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Soft Going Forecasted For Cheltenham Gold Cup Chase


The Cheltenham Festival showpiece is almost upon us and it’s going to be a very interesting story in this year’s Gold Cup as three former winners return to stake their claim. The going now appears to be one of the biggest stories going into the competition as it appears that 4-5mm of rain is in the forecast for Friday morning and the clerk of the course at Cheltenham has declared that we can likely expect going to be rated as soft should the forecast prove correct.

Imperial Commander clings to his status as the outright betting favourite but he’s lukewarm at a 7/2 price tag. He’s only been out once this year and he’s put in some really credible performances in the past but he flourished over good going last year and could struggle with the softer stuff. He has scored on soft going at Cheltenham, but that was a very weak race back in 2008 when he took the Grade 3 Paddy Power Gold Cup Chase against the likes of Barbers Shop and not much else.

Kauto Star is brought back into the equation by the soft going and, while both of his Gold Cup scores were over good to soft, he has flourished with softer going a number of times in the past - most recently in his seasonal debut in the Champion Chase. If he truly is raring to go, the Nicholls’ yard should have him firing on all cylinders and he looks a snip at 6/1 over softer going. The price certainly looks much more competitive than the 4/5 he went off at last year.

The key for those looking to put a substantial bet on Kauto Star might be to wait to do it in-play as I’d like to see how he handles the first few fences and if he is jumping well then it’s game on dude.

Denman is seeing punters retreat off of him as his price floats up to 13/2. Denman has lots of fans and deserves respect for everything he’s accomplished but he just doesn’t look in top form right now and, at eleven years old, age might be catching up to him. It would be a sight to behold if he could turn back the clock and make a real statement here but the softer going works against him.

Kempes will likely see a gamble on Friday as the Irish will be looking to cap off a very successful (already by the end of day two) festival. Look for him to drop to around 10/1 from his current 12/1 price tag. He could take it but it will be a genuinely special victory. Additionally, AP hasn’t had the grandest of festivals.

Sir Alex Ferguson’s What A Friend captures attention, especially if you’re looking to get into each-way territory. His connections have campaigned him with this race in mind and it’s important to remember that he won the Grade 1 Lexus Chase over softer going. He is versatile and in-form – he looks a snip at 33/1.