In a wide-open Cheltenham Gold Cup the proven stamina of Elegant Escape makes the Welsh Grand National winner a good value each-way bet at 25-1.
ELEGANT ESCAPE – 25-1 with William Hill. 3.30pm Cheltenham Friday 15th March
Thirty six horses remain in the mix at the latest forfeit stage for the Magners Cheltenham Gold Cup next month headed by last year’s RSA Novices’ Chase winner Presenting Percy and reigning champion Native River. The former is no bigger than 11-4 to give trainer Patrick Kelly his first victory in chasing’s championship contest while Native River is a best price 11-2 with William Hill in their latest Cheltenham betting odds to become the first horse to record back-to-back wins in the great race since Best Mate earlier this century.
After the Kauto Star / Denman era each Gold Cup has produced a different winner and this year’s renewal looks as open as ever with as many as ten horse priced at 20-1 or less. It is a horse just outside of that bracket however who could prove the value bet of the race at the 25-1 available with William Hill, namely the Colin Tizzard-trained Elegant Escape. While the Gold Cup is a good mile shorter than the Grand National the race is usually run at such a pace that stamina is the most important factor, something the son of Dubai Destination possesses in abundance.
A decent novice hurdler and chaser the seven-year-old has really come into his own this season. A hard-fought win at Sandown on his seasonal reappearance was followed by a creditable second in the valuable Ladbroke Trophy at Newbury behind stablemate Sizing Tennessee. A visit to Chepstow next for the stamina-sapping Coral Welsh Grand National saw the mount of Tom O’Brien in the best possible light with a cosy victory under a big weight.
Sent to Cheltenham for his most recent start in the BetBright Trial Cotswold Chase Elegant Escape became outpaced four out on the good to soft ground as eventual winner Frodon quickened the pace. But stayed on to such effect in the closing stages that only three quarters of a length separated the first two passing the post. With a stronger, more even pace expected in the Gold Cup and softer conditions Elegant Escape is sure to be staying on at the finish and should make the frame at the very least at a big price.
Here's Frodon's impressive victory, seeing off Elegant Escape in the BetBright Trial Cotswold Chase at @CheltenhamRaces— ITV Racing (@itvracing) January 28, 2019
Paul Nicholls is now targeting the Cheltenham centrepiece over the Ryanairhttps://t.co/jJCgHoNOlC
Does Frodon have what it takes to be a Gold Cup winner? pic.twitter.com/xFLA67Dlkz