The 2021 Cheltenham Gold Cup betting market has attracted interest all winter and the major players will all receive growing support throughout this year’s Festival.

There will be no punters on course this time, but that won’t stop National Hunt racing’s blue riband event from being just as popular with viewers across television and live stream platforms.

We have analysed the Gold Cup odds and picked out our major contenders to claim glory in the showpiece contest on the final day of the greatest show on turf:

Al Boum Photo

Trainer: Willie Mullins

Steeplechasing’s most prestigious prize has featured some famous multiple scorers, including Arkle, Golden Miller, Best Mate and Kauto Star, and Al Boum Photo would earn a place among the greats if completing a hat-trick of triumphs.

Mullins’ charge does not tend to do anything fancy and there are few frills about his racing style, but the plan again will be to creep quietly into contention and then come home strongly up the hill.

“He’s uncomplicated, he’s very nice to train,” declared Mullins. “He’s got a funny back history, but here he is, a double Gold Cup winner going for his third. We’re very privileged to have him.”

Al Boum Photo reminds us very much of Best Mate, who did the treble between 2002 and 2004, and it will take a good one to get the better of him, so this is very much a worthy favourite in the Cheltenham Gold Cup odds.

Al Boum Photo to win5/2


Trainer: Nicky Henderson

Has always been held in high esteem by connections, who named him after the great AP McCoy, and he came good in fine style when landing last year’s RSA Novices’ Chase courtesy of a thrilling final flourish.

An interrupted campaign this term is not ideal but will at least be fresh following a wind operation and just one promise-packed outing over two miles at Newbury.

“It was an extraordinary performance in the RSA last year,” said Henderson. “I was watching what was going on up front, but then he came back into sight and swept by them. That proved one thing – his stamina.

“His reappearance went well and his jumping at that pace was exceptional. We all came away very happy and he has been fine since.”

Champ to win5/1

A Plus Tard

Trainer: Henry De Bromhead

Has proven he can handle Cheltenham’s undulations via a wide-margin win in the 2019 novices’ handicap chase and then staying on third in the Ryanair 12 months ago.

Stepping up in trip looks a wise move at this stage of the seven-year-old’s career and he finished strongly to land a Grade 1 triumph at Leopardstown at three miles over Christmas.

If Rachael Blackmore can get him into a nice rhythm and conserve some energy for the uphill climb, he has proven he can keep his jumping together under pressure.

A Plus Tard to win6/1

Royale Pagaille

Trainer: Venetia Williams

Very much the dark horse of this season’s leading Cheltenham Gold Cup contenders after starting the season as a novice and with only bits of form to recommend him from his early days in France.

Form students will question the quality of opposition he has beaten in handicap company at Kempton and Haydock but few would argue that he was visually impressive in those races, especially on testing ground in the Grade Two Peter Marsh.

Coneygree took top honours as a novice in 2015 and it would be no surprise to see this striking bay gelding go from relative obscurity to superstar in the space of four months.

Royale Pagaille to win10/1


Trainer: Willie Mullins

Provides Mullins with a useful second string and was the last horse to beat stablemate Al Boum Photo, in the 2019 Punchestown Gold Cup.

Does not have a good record in this race, having unseated his rider at the first fence and finished only seventh in two past attempts, but secured a fourth Grade One prize in last month’s Irish Gold Cup at Leopardstown.

If finally able to transfer his smart Emerald Isle form to Prestbury Park, he has the class to be there or thereabouts.

Kemboy to win12/1


Trainer: Nicky Henderson

Things have not gone to plan for this stunning nine-year-old this term but he deserves a change of fortune more than most, having been placed at the last three Festivals.

After a close second in the 2019 RSA, Santini went down by just a neck to Al Boum Photo in the big one 12 months ago, when doing all his best work in the closing stages.

Henderson hinted he expects another bold showing when stating: “I’m very happy with Santini as it’s been a difficult winter with him. It’s not as if he’s coming in off three wins, but this is what he’s been waiting for.”

Santini to win14/1

Native River

Trainer: Colin Tizzard

Emerged from a titanic battle with Might Bite to win this great race in 2018 and returns at the age of 11 aiming to become the oldest winner since What A Myth in 1969.

Assistant trainer Joe Tizzard commented: “I think the horse is performing every bit as well as when he won a Gold Cup. I think he’s just a bit more ground dependent at this stage.

“Nowadays, he would need a bit of soft ground – just because otherwise, everything would be perhaps too quick for him. With the soft ground, he can just maintain that gallop.

“He’s just a warrior and if he’s got a chance, still close enough at the bottom of the hill, he’ll be doing his best work up it.”

Native River to win14/1


Trainer: Paul Nicholls

Famously landed the 2019 Ryanair Chase under regular rider Bryony Frost and sprang a surprise when scuppering stablemate Clan Des Obeaux’s bid for a third King George on Boxing Day, proving he is Grade One class at three miles.

Having also won the Cotswold Chase two years ago and a Cheltenham handicap on his seasonal return, the trip and track hold no fears for this bold jumper, who will be a popular pick in each-way Gold Cup betting.

Paul Nicholls said: “He loves to be fresh and fit and he loves Cheltenham obviously – I think he’s won there six times. Often on the last day the ground is decent, which would suit him.

“He keeps surprising people. No one ever expected him to win a King George, but if you watch the replay, he won very cosily. He’s in good shape and you know whatever he does, he’s going to give a good account of himself.”

Frodon to win14/1

Minella Indo

Trainer: Henry De Bromhead

Jumping errors have proved costly since stepped up to elite level in Ireland but Cheltenham has also been a happy hunting ground for this gelding before.

He was a 50/1 scorer in the 2019 Albert Bartlett as a novice hurdler and looked all over the winner of last year’s RSA until Champ came out of the clouds to swoop close to home.

“He is in mighty form now and loves Cheltenham – he comes alive over there and his record is brilliant,” said De Bromhead. “He has a real live chance.”

Minella Indo to win14/1

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