The Big Question: Can a long shot win the Cheltenham Gold Cup?
In recent years, the favourites have a good record in the Cheltenham Gold Cup. The last long priced winner was See More Business at 16-1 in 1999.
His victory followed the success of Mr Mulligan (20-1) in 1997 and Cool Dawn (25-1) in 1998. Before that, Garrison Savannah won at 16-1 in 1991 and Norton’s Coin pulled off the biggest shock of all at 100-1 in 1990.
The Giant Bolster nearly pulled off a 50-1 shock in 2012 and was fourth again last year. David Bridgwater’s nine-year-old does not come into the long shot category this year after winning well in first time blinkers last time.
Trainer Venetia Williams has enjoyed a tremendous season and saddles two 66-1 outsiders here in Houblon Des Obeaux and Katenko. The former has won two valuable races at Ascot this season but was only fourth in the Argento Chase.
Houblon Des Obeaux had Triolo D’Alene behind in third in November but the placings were reversed in the Hennessy Gold Cup at Newbury. He jumped poorly on his last start before staying on strongly in the closing stages but this looks a tough assignment.
Katenko was quietly fancied for this race a year ago but suffered an injury and missed the race. He has yet to show his true form this season and his chance will not be helped by the drying ground.
Cloudy Too is an intriguing entry for the Sue Smith stable. He was also well beaten in the Hennessy but bounced back to win the Rowland Meyrick at Wetherby.
He had no answer to Captain Chris at Ascot last time and would need to improve considerably to feature here. Knockara Beau has already done the bookies a favour this season when popping up at 66-1 to end Big Buck’s incredible winning sequence.
He was then beaten six lengths by Long Run at Kelso but the best of his chase form still leaves him with plenty to find. Lord Windermere and Lyreen Legend fought out the finish to the RSA Chase last season but have not progressed.
Perhaps the most likely to pull off a shock is Grand National favourite Teaforthree. He put in an eye-catching run when beaten by Restless Harry at Ascot and will enjoy the faster ground.