immediately after three out and still held a significant advantage jumping two out. When a horse is ultimately beaten so far after racing clear the question will always be whether his jockey made his move too early. Maybe he did; then again without the winner proving to be far too good his ride would have been praised to the hilts.
18th March 2022 – Cheltenham – Aside from one early mistake he appeared to travel and jump well enough throughout until clouting the final fence. He still stayed on strongly to pinch third place and must have thrilled his connections in doing so. The winner was in a different league and maybe the runner up can be marked up after making a very early move for glory. Without that last fence error, he may have been a length or two clear of the fourth horse.
18th March 2022 – Cheltenham – His trainers’ earlier assertions that he was more Grand National than Gold Cup were on my mind as he was badly outpaced coming down the hill. This was a fast run race, and he was simply not quick enough on the ground.
18th March 2022 – Cheltenham – His mistake at the fourth last probably ended his chances of winning the race. He still performed well for a long way and remains towards the top of a very short shortlist for the Betfair Chase at Haydock providing the ground is testing. He was still in the leading group jumping the second last fence and was just run out of third place at the line. A tremendous effort from a high-class chaser running in less than ideal conditions.
18th March 2022 – Cheltenham – He did amazingly well to still be in the lead on the inside at the third last fence. I don’t know if we will see him back at Cheltenham in the future. Either way, I do hope he gives Aintree a miss and waits for the Punchestown Gold Cup.
18th March 2022 – Cheltenham – Not for the first time he made too many jumping errors to get into contention. His slow leap at the third last was the final straw and his jockey pulled him up soon afterwards.
18th March 2022 – Cheltenham – Although he was out of his depth here it was still pleasing to see him go from the front. He found himself left behind in the early stages of his final two big field races last season and so his positive start to the race is encouraging with his next handicap run in mind. Presumably we will see him next off a big weight in the Scottish National.
18th March 2022 – Cheltenham – This was his prep run for the Grand National in a few weeks’ time. He seemed to jump well through the race and would be a player at Aintree if he has retained most of his ability. It would be difficult to hold a strong opinion either way based on his latest two performances round Cheltenham.
18th March 2022 – Cheltenham – His jumping did not stand up to this test. He was never travelling from an early stage and his mistake at the sixth last was the final straw and he was pulled up immediately afterwards.