Cheltenham Festival tips: L’Homme Presse to restore British pride with Gold Cup triumph | Racing | Sport

Gold Cup horse by horse guide

L’Homme Presse and Venetia Williams can restore British pride at Cheltenham by winning today’s Boodles Gold Cup (3.30). On the ropes amid an Irish Festival rout for much of the week, the home team are fancied to continue their Thursday fightback by scooping its biggest pot.

Williams has had one race in mind all season for her lightly-raced charge, never beaten at the Gloucestershire circuit. The nine-year-old capped a sequence of wins during his finest hour in the Grade One Brown Advisory Novices’ Chase. He travelled strongly and jumped well – two essentials for a blue riband contender – and looks guaranteed to stay the extra quarter mile.

Critics will question his Ascot second to Pic D’Orhy, but he is miles better left-handed and was ridden with this afternoon’s target in mind. Odds of 12-1 are too big to ignore, for a horse with the right profile to dethrone Willie Mullins’ hot favourite Galopin Des Champs.


Engaged in a private battle with Galopin Des Champs last year, until his mighty effort took its toll up the hill. Has seven lengths to find and it looks too big a gap to bridge on this season’s form, despite Paul Nicholls’ pre-race optimism that he can be a greater force in the spring.

Corach Rambler

Oozed class in the Grand National and has become a horse of a lifetime for his small syndicate and Lucinda Russell. Case can be made on his fast-finishing Ultima effort over Fastorslow, plotting his second route to the Festival winners’ enclosure. Runner-up gave him 4lb on that occasion though and has turned in lacklustre efforts since his Aintree career high.


Thwarted by Corach Rambler’s meandering late burst in handicap company a year ago, his second Festival defeat by a photo finish margin. Hit the heights to surprise Galopin Des Champs in the Grade One Punchestown Gold Cup, but could not keep tabs on him at the finish in his warm up race. Has the form to get involved, stamina for three and a quarter miles is a question mark.

Galopin Des Champs

Bids to become the ninth horse to win more than one Gold Cup, an achievement on Willie Mullins’ CV with 2019 and 2020 victor Al Boum Photo. Stated his case for a repeat with a 23-length Savills Chase romp from Gerri Colombe and had Fastorslow off the bridle in the Irish Gold Cup. Puts plenty into his races and might not be able to obtain such a favourable in-running position in an interesting renewal.


Not seen since jumping extremely well for a horse of limited experience in the Charlie Hall. Slow ground was blamed for Bravemansgame’s loss, however it was a career best and handler Mouse Morris took this with War Of Atrrition in 2016. Could make the frame at a price.

Gerri Colombe

The first string of owners Robcour, out to banish the memory of his frustrating Brown Advisory setback, when the leaders got away from him. All about stamina for trainer Gordon Elliott, successful with Don Cossack in 2016. Looks tailor-made for this test and although hammered by Galopin Des Champs on home turf, has had a 78-day break to come right. The main query is whether he can get away on the landing side of his fences quick enough to threaten for the top spot.

Jungle Boogie

Rating of 152 gives him 17lb to find with Galopin Des Champs and that sums his chance up.


Hit and miss after sustaining an injury, putting a laboured Punchestown Festival effort behind him to make his Grade Two comeback over hurdles. Form is nothing special and at the age of ten, would have had a better chance in the Stayers Hurdle, but there is only one Gold Cup.


Finished the Welsh National in splendid isolation when the ground was a bog at Chepstow. Shouldn’t have the speed or class to keep in contention at crucial stages of this.

The Real Whacker

A dream Festival winner for Paddy Neville’s small stable and his owner David Mann, known for his colourful outfits. Will be some celebration if he can produce a career best. Some way short on his Cotswold Chase display and a first-time visor will have to spark major improvement.


1 L’Homme Presse

2 Galopin Des Champs

3 Gerri Colombe

Unbeaten juvenile SALVER can serve it up to the Irish in Cheltenham’s opening contest on Gold Cup day. Gary Moore’s mudlover has racked up four straight victories ahead of the JCB Triumph Hurdle (1.30). One of four British hopes, after the withdrawal of hotpot Sir Gino, Motivator’s son will be suited by rain forecast for the final Festival card.

His trainer, luckless when Goshen tripped with this at his mercy in 2020, is owner Keith Graves’ first horse. And with a Grade Two at Chepstow in the bag, Salver is tough enough to play a leading role in National Hunt’s top tier. A total of 22 runners go to post for the BetMGM County Handicap Hurdle (2.10) – but there are only a handful of realistic winners.

KING OF KINGSFIELD is an obvious choice, with his Grade One third to Ballyburn and Slade Steel looking even better by the fixture’s mid-point. From a mark of 140, he is Ryanair chief Michael O’Leary’s leading Cheltenham hope after Delta Work’s cross country hat-trick bid was foiled by the weather.

The owner’s Gigginstown colours he shares with brother Eddie will also be worn by SAMCRO‘s St. James’s Place Festival Hunters’ Chase (4.10) rider. Rated on a par with It’s On The Line and Ferns Lock, who dominate the market, Gordon Elliott has saddled my pick to a brace of Grade One victories here.

After competing at a high level for most of his career, several successful spins in point-to-points have reignited his spark. And while not the force of old, this looks an ideal comeback scenario with amateur Tom Hamilton taking the reins. Rachael Blackmore’s partner Brian Hayes can join her on the scoreboard with Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle (2.50, Nap) fancy LECKY WATSON.

The outsider of Willie Mullins’ quartet was outpaced in the Grade One Lawlor’s Of Naas Novice Hurdle behind Readin Tommy Wrong and is crying out for a step up in trip. Runner-up to Supreme hero Slade Steel at Navan previously, the slowest novice race this week should help his jumping.

Johnnywho – a half brother to Doing Fine who did his best work beyond three miles – is a value bet for each-way backers. His owner JP McManus is represented by two runners in the Mrs Paddy Power Mares’ Chase (4.50, nb), last year’s Grand Annual runner-up Dinoblue atop betting lists.

Mark Walsh’s mount has profited plenty since, but so has LIMERICK LACE, trained by Gavin Cromwell. She receives 5lb from the favourite and had a Doncaster Listed Mares Chase wrapped up with several fences to jump – the sign of a good horse. Gordon Elliott loves to win the Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle (5.30) and BETTER DAYS AHEAD is the stable’s number one.


1.30 Salver

2.10 King of Kingsfield

2.50 Lecky Watson

3.30 L’homme Presse 

4.10 Samcro

4.50 Limerick Lace

5.30 Better Days Ahead

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