All the punters eyes are looking towards Cheltenham Festival 2018 which brings all the best horses from around the UK and Ireland together for top sport and with it excitement, passion and drama. Here are the three top favourites for the week’s big race, the Cheltenham Gold Cup.
Sizing John (NON-RUNNER)
Sizing John is one of the stronger contestants in this year’s Gold Cup; at last year’s Cheltenham Festival, he was the Gold Cup winner. He is a Jessica Harrington trained thoroughbred racehorse. Jonathan Burke was the rider in most of the races, while more recently, the jockey Robbie Power is the rider of Sizing John.
Before winning the Gold Cup, he had already won the Future Champions Novices Hurdle in 2014 and Craddockstown Novice Chase in 2015. The year of 2017 was his best year by far. He won the Kinloch Brae Chase, Punchestown Gold Cup and the John Durkan Memorial Punchestown Chase in that single year before winning the Cheltenham Gold Cup that year as well.
However, his performance this season have not been up to the par. He lost at Leopardstown by a staggering 32 lengths which is not the sort of performance one would hope to see from a horse trying to retain his crown.
Although not pleasing everyone by his manner of victory, Might Bite has finished where it matters this season; in front. He’s now won his last 5 races and remains unbeaten since Feb 2017. His trainer is none other than the legendary trainer Nicky Henderson who already has won the Gold Cup twice. He won the big race in 2011 with Long Run and then again in 2013 with Bobs Worth. According to his handler, Might Bite is in his best of form and clearly a top favorite for the Gold Cup.
Most recently, Might Bite showed us his talents at the King George VI Chase over Christmas. A year previously, he had suffered a fall in the Kauto Star Novices’ Chase but Nicky Henderson got his compensation Boxing Day win this time with Might Bite.
Nicky Henderson decided to not run him for the February Denman Chase and he will now head directly to Cheltenham to compete in the Gold Cup with Sizing John and Native River and other top National Hunt horses.
What happened during the last year’s RSA Chase speaks volumes about the calibre of Might Bite. In that race, he had lost his lead during the final part of the race when he veered wildly to the right. But extraordinarily, he managed to claw back to victory by finishing first in the final few strides.
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It was really after the Denman Chase at Newbury that punters started to consider Native River for the coming Gold Cup more seriously as he has become somewhat of a forgotten horse having not been seen since last season. Although some would have had their eyes on him for the Cheltenham Gold Cup 2018, ever since he finished third in last year’s renewal, beaten just 2 3/4 lengths.
He had a terrific last season having won the Ladbrokes Trophy, Welsh Grand National and the Denman Chase for trainer Colin Tizzard, whose stable is now firing after a poor January. Native River has taken a while to come to himself following last year’s Cheltenham Festival but now that he has proved himself again by winning the Denman Chase he is also one of the top favorites for the Gold Cup.