Three past winners among bumper 43 entries announced for 2019 Magners Cheltenham Gold Cup

 

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There are a bumper 43 entries (the highest number since 2007) for the 2019 Magners Cheltenham Gold Cup, staged over an extended three and a quarter miles on the fourth and final day of The Festival™ presented by Magners, Gold Cup Day, Friday, March 15.
The entries include a record 24 from Ireland. With a prize fund of £625,000, the Magners Cheltenham Gold Cup is the richest non-handicap chase staged in Britain and sponsored by Magners for the first time in 2019.
Three of the last four winners of chasing’s Blue Riband feature among the entries in 2019 – last year’s hero Native River (Colin Tizzard), 2017 victor Sizing John (Jessica Harrington) and Coneygree (Mark Bradstock), who became the first novice to win the contest in 41 years when successful in 2015.
Native River gamely defeated Might Bite (Nicky Henderson) by four and a half lengths in 2018 after finishing third to the Irish-trained Sizing John the year before.
In two outings so far this season, Native River finished second in the G1 Betfair Chase at Haydock Park in November, going down by four lengths to Bristol De Mai (Nigel Twiston-Davies), and then came third behind Clan Des Obeaux (Paul Nicholls) and stablemate Thistlecrack in the G1 32Red King George VI Chase at Kempton Park on Boxing Day.
Native River and Thistlecrack, along with last month’s G3 Coral Welsh Grand National hero Elegant Escape, are Colin Tizzard’s three entries in the 2019 Magners Cheltenham Gold Cup. Joe Tizzard, assistant to his father who trains on the Dorset/Somerset border, reported: “Thistlecrack will go straight to the Gold Cup. He hasn’t got there yet in his career, but he deserves to get there.
“With Native River, we haven’t definitely decided, but quite possibly he will turn up in the Denman Chase (Newbury, February 9) and then on to the Gold Cup to defend his crown.
“We will see how he is in the next few weeks and make a decision off the back of that. It is usually a small field at Newbury but, more importantly, the timing is right as it is a month before Cheltenham. We were very pleased with him at Kempton as he stayed on really strongly. It was a good run given it was going right-handed and the track was against him.
“We were really pleased with both Native River and Thistlecrack at Kempton and they have both just been ticking along since.
“Elegant Escape also has an entry for the Gold Cup and that is almost certainly the way we will be looking, and hoping there will be a bit of cut in the ground. He will also have a Grand National entry.
“It is difficult to know what to do with Elegant Escape next. He is rated 159 now and needs to find a bit more to be competitive in a Gold Cup, but if we are going to have a big spring campaign with him and run in all the big Festivals, then it doesn’t do them any harm to just freshen him up for a month after running in a Ladbrokes Trophy and a Welsh National.”
The grey Bristol De Mai, owned by Simon Munir and Isaac Souede, fell at the ninth fence in the 32Red King George VI Chase.
Nigel Twiston-Davies, who landed the Magners Cheltenham Gold Cup in 2010 with Imperial Commander, reported: “Bristol De Mai is in good form at home.
“After his fall at Kempton, he was a bit bruised but not too bad and has been cantering away since.
“There is a possibility he could go to Haydock and run over hurdles in the Rendlesham Hurdle (3m, G2, February 16) to give him a confidence booster and then on to the Gold Cup. Cheltenham Trials Day (January 26) will probably come a bit too quickly and I am not sure about running in the Denman Chase either.”
Currently heading the ante-post market for the Magners Cheltenham Gold Cup isPresenting Percy (Patrick Kelly), one of the record number of Irish-trained entries. Presenting Percy is seeking a three-timer at The Festival™ presented by Magners, having taken the Pertemps Network Final Handicap Hurdle in 2017 and the G1 RSA Novices’ Chase in 2018. He has yet to start so far this season, with connections waiting for softer ground and the Galmoy Hurdle (January 24) at Gowran Park later this month could be his first run back.
The Magners Cheltenham Gold Cup is one of the few the races to have eluded Willie Mullins – he has saddled six seconds – but Ireland’s champion Jump trainer has the most entries of any handler in 2019 with nine engaged. Among the Mullins-trained entries is G1 Savills Chase winner Kemboy, lightly-raced recent Listed scorer Al Boum Photo, 2018 G1 Punchestown Gold Cup winner Bellshill, last season G2 National Hunt Chase scorer Rathvinden and Total Recall, who took the valuable Ladbrokes Trophy at Newbury in 2017.
Mullins’ main rival in Ireland, Gordon Elliott, won the Magners Cheltenham Gold Cup in 2016 with Don Cossack and his seven entries this year include last season’s G1 JLT Novices’ Chase winner Shattered Love. Other Irish-trained contenders include last year’s third and fourth, Anibale Fly (Tony Martin) and Road To Respect (Noel Meade).
No current trainer has a better record in the Magners Cheltenham Gold Cup than Paul Nicholls, who has taken chasing’s championship four times, thanks to See More Business (1999), Kauto Star (2007 & 2009) and Denman (2008). His four 2019 entries are headed by 32Red King George VI Chase winner Clan Des Obeaux and also include Cheltenham specialist Frodon, the lightly-raced Give Me A Copper and prolific winner Black Corton.
Champion British Jump trainer Nicky Henderson is responsible for three entries. In addition to Might Bite, Henderson has also put in Valtor, an impressive winner on his UK debut in a Listed handicap chase at Ascot in December, and Terrefort, runner-up in the 2018 JLT Novices’ Chase before winning an Aintree G1.
There is a scratchings’ deadline for the Magners Cheltenham Gold Cup on February 12, with the details revealed the following day. The six-day confirmations and £31,250 supplementary entry stage happen on March 9.
Magners Cheltenham Gold Cup
Grade 1, £625,000 Total Prize Fund. 3.30pm,Cheltenham, Friday, March 15, 2019. Three miles, two and a half furlongs (3m 2f 70y). For 5yo+ who are allotted a rating of 130 or more by the BHA Head of Handicapping following a review of the horses entered and after taking account of races run up to and including the day prior to confirmation. Horses who are not qualified for a rating in GB, IRE or FR may also be entered & such horses may be eligible providing the Handicapper is satisfied that the horse’s racecourse performances up to and including the day prior to confirmation would merit a minimum rating of 130 (the decision of the BHA Head of Handicapping shall be final). Weights: 5yo 11st 8lb, 6yo+ 11st 10lb. Allowances: mares 7lb. Entries closed Tuesday, January 8, entries revealed Wednesday, January 9 (43 entries), scratchings’ deadline Tuesday, February 12, £31,250 supplementary entry stage & six-day confirmation stage Saturday, March 9. Final 48-hour declaration stage, 10.00am, Wednesday, March 13. Maximum number of runners – 24.
Horse
Age
Owner
Trainer
ACAPELLA BOURGEOIS (FR)
9
Slaneyville Syndicate
Willie Mullins IRE
AL BOUM PHOTO (FR)
7
Mrs J Donnelly
Willie Mullins IRE
AMERICAN (FR)
9
The Jago Family Partnership
Harry Fry
ANIBALE FLY (FR)
9
J P McManus
Tony Martin IRE
BALKO DES FLOS (FR)
8
Gigginstown House Stud
Henry de Bromhead IRE
BELLSHILL (IRE)
9
Andrea & Graham Wylie
Willie Mullins IRE
BLACK CORTON (FR)
8
The Brooks, Stewart Families & J Kyle
Paul Nicholls
BLAKLION
10
S Such & CG Paletta
Nigel Twiston-Davies
BRISTOL DE MAI (FR)
8
Simon Munir & Isaac Souede
Nigel Twiston-Davies
CLAN DES OBEAUX (FR)
7
Mr & Mrs P Barber, G Mason, Sir A Ferguson
Paul Nicholls
CONEYGREE
12
The Max Partnership
Mark Bradstock
DEFINITLY RED (IRE)
10
Phil & Julie Martin
Brian Ellison
DON POLI (IRE)
10
Gigginstown House Stud
Gordon Elliott IRE
DOUBLE SHUFFLE (IRE)
9
Crossed Fingers Partnership
Tom George
ELEGANT ESCAPE (IRE)
7
J P Romans
Colin Tizzard
FRODON (FR)
7
P J Vogt
Paul Nicholls
GIVE ME A COPPER (IRE)
9
Done, Ferguson, Kyle, Mason & Wood
Paul Nicholls
INVITATION ONLY (IRE)
8
Andrea & Graham Wylie
Willie Mullins IRE
KEMBOY (FR)
7
Supreme Racing/Brett Graham/Ken Sharp
Willie Mullins IRE
KILLULTAGH VIC (IRE)
10
Rose Boyd/B Anderson/Mrs M Armstrong
Willie Mullins IRE
MALA BEACH (IRE)
11
Chris Jones
Gordon Elliott IRE
MIGHT BITE (IRE)
10
The Knot Again Partnership
Nicky Henderson
MINELLA ROCCO (IRE)
9
J P McManus
Jonjo O’Neill
MISTER WHITAKER (IRE)
7
Tim Radford
Mick Channon
MONALEE (IRE)
8
Barry Maloney
Henry de Bromhead IRE
MONBEG NOTORIOUS (IRE)
8
Gigginstown House Stud
Gordon Elliott IRE
NATIVE RIVER (IRE)
9
Brocade Racing
Colin Tizzard
NOBLE ENDEAVOR (IRE)
10
Chris Jones
Gordon Elliott IRE
OUTLANDER (IRE)
11
Gigginstown House Stud
Gordon Elliott IRE
PRESENTING PERCY
8
Philip Reynolds
Patrick Kelly IRE
RATHVINDEN (IRE)
11
Ronnie Bartlett
Willie Mullins IRE
ROAD TO RESPECT (IRE)
8
Gigginstown House Stud
Noel Meade IRE
SHATTERED LOVE (IRE)
8
Gigginstown House Stud
Gordon Elliott IRE
SIZING JOHN
9
Ann & Alan Potts Limited
Jessica Harrington IRE
SNOW FALCON (IRE)
9
Patricia Hunt
Noel Meade IRE
TERREFORT (FR)
6
Simon Munir & Isaac Souede
Nicky Henderson
THE STORYTELLER (IRE)
8
Mrs Pat Sloan
Gordon Elliott IRE
THISTLECRACK
11
John and Heather Snook
Colin Tizzard
TOTAL RECALL (IRE)
10
Slaneyville Syndicate
Willie Mullins IRE
TOUT EST PERMIS (FR)
6
Gigginstown House Stud
Noel Meade IRE
VALTOR (FR)
10
Simon Munir & Isaac Souede
Nicky Henderson
YALA ENKI (FR)
9
Hills of Ledbury (Aga)
Venetia Williams
YORKHILL (IRE)
9
Andrea & Graham Wylie
Willie Mullins IRE
 
43 entries
24 Irish-trained
Breakdown of Entries by Trainer
 
9 entries
Willie Mullins IRE - Acapella Bourgeois, Al Boum Photo, Bellshill, Invitation Only, Kemboy, Killultagh Vic, Rathvinden, Total Recall, Yorkhill
 
 
7 entries
Gordon Elliott IRE - Don Poli, Mala Beach, Monbeg Notorious, Noble Endeavor, Outlander, Shattered Love, The Storyteller
 
 
4 entries
Paul Nicholls - Black Corton, Clan Des Obeaux, Frodon, Give Me A Copper
3 entries
Nicky Henderson - Might Bite, Terrefort, Valtor
Noel Meade IRE - Road To Respect, Snow Falcon, Tout Est Permis
Colin Tizzard - Elegant Escape, Native River, Thistlecrack
2 entries
Henry de Bromhead IRE - Balko Des Flos, Monalee
Nigel Twiston-Davies - Blaklion, Bristol De Mai
1 entry
Mark Bradstock - Coneygree
Mick Channon - Mister Whitaker
Brian Ellison - Definitly Red
Harry Fry - American
Tom George - Double Shuffle
Jessica Harrington IRE - Sizing John
Patrick Kelly IRE - Presenting Percy
Tony Martin IRE - Anibale Fly
Jonjo O’Neill - Minella Rocco
Venetia Williams - Yala Enki
G1 Magners Cheltenham Gold Cup Facts & Figures
 
Background Information
The G1 Magners Cheltenham Gold Cup is the most valuable non-handicap chase in Britain. The total prize money for the 2019 running is £625,000, with £351,687 to the winner and prize money down to the eighth home. Magners is the new sponsor in 2019, succeeding Timico (2016-2018). Betfred (2012-2015) inherited the sponsorship after taking over the Tote which backed the race from 1980. Piper Champagne was the first sponsor, between 1975 and 1979.
The initial Cheltenham Gold Cup was a three-mile Flat race in 1819, won by Mr Bodenham’s Spectre. The chase, as we now know it, was introduced in 1924, when Red Splash was successful. The winning prize money then was £700. The 1924 Gold Cup trophy, acquired by Cheltenham Racecourse in 2018 after being kept in a bank vault for years, will be presented to the winning connections of the 2019 Magners Cheltenham Gold Cup. The 2019 winning owner will receive a replica of the original Cheltenham Gold Cup to keep, with the 1924 Cheltenham Gold Cup, the new perpetual trophy, remaining on display at Cheltenham Racecourse.
Biggest Field
The joint biggest Cheltenham Gold Cup field ever was in 2006, when 22 runners went to post.Since the chase was first run in 1924, there has only been one other renewal with more than 18 runners – in 1982 when Silver Buck defeated 21 rivals. The maximum field allowed is 24.
Multiple Winners
In the Cheltenham Gold Cup’s history, seven horses have won the race more than once. Golden Miller holds the record for the most Gold Cup victories, with five consecutive wins from 1932-36. The other horses with two or more successes have been Kauto Star, who took the spoils in 2007 and 2009 and is the only horse to ever regain the Gold Cup, Best Mate (2002/03/04), L’Escargot (1970/71), Arkle (1964/65/66), Cottage Rake (1948/49/50) and Easter Hero (1929/30).
Most Successful Owner
Golden Miller’s owner, Dorothy Paget, has been the most successful owner in the race with an amazing seven victories, with Roman Hackle (1940) and Mont Tremblant (1952) adding to Golden Miller’s five wins.
Most Successful Trainer
The most successful trainer has been Tom Dreaper, who won five Gold Cups with three horses, namely Prince Regent (1946), Arkle (1964, 1965 and 1966) and Fort Leney (1968).
Paul Nicholls is the most successful current handler with four wins from three horses – See More Business (1999), Kauto Star (2007 & 2009) and Denman (2008).
Most Successful Jockey
The most successful jockey has been Pat Taaffe, who recorded four victories on – Arkle (1964, 1965 & 1966) and Fort Leney (1968).
The three most successful current jockeys with two wins each are Ruby Walsh (Kauto Star 2007 & 2009), Barry Geraghty (Kicking King 2005 & Bobs Worth 2013) and Richard Johnson (Looks Like Trouble 2000 & Native River 2018).
Ridden & Trained Winner
Five winning jockeys went on train the Cheltenham Gold Cup winner.
Rode
Trained
Danny Morgan
Morse Code (1938)
Roddy Owen (1959)
Fred Winter
Saffron Tartan (1961), Mandarin (1962)
Midnight Court (1978)
Pat Taaffe
Arkle (1964, 1965, 1966), Fort Leney (1968)
Captain Christy (1974)
Jonjo O’Neill
Alverton (1979), Dawn Run (1986)
Synchronised (2012)
Jim Culloty
Best Mate (2002, 2003, 2004)
Lord Windermere (2014)
 
Mares
A total of four mares have won the Cheltenham Gold Cup – Ballinode (1925), Kerstin (1958), Glencaraig Lady (1972) and Dawn Run (1986).
Longest & Shortest-Priced Winners, Fate Of The Favourites
The longest-priced winner of the Cheltenham Gold Cup has been 100/1 chance Norton’s Coin in 1990.
The shortest-priced winner was Arkle, the 1/10 favourite in 1966. In the 90 runnings, 30 favourites have won -just over 33 per cent.
 
Greys
The only grey Cheltenham Gold Cup winner was Desert Orchid in 1989.
 
Age
The breakdown of winners by age is as follows:
5yo – 3 victories
6yo – 5 victories
7yo – 17 victories
8yo – 22 victories
9yo – 25 victories
10yo – 11 victories
11yo – 5 victories
12yo – 2 victories
Overseas-Trained Winners
The winners of 25 Cheltenham Gold Cups have been trained overseas.
IRELAND (24): Ballinode (1925), Prince Regent (1946), Cottage Rake (1948, 1949, 1950), Knock Hard (1953), Roddy Owen (1959), Arkle (1964, 1965, 1966), Fort Leney (1968), L’Escargot (1970, 1971), Glencaraig Lady (1972), Captain Christy (1974), Ten Up (1975), Davy Lad (1977), Dawn Run (1986), Imperial Call (1996), Kicking King (2005), War Of Attrition (2006), Lord Windermere (2014), Don Cossack (2016) & Sizing John (2017)
FRANCE (1): The Fellow (1994)
Gold Cup/Champion Hurdle Double
Dawn Run is the only horse to have won both the Champion Hurdle and Gold Cup. She was successful in 1984 and 1986 respectively.
Fastest Time
The fastest winning time is 6 minutes 29.7 seconds, set by Long Run in 2011.
 
Did You Know?
A P McCoy’s Champion Hurdle/Cheltenham Gold Cup double in 1997 on Make A Stand and Mr Mulligan was the 11th time that the big-race double has been landed by one jockey in the same year. The other jockeys to have achieved the feat were Dick Rees (1929), Tom Cullinan (1930), Ted Leader (1932), Bill Stott (1933), Gerry Wilson (1935), Aubrey Brabazon (1949 and 1950), Tim Molony (1953), Fred Winter (1961) and Norman Williamson (1995).
Alderbrook and Master Oats in 1995 enabled Norman Williamson and Kim Bailey to join a very select group of jockey and trainer partnerships who have won both the Champion Hurdle and Gold Cup in the same year. The other successful partnerships were Tommy Cullinan and Jack Anthony in 1930, Ted Leader and Basil Briscoe in 1932, Bill Stott and Basil Briscoe in 1933, and Aubrey Brabazon and Vincent O’Brien in both 1949 and 1950.
Michael Dickinson saddled the first five horses home in the 11-runnner 1983 renewal – Bregawn (Graham Bradley – 100/30F), Captain John (David Goulding – 11/1), Wayward Lad (Jonjo O’Neill – 6/1), Silver Buck (Robert Earnshaw – 5/1) and Ashley House (Mr Dermot Browne – 12/1).
Willie Mullins has yet to win the Magners Cheltenham Gold Cup, but has saddled the runner-up on six occasions – Florida Pearl (2000), Hedgehunter (2006), Sir Des Champs (2013), On His Own (2014) and Djakadam (2015 & 2016).
Three of the last five trainers to win the Magners Cheltenham Gold Cup – Jim Culloty (Lord Windermere 2014), Gordon Elliott (Don Cossack 2016) and Jessica Harrington (Sizing John 2017) – did so with their first runner in the race.
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