Cheltenham Gold Cup preview: Delta Work appeals most in chasing’s blue riband contest

Published on: March 11, 2020
Author: David Metcalf
2020 Cheltenham Gold Cup preview includes Delta Work

Delta Work looks to hold outstanding claims of providing top Irish handler Gordon Elliott with a second winner of the extended 3m 2f Grade 1 Cheltenham Gold Cup on the final day of the Cheltenham Festival this Friday (15:30).

The County Meath handler saddled fellow Gigginstown House Stud owned Don Cossack to land the spoils in chasing’s blue riband contest in 2016.

Delta Work also carries their famous maroon and white colours of the leading Irish owners and has proven Cheltenham Festival form, having won the 2018 Pertemps Final Handicap Hurdle before finishing a fine staying on third to Topofthegame in the Grade 1 RSA Novices’ Chase last year.

The seven-year-old ran below par on seasonal reappearance when fourth to Road To Respect at Down Royal, but has since bounced back to his brilliant best and landed back-to-back Grade 1 successes.

After getting up close home to beat Monalee by a head in a blanket finish to the Savills Chase at Leopardstown over Christmas, Delta Work confirmed form with Kemboy and Presenting Percy – who came fourth and fifth respectively – to clinch a notable big-race double in the Irish Gold Cup at the same venue.

Perfect profile for Cheltenham Gold Cup double

Jack Kennedy was happy to keep the son of Network just off the pace until creeping into contention three from home going well.

Kemboy then took up the running at the second last, but Delta Work overed the move and forged clear on the run-in to beat Willie Mullins’ inmate by a comfortable 1 1/2 lengths.

It was an emphatic and impressive display. Delta Work was doping all his best work at the finish, so the extra two furlongs of the Cheltenham Gold Cup looks sure to play to his strengths.

Delta Work is also versatile as regards ground, comes into the race right at the top of hsi game, and looks to have the perfect profile for this.

If successful here, he will become the first since Jessica Harrington’s Sizing John in 2017 to complete the Gold Cup double.

Delta Work can be backed at 6/1 with Unibet and is a strong fancy to do just that under Mark Walsh.

Santini favourite after Cotswold success

Santini heads the betting at 4/1 with Betway following an impressive success over Bristol De Mai in the Grade 2 Cotswold Chase on Festival Trials Day here in January.

The Nicky Henderson trained eight-year-old jumped well in the main and tracked Nigel Twiston-Davies’ grey before taking up the running three from home.

Bristol De Mai made a bad mistake at that point, but rallied strongly and looked the likely winner two from home when Sainti clouted that obstacle.

However, jockey Nico de Boinville didn’t panic and Santini regained the lead after the last, before powering up the hill to score by 3 1/2 lengths. It was then 29 lengths back to Top Ville Ben in third.

The form also looks rock solid as Bristol De Mai is a multiple Grade 1 winner who finished a fine third to Al Boum Photo in the Cheltenham Gold Cup 12 months ago

Santini was impressive in disposing of him on just his fifth start over the larger obstacles and it was a huge step up on his seasonal reappearance run when scrambling home at Sandown.

He is a dour stayer who keeps on finding for pressure and those are the ideal attributes for this test. Henderson also reports him to have thrived since.

Another plus is that Santini has run well at this meeting in the past, finishing third in the 2018 Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle and then a fine runner-up to Topofthegame in last year’s RSA where he was just under two lengths in front of Delta Work who came third.

So, with the yard also in fine form, Santini looks a huge player under Nico De Noinville and sure to go well.

Al Boum Photo primed to defend Cheltenham Gold Cup crown

Cheltenham Gold Cup preview: Delta Work appeals most in chasing’s blue riband contest

Willie Mullins, the most successful trainer in the history of the Cheltenham Festival, believes another light campaign for Al Boum Photo is big plus ahead of the defence of his Gold Cup crown.

The Joe and Marie Donnelly owned eight-year-old is bidding to become the first horse since the great Best Mate (2002, 2003, 2004) to win back-to-back editions of jumps racing’s blue riband contest.

He is a 4/1 shot with 888Sport to do just that.

Al Boum Photo came from off the pace 12 months ago, before finding plenty for pressure and staying on strongly to beat Anibale Fly by 2 1/2 lengths and provide Closutton handler Mullins with his first victory in the race following six seconds.

He was then far from disgraced on his final start of the season when beaten two lengths by Kemboy in the Grade 1 Punchestown Gold Cup when he may well have been feeling the effect of his hard race here.

Al Boum Photo has followed the same path to this year’s Cheltenham Gold Cup, with his sole appearance resulting in an easy victory in the Grade 3 New Year’s Day Chase at Tramore when beating stable companion Acapello Bourgeois by six lengths.

The runner-up has since landed the Grade 3 Bobbyjo Chase by 15 lengths, whilst Shattered Love – who finished a further 15 lengths behind in third – has since chased home the progressive Chris’s Dream in a Grade 2 at Gowran Park.

That gives the form a solid look. Al Boum Photo has a 50 per cent strike rate over the larger obstacles having won five of his 10 starts.

A bold bid looks assured, but this looks a stronger renewal that last year, so Al Boum Photo therefore looks opposable at the odds on offer.

Lostintranslation holds each-way Cheltenham Gold Cup claims

Lostintranslation was clearly amiss last time out when pulled-up behind Clan Des Obeaux in the Grade 1 King George VI Chase at Kempton.

He has since undergone a wind operation and looks a huge player, judged on his previous impressive success in the Betfair Chase at Haydock.

The Colin Tizzard trained eight-year-old, who ran a cracker at this meeting last year when chasing home Defi Du Seuil in the JLT, easily took the scalp of defending champion Bristol De Mai in the Grade 1 contest.

A brilliant winner of the valuable 3m prize in each of the previous two seasons, Twiston-Davies’ Bristol De Mai was aiming to become the third three-times winner on Merseyside.

He quickly adopted his usual front-running role in the four-runner contest, and has stable companion Ballyoptic and Frodon under pressure rounding the home turn.

However, halving raced six lengths off the pace in the hands of a confident Robbie Power, it was at this point that and Lostintranslation moved ominously into contention.

He then got in a bit tight at the last two obstacles, but only had to be driven out on the long run-in to assert readily and score by a comfortable 1 1/2 lengths.

Lostintranslation never put a foot wrong throughout. On a line through the runner-up, there is little to split him and Santini.

This galloping track will also suit Lostintranslation who seemed all at sea on the around the tight turns of Kempton.

If bouncing back to the level of form he showed in the Betfair, he looks sure to make his presence felt.

At 13/2 with Ladbrokes, Lostintranslation therefore looks the each-way play in a cracking renewal of the Cheltenham Gold Cup.