The day that horse racing fans have been looking forward to since Christmas is almost upon us, Gold Cup Day.
The Cheltenham Festival brings significant benefits to the town and the racing industry – a huge employer in the UK – as a whole.
Gold Cup Day takes place on the Friday of the Cheltenham Festival, and whilst it’s obviously the star race, there are plenty of others which deserve the attention of bettors, including the Triumph Hurdle.
We’ll take a look at the horses leading the market and assess which of them most deserves their spot.
Blood Destiny 7/4
It makes sense to start with the favourite, but in this race, there are two. There’s very little to choose between Blood Destiny and Lossiemouth, and bookmakers tend to agree.
With two short-priced favourites, those wanting to place a bet might find the best value with one of the many Cheltenham free bet offers.
For now, we’re going to take a look at Blood Destiny alone.
All of the leading horses in the betting for the Triumph Hurdle are relatively lightly raced, despite this being a Grade 1 event. Blood Destiny has had just three starts under rules, none of them in England. Last year, the bright chestnut went off in a conditions race in Auteil, where he came a respectable second, losing out by three and a half lengths.
Following this, the gelding made the move overseas to the Mullins yard and has improved in leaps and bounds since. In his first start for Mullins, he won a maiden hurdle in promising fashion, leading the trainer to pop him straight into a conditions hurdle at Fairyhouse. It was in this race that Blood Destiny impressed, cantering home with an 18-length lead.
From his short career, there’s a lot to like about this gelding. He runs perfectly at a distance, has proven himself against some quality horses and acts well on very soft ground. With all the rain we’ve been having, the conditions at Cheltenham couldn’t suit him better.
Lossiemouth is also from the Mullins yard and moved to Ireland from France last year. The pretty grey filly has made four appearances in her career, winning three and coming second in the other. She’s taken part in three juvenile hurdles, winning her first race for Mullins at Fairyhouse by a decisive four and a half lengths and the next at Leopardstown by seven and a half.
In that race at Leopardstown, the fancied Gala Marceau came in second place. However, in her most recent trip to the same course in February, she was beaten two and a half lengths by Gala Marceau.
Whilst some people will be discouraged by this result, she was well boxed in on her last outing, and had she been given a better opportunity, it’s entirely possible that she would have gone on to win.
Like her stablemate, she goes well on soft ground and is certainly one to consider.
Gala Marceau 4/1
Whichever horse crosses the finish line first, it’s likely that Willie Mullins will have trained it.
Next in the betting is Gala Marceau, another horse Mullins brought over from France last year. Unlike her stablemates, Gala Marceau has had a few more starts on the racetrack, having spent her first year running in, and mostly winning, flat races. After this, she was switched to French maiden hurdles and won both with no issues.
Since moving to the Mullins yard, she’s been raced at Leopardstown twice, where she and Lossiemouth have shared first and second place.
The fact she has a bit more form should stand her in good stead, and much as Lossiemouth didn’t have the best shot in her last appearance, it can’t be disputed that Gala Marceau won fair and square.