Horse Racing

A Plus Tard Odds: Should the Champ get more respect?

Just like that the Cheltenham Festival is almost over. Already we’re on Day Four, and it really has been a case of blink and you’ll miss it. Fear not, though, we have one final day of top-notch racing to get stuck into, and today promises to be a cracker.

The fourth and final day of the festival is the big one. It’s Cheltenham Gold Cup day. There are of course six other fantastic races, but the showpiece event is race four on the card, the race won last year by A Plus Tard. He’s the reigning champ and he’s back to defend his title. However, in the build up to this prestigious race, few people have been talking about his chances.

A Plus Tard Odds

Earlier in the week it looked as though A Plus Tard wasn’t going to be in the first three or even four in the betting. He was beginning to feel like a forgotten horse with quotes of 9/1 flying around. However, things have changed a little since. 9/1 is now a thing of the past.

Early on the morning of the race, most bookmakers have A Plus Tard priced at 9/2, which puts him second in the betting behind the very warm Galopin Des Champs, who is generally a 6/4 shot. Paddy Power seems to respect the 2022 Gold Cup winner a touch more, as they have him at 7/2, while Unibet, Betvictor and Boylesports all go 4/1.

A Plus Tard Gold Cup
Photo by Icon Sport.


If you were on at each-way odds earlier in the week, then it’s fair to say that you’ll now be feeling quite smug, as it looks A Plus Tard is only going one way in the betting on raceday.

Can he defend his crown?

The simplest answer is yes he can. We all know what A Plus Tard is capable of on his day. His quality was there for all to see last season and more fool anyone that thinks Henry de Bromhead can’t ready one to scoop the biggest prize of all two years in a row. That said, the Gold Cup itself looks harder to win this year. The field is bigger, the field is stronger. The competition has certainly stiffened, that’s for sure.

There is of course a question mark over his readiness for the race this time around, while he didn’t exactly look in great shape when last seen in the Betfair Chase at Haydock back in November. The 2022 Gold Cup winner, who remains the highest rated horse in this race, was sent off as the 1/2 favourite for that contest, though he was never travelling smoothly and was pulled up three from the finish. He’s now not been seen for 118 days.

Of course, we shouldn’t forget that he didn’t race much prior to last year’s renewal of this race and we all know how that turned out. The difference is that he won the 2021 Betfair Chase in good style, while his lay-off before the Gold Cup was only 80 days.

At the end of the day, if his handler, who certainly knows how to get one in top-top condition for a race of this nature, has managed to get him back to somewhere near the condition of 12 months ago, then he absolutely cannot be disregarded. The question is with anything but a big price now available, will you chance him after a less than ideal season? For my money, the value lies elsewhere, though that’s not to say I wouldn’t be pleased to see him battle on up the hill on his way to retaining his crown.

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