Nick Scholfield gives his thoughts on the contenders for the Cheltenham Gold Cup in March
It’s always tough to look too far ahead and when you go through the Gold Cup market it’s easy to make a case for any of the top five or six. Certainly, this time last year I wouldn’t have been able to pick out Sizing John with too much confidence and just look what he went on to achieve!
The form he showed at the backend of last season clearly makes him the one to beat but you have an interesting mix of the older and new generation of horses who will be wanting to take his crown in March.
Of the new generation you can’t ignore the form shown by Nicky Henderson’s Might Bite. He’s an incredible looking horse who put in two huge performances at Cheltenham and Aintree last year. He has shown signs of quirkiness but he’s with the perfect trainer and if he can keep him sound he has to be a real contender. The time he was in the process of posting at Kempton last season before falling at the last was really quick and you’d have to say he has improved bundles since then too so I can’t wait to see him back there in December for the King George.
It seems a long time ago since we were heralding Thistlecrack as the next chasing superstar but he was just that after winning last season’s King George on just his fourth start over fences. He lost nothing in defeat to Many Clouds on his last start and if he can come back anywhere near the same horse he was before he picked up his injury then he’d be hard to ignore.
Finally, for the old guard you have former winner Coneygree. I thought he ran a huge race last time out at Punchestown and all the vibes are that connections are confident they have him back somewhere near his best. He looks set to run at Wetherby on Saturday where he escapes a penalty and the romantic in me would love to see him back in the winners’ enclosure.
As I said, you could easily add another four or five to the mix and I’m just looking forward to seeing them all in action over the coming weeks and seeing how the Gold Cup picture changes from here until the Festival in March.