Cheltenham Gold Cup Runners 2022: All you need to know about the Gold Cup runners

Minella Indo won the Cheltenham Gold Cup last season in tremendous style.
Minella Indo won the Cheltenham Gold Cup last season in tremendous style.

A sensational field of top class chasers will line up for the 2022 Boodles Cheltenham Gold Cup on Friday afternoon, and we take a look at all the runners bidding for glory on the final day of the Cheltenham Festival...

1. Al Boum Photo - P Townend - W Mullins

A shock winner of the 2019 Cheltenham Gold Cup, Al Boum Photo showed it was no struck of luck, as the Willie Mullins-trained raider returned 12 months later to retain his crown in 2020 to join an elite group of dual winners. Unable to land the hat-trick when finishing a gallant third in last year's renewal, Al Boum Photo has taken in his customary prep race at Tramore on New Year's Day, and heads to Cheltenham as a major player on the back of that victory on January 1. Proven at the highest level, Al Boum Photo is sure to run a solid race, and has to be regarded as one of the leading fancies for glory.

2. A Plus Tard - R Blackmore - H De Bromhead

A prominent figure in the betting, Henry De Bromhead's A Plus Tard put up a bold effort when chasing home Minella Indo in the 2021 Cheltenham Gold Cup, and last season's runner-up will attempt to go one better in the 2022 renewal and is arguably the one to beat. He produced a scintillating comeback performance when obliterating a quality field in the Betfair Chase at Haydock Park back in November, but he failed to follow up when just being touched off by Galvin in the Grade 1 Savills Chase. Looking to reverse that form with Gordon Elliott's charge on Friday, A Plus Tard has become a real consistent performer at the highest level, and has a huge chance.

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3. Asterion Forlonge - B Cooper - W Mullins

Asterion Forlonge ended last season with a facile 14-length win in a competitive handicap chase at the Punchestown Festival, so it forced his trainer Willie Mullins' hand to send him into top class company this campaign. Shaping with real promise in the John Durkan at Punchestown, the grey suffered a late unseat when beginning to make his challenge, while there was more jumping heartbreak as he was running a huge race in the King George VI Chase at Kempton on Boxing Day before falling at the last. He completed on his last start, which would've been a confidence booster, but he could only finish a distant fourth in the Irish Gold Cup at Leopardstown, so he will need to improve if he is to play a part here.

4. Aye Right - C Bewley - H Graham & G Rutherford

Third in the Ultima Handicap Chase at the 2021 Cheltenham Festival, Aye Right has improved considerably this season, and he showed his class when bounding to victory in the Rehearsal Chase at Newcastle back In November. Sent into Grade 2 company next time out at Cheltenham's Festival Trials Day, Aye Right was a creditable third behind Chantry House in the Cotswold Chase, and that forced Harriet Graham's hand to let her star nine-year-old line up in the Cheltenham Gold Cup. Sure to be a big price for the blue riband event, Aye Right is a solid stayer and will be looking to pick up the pieces in the closing stages.

5. Chantry House - N De Boinville - N Henderson

Six wins from eight chase starts have launched Chantry House to the top table in the staying chase division, and he heads into this event as a former Cheltenham Festival winner, as he bounded to glory in the Marsh Novices' Chase at last year's National Hunt extravaganza, and he will attempt to replicate that on Friday. He kicked off this season with a win over The Big Breakaway at Sandown, but he then disappointed when pulling up in the King George VI Chase at Kempton Park. Storming back to top form on his return to Cheltenham, Chantry House was a workmanlike winner of the Cotswold Chase in January, and he will need to kick on from that to stand a chance against the leading Irish raiders here.

6. Galvin - D Russell - G Elliott

An elite stayer, Galvin showed his class over fences last season when winning the National Hunt Chase at the 2021 Cheltenham Festival. Now looking to emulate the legendary Native River by going on to win the Cheltenham Gold Cup the following season, Gordon Elliott's Galvin is a leading contender for glory here. A Grade 3 winner at Punchestown in his comeback run, he was then just touched off by Frodon in the Grade 1 Ladbrokes Champion Chase at Down Royal next time out, where he had Minella Indo behind him. He then returned to winning ways with a stunning victory over A Plus Tard in the Savills Chase, and with stamina his forte he's sure to be doing all his best work in the closing stages of what is sure to be an attritional Gold Cup.

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7. Minella Indo - R Power - H De Bromhead

Henry De Bromhead's Minella Indo produced a stunning display to win the 2021 Cheltenham Gold Cup, and the Irish raider, who has also won an Albert Bartlett at the Cheltenham Festival, will attempt to retain the crown he won 12 months ago, and is a leading contender for Grade 1 glory. The Irish raider has an imperious record around the undulations of Prestbury Park, but he has struggled to fire this season, as having been beaten by Frodon and Galvin at Down Royal in his comeback run, he was then a huge disappointment in the King George VI Chase, where he was pulled up. He showed more positive signs when finishing second to Conflated in the Irish Gold Cup at Leopardstown in February, and with this plan all campaign then De Bromhead is sure to relish a return to the Gloucestershire venue.

8. Protektorat - H Skelton - D Skelton

Hugely progressive over fences this season, Dan Skelton's Protektorat is set to spearhead the British challenge in this year's Cheltenham Gold Cup, and having ended last season with a Grade 1 win in the Mildmay Novices' Chase at Aintree last April, he then kicked off this season with a fine second placed finish off top weight in the Paddy Power Gold Cup at Cheltenham in November. Stepping into Grade 2 company next time out, he returned to Aintree to saunter to a runaway victory in the Grade 2 Many Clouds Chase at Aintree, and with more improvement set to come he has to be a fascinating contender here. His stamina will certainly be tested here, but he continues to improve this season, so is an each-way contender at the very least.

9. Royale Pagaille - C Deutsch - V Williams

One contender that will be hoping the heavens open on Cheltenham Gold Cup day is the Venetia Williams-trained Royale Pagaille, who is a proven a mudlark and has stamina in abundance. Having won the Peter Marsh last season, he was sent to the Cheltenham Gold Cup on a winning streak, but he could only finish a distant sixth. Well beaten by A Plus Tard in the Betfair Chase on his comeback run, he then bounced back to winning ways by retaining his Peter Marsh crown to show he is still a top notch chaser. He failed to follow up when second to Eldorado Allen in the Denman Chase at Newbury, but he's an interesting addition to this contest, and can't be discounted, if the ground turns up soft.

10. Santini - N Scholfield - P Gundry

Runner-up in the 2019 RSA Chase, Santini returned to the Cheltenham Festival a year later to finish second behind Al Boum Photo in the 2020 Cheltenham Gold Cup, while under the stewardship of Nicky Henderson. He's struggled to reach those heights in recent times and has since switched to Polly Gundry's yard, and he will be a huge price for this event. Fourth on his first start for Gundry in a handicap chase at Cheltenham, he showed improvement when chasing home Chantry House in the Cotswold Chase on Festival Trials Day, and having shown a real liking to the testing track that is Prestbury Park, he will be looking to finally taste his maiden festival win on the final day of the meeting.

11. Tornado Flyer - D Mullins - W Mullins

A well beaten third in the 2021 Ryanair Chase behind the classy Allaho at last year's festival, Tornado Flyer then had to settle for fifth place on his seasonal reappearance in the John Durkan Memorial Chase, as the Willie Mullins-trained raider was beaten by his stablemate Allaho again. However, he rocketed into the Cheltenham Gold Cup picture with a shock win in the King George VI Chase at Kempton Park on Boxing Day, and not seen since that Christmas success, he will line up as a fresh horse and could be a suprise performer once again in what is a wide open renewal.

Cheltenham Festival 2022
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