Cheltenham’s November meeting is always one of the early season highlights of the National Hunt calendar with Saturday’s Gold Cup being the main attraction.
This has always been a famously competitive handicap chase and has provided us with many classic memories over the years but who will come out on top this season?
Read on to find out who we’re backing to win the 2021 renewal of the Cheltenham November Meeting Gold Cup.
November Meeting Gold Cup Betting Tips
The Gold Cup is one of the crown jewels of the UK’s pre Christmas jump racing schedule and the most prestigious race of the three day November Meeting.
The race comes with a prize pool worth £160,000 which helps it to attract some of the best handicap chasers in the sport of kings.
Many of the horses will be getting their first run out of the new jump season in this run out and whose trainers and owners will have been eyeing up this event all summer.
The race, and overall meeting, is also likely offer us some pointers to what we might be able to expect for the rest of the new national hunt season and also at the big festival that takes place here at Prestbury Park next March.
A move in the betting has seen AI Dancer jump ahead of both Protektorat and Lalor who had been ante post co favourites only earlier in the week.
Sam Thomas’ eight year old is back for a second crack at this prize and is rated 5lb lower than when he placed last time out.
He was previously training with Nigel Twiston-Davies but made the switch to the Welsh yard in the summer.
The sky looked the limit for him when he comfortably landed the 2019 Newbury Hurdle for Twiston-Davies, but he has only won two races since.
In total, he has only ever been out over fences in nine out of his 18 rules races so is quite lightly raced for a horse of his age.
Five of his seven wins have come after absences, including his seasonal reappearances in 2018, 2019 and 2020.
Sam Twiston-Davies, who knows Al Dancer better arguably than anyone, will be on board for the run which should encourage plenty of backers.
Sir Alex Ferguson’s Interest
Protektorat goes for Dan Skelton and seems to be a good fit for the race and a class act for this Grade Three feature in general.
The six year old looks to have everything that’s needed for a run that has seen plenty of its runners go on to do well at the Cheltenham Festival.
Sir Alex Ferguson’s Protektorat won here last year in the SSS Super Alloys Supports Racing Welfare Novices’ Chase over course and distance.
That was only his second start over fences, with the first coming at the Festival.
He also won at Aintree’s Grand National Festival back in April, beating The Shunter by nearly four lengths in a victory that followed on from a pair of second place finishes at Wincanton and Kelso respectively.
He makes his seasonal return on Saturday and is very well set to make it a winning one.
Dan Skelton also enters last year’s runner up Spiritofthegames, while his ex boss Paul Nicholls will see his hopes rested on Lalor and Simply The Betts both of whom are recent additions to his yard.
2020 winner Coole Cody returns to retain his title.
Evan Williams’ 10 year old will be among a field of 20 that are set to go to post and, if he wins, will become only the third horse to retain the prize in the race’s history.
Coole Cody beat Spiritofthegames and Al Dancer to win this race last year from 4lb lower than he goes on this year.
That was on his fourth start of the season over fences and, after putting in a preparation run over hurdles here last month where he came second to Guard Your Dreams, he means business again and represents good value at 16/1.
After pulling up on more than one occasion for Kayley Woollacott at the tail end of last season, Lalor is another horse trading trainers having made the switch to the Paul Nicholls’ yard.
He won the Arkle Trophy Trial Novices’ Chase winner at this meet back in 2018 but has not won since.
Lalor has recently undergone a wind surgery which, coupled with his move to the Ditcheat stables and the new training regime that will come with it, might see him revitalised.
Best Of The Rest
The stable’s other new addition, Simply The Betts won the Brown Advisory & Merriebelle Stable Plate Handicap Chase at the Cheltenham Festival back in March.
He goes for the first time since a wind operation and has only had one trip out since the Festival, here on this very track when he came home sixth behind Coole Cody in the Group Three Gold Cup Handicap Chase.
Second in this race last year, he is likely to represent a very different proposition this time around under the guidance of Nicholls and with jockey Bryony Frost on his back.
There are numerous other threats to keep an eye out for in the 20 strong field.
These would include Emma Lavelle’s Manofthemontain; Paul Nicholls’ Spiritiofthegames, Caribbean Boy and 2018 Scottish Champion Hurdle winner Midnight Shadow, the latter of whom ticks all the right boxes of being a Cheltenham winner.
Cheltenham November Meeting Gold Cup 2021 Betting Odds
Al Dancer – 11/2
Protektorat – 13/2
Lalor – 6/1
Zanza – 9/1
Galahad Quest 10/1
Midnight Shadow – 10/1
Caribean Boy – 12/1
Paint The Dream – 14/1
Coole Cody – 16/1
Simply The Betts – 16/1
Assemble – 16/1
Manofthemountain – 18/1
Dostal Phil – 20/1
Spiritofthegames – 22/1
Farinet – 22/1
Funky Dady – 25/1
Belargus – 33/1
Up The Straight – 20/1
Financier – 25/1
Deyrann de Carjac – 33/1
Aso – 40/1
Nietzsche – 16/1
Milanford – 40/1
Francky du Berlais – 50/1