Henry de Bromhead must look back at the last couple of Cheltenham Festivals and feel the need to pinch himself. The Irish trainer has enjoyed unparalleled success, winning numerous races across the past two years at Prestbury Park.
The biggest of these came in the Gold Cup, with Minella Indo claiming the title in 2021 before A Plus Tard earned De Bromhead a second successive triumph last year. As the 2023 Cheltenham Festival draws ever closer, the Irishman will have his sights set on a hat-trick, which would be an astonishing achievement.
Let’s take a quick look at the four horses De Bromhead has entered in the Gold Cup this year. It’s unlikely that all of these will take to the line come race day, but nevertheless let’s analyse the chances of each.
A Plus Tard (6/1)
It’s clear that De Bromhead’s best chance of winning a third consecutive Gold Cup lie with A Plus Tard. After finishing second in 2021 to stablemate Minella Indo, A Plus Tard delivered a fine performance last year, with Rachael Blackmore in the saddle. It was a win that made history, with Blackmore becoming the first female jockey to win the Gold Cup.
This year, A Plus Tard is again considered a top favourite for the title in the Cheltenham ante post tips 2023, although Willie Mullins will be hoping that Galopin Des Champs will have a major say in the race. After the success of last year, it’s fair to say that De Bromhead will be hanging a lot of hope on his prized nine-year-old.
Minella Indo (20/1)
What about the winner from two years ago? It was something of a surprise when Minella Indo charged to victory at the behind-closed-doors edition of the Cheltenham Festival in 2021, but an inspired performance from Jack Kennedy in the saddle saw the 9/1 shot triumph.
Minella Indo will line up for the Gold Cup once again this year, and after finishing second in the prestigious race in 2022, there’s no reason why he couldn’t go close once again.
Being a past winner in the Gold Cup can make all the difference when it comes to an outside bet, and it wouldn’t be a great surprise if Minella Indo produced another exemplary performance. A recent win at Tramore is enough to give De Bromhead some hope.
Envoi Allen (66/1)
It will be interesting to see where Envoi Allen rocks up at the Cheltenham Festival, but one option is the Gold Cup, and De Bromhead may fancy the nine-year-old’s chances as something of an outsider.
Prestbury Park hasn’t exactly been a happy hunting ground for Envoi Allen in the last couple of years. An inexplicable fall in the 2021 Marsh Novices’ Chase when heavy odds-on favourite to win the race sent shockwaves through the racing world, before finishing a distant third to Energumene in the Queen Mother Champion Chase last year.
Perhaps a switch to the Gold Cup, and reduced pressure to succeed, could bring the best out of Envoi Allen.