Bravemansgame – Britain’s Big Cheltenham Gold Cup Hope

It is now five years since the Cheltenham Gold Cup remained on British soil. Native River’s 2018 victory was the last time that a British-trained horse won the Cheltenham Festival showpiece, and since then the Irish raiding party have brought the trophy back to the Emerald Isle. 

Irish trainers again hold a strong hand in the 2023 renewal, and if Britain are to stop the rot this year, it may come down to the performance of the Paul Nicholls-trained, Bravemansgame.

At the start” (CC BY-SA 2.0) by Carine06

Can Bravemansgame Bring Home The Gold?

Bravemansgame is one of the new kids on the block in the chasing division of jump racing. The majority of the Cheltenham betting odds have Britain’s main hope priced as the 6/1 second favorite, with Irish chasing superstar, Galopin Des Champs, the only runner ahead of him in the market.

With the fact that just two favorites have won the Gold Cup in the past six years, it may be worth looking past Galopin Des Champs at 6/4 when betting on Gold Cup 2023. Bravemansgame has a similar profile to his Irish rival but has yet to be tested fully against a top-class field.

Having tasted defeat just once in his seven chasing starts to date, Paul Nicholls’ stable star has been impervious thus far this season. Still, the form of his victories can be called into question given the level of ability of his opponents. He has beaten the best that British racing has to offer, but whether he has the class to beat the best of the Irish is still unknown.

British horses have struggled to live with the brilliance of Irish horses and trainers in recent years and the gap seems to be widening between the two nations at a staggering rate.

Paul Nicholls’ Gold Cup History

Chase” (CC BY 2.0) by charlesdyer

With four Gold Cup wins to his name, Paul Nicholls has a strong history with the Cheltenham showpiece. The English trainer has overseen the careers of some of the greatest horses in jump racing history, with two, in particular, having added their names to Gold Cup folklore.

In what was a golden era for Nicholls, both Kauto Star and Denman became both Gold Cup rivals and legends simultaneously. In 2007, Kauto Star finally made it to the top of the jump racing world, but the following season he would have to play second fiddle to his stablemate, and next-door neighbor, Denman.

The pair, who had by now captured the imagination of the public, went head-to-head once again in 2009, where Kauto Star became the first horse to ever regain the Gold Cup.

Incredibly, that was the last time that Nicholls was victorious in the season’s biggest race. He has had some near misses in the intervening years, but Bravemansgame potentially holds the best chance of them all.

It is far too soon to mention this year’s Gold Cup hope in the same breath as the likes of Kauto Star and Denman, but if he can finally bring an end to Britain’s drought in the Cheltenham Festival highlight, he will be well on his way.


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