We are just over a week away from the world of horse racing gathering in Gloucestershire for one of the highlights in the calendar, the Cheltenham Festival. The buzz has been growing over the past few weeks and everyone cannot wait for what this year’s showcase has in store.
There are going to be plenty of superstar horses on show in the likes of Constitution Hill, A Plus Tard and Galopin Des Champs among others, but there is one horse who is heading into the festival much-improved from his ninth place finish in the Handicap Chase a year ago - Noble Yeats.
That’s right, last year’s triumphant 50/1 Grand National winner owned by the Waley-Cohen family, who gave jockey Sam Waley-Cohen the greatest of last hurrahs in the saddle at Aintree last April. The eight-year-old gave a stunning performance to win in Liverpool after delivering a brilliant second half to the race, which saw him pass the winning post as he held off a late challenge from Any Second Now to win by just over two lengths.
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Now retired, Sam rode Noble Yeats for the first time at Cheltenham last year after his father, Robert, purchased the horse from Paul Byrne. He told the Racing Post over the weekend how much Noble Yeats has improved since that ride in the Handicap Chase and that it stems from the victory at the Grand National.
Noble Yeats is preparing for a crack at becoming a Cheltenham Gold Cup winner next Friday and given his recent runs which saw him claim victories at Aintree and Wexford, and a third-place finish at Cheltenham back in January, he has shown a lot of promise for a good run in the four-day meeting’s showpiece.
While a lot of attention has been paid to favourite Galopin Des Champs, trained by Willie Mullins, you get the feeling Noble Yeats has been overshadowed in the build-up, despite being priced as fourth favourite at 7/1. Given the energy levels he showed in the Grand National in April, there are no reservations about Noble Yeats staying in the Gold Cup next week, it’ll be a case of how handles himself over the fences and dealing with the hill.
This year’s Gold Cup is shaping up to be an interesting battle and it is a tough one to call at this stage, even with favourite Galopin Des Champs being in fine form himself. Should Noble Yeats go on to win the Gold Cup at the festival, he would become the first horse since L’Escargot to win both the Grand National and the Gold Cup. A lot of people will be rooting for the Emmet Mullins-trained star in a bid to witness another fine piece of Cheltenham history.
*18+ | BeGambleAware | Odds Subject To Change | Non Runner No Bet