Undoubtedly one of the biggest races on the sporting calendar, the 2019 Cheltenham Gold Cup is going to be hotly contested. It is the highlight of the festival and this year will take place on Friday 15th March at 3.30pm. There are plenty of potential runners still in contention. But who has the best chance of taking home the title of Gold Cup Winner?

At this stage there are still 35 entries. Coneygree was retired earlier this month after he failed to return to form. For the remaining runners, connections must then confirm their horse for the Cheltenham Gold Cup six days before the race. Following that, final declarations will be made 48 hours before the race takes place.

However, realistically, only about 15 will actually run in the race. Though the official maximum allowed to race is 24. Plenty of familiar names look set to saddle up including the current race favourite Presenting Percy.

Presenting Percy

Trained by Patrick Kelly, Presenting Percy is currently 3/1 with Bet365 to win the Gold Cup. Winner of the RSA Chase at the festival last season, the eight year old will be looking for his second win of the season and the 11th of his career.

Based on his performances over the last couple of years, he will need the ground to be on the softer side.

Clan Des Obeaux

Following hot on the heals of Presenting Percy in the Gold Cup market is Clan Des Obeaux on odds of 4/1. Trained by Paul Nicholls, this seven year old is having another great season. Co-owned by Sir Alex Ferguson, Clan Des Obeaux is the current King George VI Chase champion. He is also fresh off the back of another great win in the Betfair Denman Chase at Ascot earlier this month.

Nicholls said: “It is now about putting the finishing touches to him to get him to perfection for Cheltenham. Like a lot of horses, it has taken him a while to get to that mature stage, but he is there now.

“Kauto Star was seven when he won his first Gold Cup, and this horse is the same age, so we are very much where we want to be.”

Native River

Last season’s winner, Native River will be returning in the hopes of retaining his Gold Cup title. But if his current form is any indication, he will need something very special to beat out Presenting Percy and Clan Des Obeaux.

He has already run twice this season but the Colin Tizzard trained nine year old, failed to sparkle in either race. There was a second place finish in the Betfair Chase at Haydock by 4L to Bristol De Mai. He then finished a long way off the pace in the King George at Kempton. Connections had to be satisfied with third place but that was more than 13L behind Clan des Obeaux. But you can’t keep a gold cup winner down and odds of 9/2 are currently available with Bet365.

Kemboy

At odds of 9/1 Kemboy is an interesting prospect for an each-way bet. Trained by Willie Mullins, he has an excellent track record with five wins and a second from eight chase starts. He has been working well for Mullins and looks to be one of four entries for the trainer in the race. Al Boum Photo, Invitation Only and Bellshill may very well join him on the day.

Mullins said: “Kemboy put in a huge performance at Christmas in Leopardstown on very good ground.

“If it comes up like that on the fourth day of Cheltenham – which it can – he must have a very good chance.”

The closer race day gets, the better the 2019 Cheltenham Gold Cup picture will become. However, if you are looking for a likely winner then the shorter the odds the better the chance – statistically. In the last 10 renewals of the Gold Cup, four favourites have won the race. And other than Lord Windermere in 2014 (20/1) all of the other winners have gone off at odds of 8/1 or less!