Cheltenham Festival horse racing tips: Templegate NAP has a massive chance in the Gold Cup
TEMPLEGATE tackles Gold Cup day at Cheltenham confident of finding you some winners.
Read on for our man’s top tips and back a horse by clicking their odds below.
Don’t forget, you can get Rachael Blackmore and A Plus Tard to win the Gold Cup at a crazy 150-1 with William Hill.
A PLUS TARD (3.30 Cheltenham, nap)
Can come back to his best and win another Gold Cup. He was superb in taking this 12 months ago with lots left in the tank. He has run just once since when pulling up in the Lancashire Chase at Haydock.
He was later found to be ill after that puzzling effort and trainer Henry De Bromhead says he has him back to his best. Let’s take him on his word as he comes here fresh with a massive chance.
IMPERVIOUS (4.50 Cheltenham, nb)
She has done nothing but improve this season since going over fences. Colm Murphy’s mare kicked off with a good novice win at Wexford before moving into Grade 2 company at Cork for a smooth success.
She took another step forward when scoring at Punchestown when this trip was ideal. Soft ground would enhance her chances but she can cope if it’s a bit quicker.
BLOOD DESTINY (1.30 Cheltenham, treble)
May not have the Grade 1 form of some of his rivals but he was awesome when destroying the field at Fairyhouse by 18 lengths last time. He is a strong traveller who should be suited by this test and he can take a massive step forward here.
Two other Willie Mullins runners are the threats with Lossiemouth more than capable of bouncing back from defeat at Leopardstown.
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Templegate’s race-by-race verdicts
BLOOD DESTINY may not have the Grade 1 form of some of his rivals but he was awesome when destroying the field at Fairyhouse by 18 lengths last time.
He is a strong traveller who should be suited by this test and he can take a massive step forward here.
Two other Willie Mullins runners are the threats with Lossiemouth more than capable of bouncing back from defeat at Leopardstown.
The trainer was critical of the ride Paul Townend have her that day when she was involved in a barging match just as the pace quickened.
She then had to come very wide and couldn’t make up the ground in time.
She can reverse that form with stablemate Gala Marceau. The latter shouldn’t be written off though as she showed good pace when winning that Grade 1 at the Dublin Racing Festival.
She handles soft and decent ground and is another who should have more to offer.
The Irish champion trainer even has the fourth shortest horse in the betting Zenta.
She looks a step behind the others having made a few novicey errors when taking a Fairyhouse Grade 3 last month.
That was understandable on her first run for the yard and she’ll show more here.
Jupiteur Du Gite is the pick of a sparse British challenge despite pulling rider Jamie Moore’s arms out when sixth in the trial for this here in January.
He needs massive improvement on that to figure.
Jipcot took a Listed contest nicely in France last time and may have been underestimated a little ahead of this debut for Ben Pauling.
He could outrun his odds but this looks a tall order.
The other Mullins runners Je Garde, Gust Of Wind and Cinsa look well short of this level as do the rest of the field.
PIED PIPER can take surely the classiest ever running of the County Hurdle.
He was a good third in the Triumph Hurdle last season before running well on the Flat at Royal Ascot.
He kicked off this season by winning here and he was far from disgraced in the Grade 1 Irish Champion Hurdle last time.
He was less than two lengths behind Honeysuckle there and that form has definitely been franked.
He has an excellent record at Cheltenham and he looks a huge price to make the frame.
Filey Bay has been well backed and with good reason after he went close in the Betfair Hurdle at Newbury.
He wasn’t helped by a couple of bad errors there and will need to jump better.
The horse that beat him that day, Aucunrisque, is three times his price which is slightly puzzling.
He wouldn’t want the ground too soft but can run well again.
The last time Sharjah ran in a handicap he won the 2018 Galway Hurdle and has since taken six Grade 1 prizes.
He was a solid second at Gowran last time and his class can take him close.
Fellow Willie Mullins runner Hunters Yarn has done well this season and had six lengths in hand when winning a Navan Listed contest.
The yard has a fantastic record in this race and he’s open to improvement.
There are a few Brits in with a chance and Gin Coco was a good second in the Greatwood Hurdle here last time. A 4lb rise for that seems fair.
Pembroke is lightly raced and showed promise when second in a Grade 2 here last time. He makes his handicap debut from a fair mark.
First Street was second in this 12 months ago and, despite being 10lb higher this time, he can’t be ruled out.
Winter Fog is yet another Mullins runner with a shout.
He hasn’t run since his Christmas win at Leopardstown and was fourth in the Pertemps Final last year.
THREE CARD BRAG holds a strong hand. He looks to be crying out for this three-mile trip after going well over 2m4f on all three starts this season.
He was beaten in a tight finish for a Naas Grade 2 in December before taking a step forward with a convincing success at Fairyhouse last time. He has more to offer.
His trainer has another good chance with Favori De Champdou. He is unbeaten in three runs since coming back from a year off.
He stepped into Grade 2 company for a smooth success at Limerick and comes here fresh after 80 days off.
He is another who should benefit from this slightly longer distance.
Corbetts Cross did really well to win on the line over an inadequate two miles at Naas last month.
He looked more at home when scoring at this trip earlier looks a massive danger for owner JP McManus.
Embassy Gardens has his sights raised by Willie Mullins after a 35-length minor victory at Thurles.
He didn’t have to get out of first gear there and could be anything.
Dawn Rising looks a massive price after shaping well behind Champ Kiely in a hot contest at Naas last time.
He was doing his best work at the end of the 2m4f trip there and wasn’t helped by meeting some trouble in running.
It would be no surprise to see him take a big step forward for Joseph O’Brien.
Hiddenvalley Lake wasn’t beaten far at Clonmel and the first-time tongue tie could bring improvement.
It’s hard to find a British horse with a viable chance but Rock My Way did win a Grade 2 here last time and could show more tackling this longer distance.
A PLUS TARD can come back to his best and win another Gold Cup.
He was superb in taking this 12 months ago with lots left in the tank.
He has run just once since when pulling up in the Lancashire Chase at Haydock.
He was later found to be ill after that puzzling effort and trainer Henry De Bromhead says he has him back to his best.
Let’s take him on his word as he comes here fresh with a massive chance.
Galopin Des Champs is a worthy favourite after three good wins since his heartbreaking final-fence fall in last year’s Turners.
The question was his stamina and he answered that when winning the Irish Gold Cup by eight lengths last month.
He faces stronger opposition here but there’s every chance he’ll take another step forward.
Bravemansgame is a genuine contender after his impressive King George victory on Boxing Day.
Not many horses do the double but he galloped strongly through the line at Kempton and could well see out this longer trip.
His fantastic jumping will be an asset.
Noble Yeats and Protektorat were both beaten by Ahoy Senor in the Cotswold Chase here last time but it would be no surprise if they finished ahead of him here.
Noble Yeats won the Grand National in style so won’t be wanting for stamina.
Protektorat was brilliant ahead of A Plus Tard at Haydock and his trainer Dan Skelton says he wasn’t fit enough last time.
He should do better here. Stattler warrants respect if he can repeat the form of his Irish Gold Cup second.
That could be good enough to get on the podium.
Minella Indo has won this and was second last year.
That course form means he’s another in with an each-way shout despite his advancing years. Conflated was good in the Savills Chase at Christmas but has stiffer opposition to contend with here.
VAUCELET has a high strike rate under Rules and won the Stratford champion race before finding three miles a little on the short side when just scoring at Down Royal at Christmas.
He will relish this longer trip and won’t mind what the ground does as he won on good and soft.
Billaway was second in this twice before finally getting his head in front last season.
He then got the better of Vaucelet at Punchestown before a below-par comeback run at Thurles.
He was better when scoring at Naas latest and looks the main danger.
Secret Investor has a good chance for Paul Nicholls. He is a Grade 2 winner at best and has made light work of his rivals at Bangor and Kelso this season.
He has to prove his staying power for this trip but there’s every chance he’ll stay and be a threat.
Famous Clermont won easily at Haydock last month.
He has a good engine but can make jumping mistakes which would have to be a worry here.
If he can cross his fences better he’ll be a player.
Chris’s Dream has been in good form in point-to-points having won his past three outings at that level.
He stays well and would love more rain as his best form has come in heavy.
Black Op is a prolific winning pointer who was seventh in the Gold Cup two years ago.
He stays and has an each-way shout.
Not That Fuisse tried to come from a long way back when second at Taunton latest and should appreciate this test of stamina.
Dorking Cock was collared by Vaucelet at Down Royal on Boxing Day when idling badly up the run-in.
That is a worry for him getting up the hill but he has some useful form at this level.
IMPERVIOUS looks watertight. She has done nothing but improve this season since going over fences.
Colm Murphy’s mare kicked off with a good novice win at Wexford before moving into Grade 2 company at Cork for a smooth success.
She took another step forward when scoring at Punchestown when this trip was ideal.
Soft ground would enhance her chances but she can cope if it’s a bit quicker.
Allegorie De Vassy almost put Paul Townend on the floor over the first fence at Thurles but he stayed on board to steer her home by 19 lengths.
It’s a slight worry that she jumps out to the right but she looks classy and will be right there.
Jeremys Flame has done well in small fields and was impressive when taking a Huntingdon Listed race last time.
That was over this sort of trip which she saw out strongly.
She’s not likely to improve at the age of nine but has shown good enough form to make the first three.
Magic Daze jumped superbly when winning over two miles at Naas last month.
She didn’t appear to have a lot left in the tank crossing the line so this longer distance has to be a worry.
Riviere D’Etel was fifth in the Arkle here last season and went close in a Navan Grade 2 before a really poor effort at Carlisle latest.
That’s not the sort of form you want to bring to Cheltenham.
Elimay and Pink Legend were first and second in this last year so it’s a surprise that they come back at such long odds.
The former has been out of sorts but could show more back here while Pink Legend came back to form with a good win at Exeter last time.
We know they both like the track and they could easily outrun their odds.
Zambella was behind Jeremys Flame last time and needs to find her very best to figure.
COOL SURVIVOR takes a big drop in class after finishing a good fourth in a Grade 1 contest at the Dublin Racing Festival.
He was kept out the back there before finishing off well.
Before that, he won well over three miles and his stamina will be a major asset.
He looks on a fair handicap mark and has winning form in a big field so won’t mind the hustle and bustle.
Irish Hill is a live chance for Paul Nicholls. He has won three in a row and had a bit up his sleeve at Ascot last time.
He sees out this trip well and has more to offer with few miles on the clock.
Might I went down in a tight finish here last time over two miles. He went close over this trip at Aintree last season and has a touch of class.
A 3lb rise in the weights looks fair enough.
Imagine won an egg and spoon race before Christmas but has been second three times in decent company since.
He has been kept to two miles so far and there’s every chance he’ll show more over this longer trip.
Iroko held her own in Grade 1 company as a juvenile and has won both starts since going handicapping.
He was particularly impressive with the second of those victories at Wetherby last time.
He hasn’t done his handicap mark any good with a 10lb rise but there should be more to come.
Spanish Harlem has run just three times for Willie Mullins and got home when second over this distance at Thurles.
You would expect him to build on that as such an early stage of his career.
The Irish champion also runs Haxo who loved the mud when scoring at Punchestown. He was a distant sixth in the Ballymore last season so has Festival experience.
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