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The Big Race – Cheltenham Gold Cup 2022

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There are bigger purses on offer elsewhere, there are even much newer events around the world, but there is nothing in horse racing that compares to the Cheltenham Gold Cup, which is widely regarded as one of the most prestigious equestrian events on the planet. This is an event steeped in British tradition and history, albeit equally famed amongst the plethora of competing Irish trainers and jockeys, having achieved great success over the years.

Just ask anyone who hails from the Emerald Isle about their most cherished race, they will probably tell you it’s the Cheltenham Gold Cup, which is hardly surprising when taking their exceptional record at this event into account. Indeed, seven of the last ten winners were the product of Irish trainers, while most of those previous champions also featured Irish jockeys in the saddle.

But beyond the Irish connection of recent decades, history is what inevitably makes this one of the most popular horse racing events on the global calendar, often attended by royalty from Britain and beyond. This is an event which boasts a unique and unrivalled atmosphere of its own, putting this corner of the English countryside firmly on the world map, even if it’s just for the third weekend of March each year.

Cheltenham Legends

To this day, people still mention the names of yesteryear who achieved greatness in the Cheltenham Gold Cup, all enshrined in the Hall of Fame at the Jockey Club:

In the entire history of the Cheltenham Gold Cup, no horse enjoyed more success than a mythical thoroughbred named Golden Miller. This remarkable creature set a benchmark which is never likely to ever be repeated, winning five races in a row during the 1930’s, much to the delight of his owner Dorothy Paget. She also retains the record of total wins with seven thanks to winners in 1940 and 1952.

Other impressive records are tied to another magnificent horse from the Swinging Sixties, when Arkle was the name on everyone’s lips. He was ridden to three consecutive Cheltenham Gold Cup wins between 1964 and 1966, each time with Irish National Hunt jockey Pat Taaffe in the saddle, who also rode another winner in 1968. Arkle was trained by Irish steeplechase specialist Tom Dreaper, providing three of his total of five career Gold Cup triumphs.

Throughout each era, the greatest National Hunt competitors have always featured in the Cheltenham Gold Cup, whether jockeys and trainers, horses and their owners, all irresistibly drawn to the spectacle and prestige. While this race may no longer offer one of the highest purses, what it does retain is utterly priceless, and that’s the consistent appeal of attracting the very best in the global National Hunt racing scene.

Even those who don’t particularly follow horse racing in detail, will undoubtedly have heard of champions including L’Escargot from the 1970’s or Desert Orchid in the 1980’s. At the turn of the 21st century and with the traditions of greatness preserved, Best Mate earned three consecutive Cheltenham Gold Cup victories.

Then in recent years Kauto Star won in 2007, finished second in 2008, then triumphed again in 2009, before Al Boum Photo won back-to-back races in 2019 and 2020, then finished third last year. The French-born and Irish trained gelding emerged from the stables of Willie Mullins, who is one of the most successful at his trade in the business.

Focus on the 2022 Favourites

There are plenty of outstanding thoroughbreds entered for the Cheltenham Gold Cup 2022, which means we will be treated to a phenomenally competitive race. 2021 winner Minella Indo will seek to a repeat victory, while those who placed in the top three are also running again, and tipped for potential success. This includes A Plus Tard, who finished just over a length behind in second last year, along with Al Boum Photo in third, following his triumphs in 2019 and 2020. BBC Sport is already billing the race this year as a rematch: https://www.bbc.com/sport/horse-racing/60711626

Leading the betting stakes ahead of the race this year is A Plus Tard, although Galvin trained by Gordon Elliott is also tipped at joint-favourite odds with most bookies. Amongst the strongest challengers, reigning champion Minella Indo is priced just slightly behind, while Protektorat is also regarded as one to watch. Impossible to ignore for obvious reasons, Al Boum Photo is competing yet again and if the stars align, there’s every chance he could grab a third career win.

Whichever direction you are leaning when deciding which horse to back, it always makes good sense to get a genuine comparison of the odds available. This is why SBO has produced a complete guide to the best horse racing betting sites, covering all the different kinds of bets available, expert information to keep you informed, plus tips aimed at helping you win. Detailed reviews are also available for each bookmaker, along with all their latest promotions. All reviews at SBO can be found at https://www.sbo.net/horse-racing/.

Given the strength of competition, it certainly looks as though the Cheltenham Gold Cup 2022 will make for unmissable viewing. Of course, it’s always hard to watch such a prestigious race without having a flutter, although staying sensible and betting responsibly is the best way to keep this fun and entertaining. No matter which thoroughbred you choose to back, enjoy the race and hopefully this will be another historic race.

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