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Can Skelton or Henderson beat out Irish trainers at Cheltenham Gold Cup?

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The Cheltenham Gold Cup is the biggest prize at Cheltenham Festival and is sought after by all the leading owners, trainers and jockeys who compete in the competition.

Owners and trainers will put their respective charges through their paces over the course of the National Hunt season in a bid to prepare them for the ultimate challenge of winning the race, and the lucrative purse of up £375,000 for the winning party.

In recent history, Irish-based trainers have dominated the race, with five out of the last six Gold Cups being lifted by men and women from the Emerald Isle. Only one British-based trainer has won the Gold Cup over the last six years, which came in 2018 when Colin Tizzard’s charge Native River triumphed.

If you track today’s racing results you will see the major runners and riders involved in the 2022 Gold Cup. The Cheltenham race cards highlight the most important players will be A Plus Tard, Galvin, Al Boum Photo, Allaho and last year’s winner Minella Indo.

All five horses come from the yards of Irish-based trainers, but the question is which trainer from the United Kingdom has a competitor that could end Ireland’s recent dominance of the race.


Dan Skelton only has four Cheltenham winners under his belt and none have come in the elite races, therefore, it would be a surprise for his charge Protektorat to rise to the occasion.

However, he might be the best competitor to have emerged from his yard. Protektorat is part-owned by former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson, and Skelton will be hoping that he has the steel of the Scot to beat out his rivals for the Gold Cup.

He emerged at the end of last season with an impressive win at Aintree Festival in the Manifesto Novices’ Chase. The bay gelding was then narrowly defeated by Midnight Shadow in the Paddy Power Gold Cup Handicap Chase in his first race of the current campaign.

Protektorat was outstanding in the Many Clouds Chase last time out to beat Native River by 25 lengths, suggesting that he could be capable of great things at Cheltenham.

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Chantry House

Nicky Henderson has endured a lengthy drought in the Gold Cup, stretching to eight years when Bobs Worth triumphed in 2013. In recent Gold Cups, Henderson has boasted talented charges in the form of Might Bite, Santini and Champ, but all have failed to rise to the occasion.

Santini came the closest in 2020, but he was beaten by a neck by Al Boum Photo on the line. Henderson does not have a stellar charge in the race in 2022, but Chantry House could be worth an outside wager at 16/1. He was a winner at Cheltenham Festival last season in the Marsh Novices’ Chase, and has won his last six races in a row.

In his last outing, he defeated his former stable-mate Santini by a comfortable margin at the Cotswold Chase. Chantry House has the form at Cheltenham to succeed, but might need the performance of a lifetime to beat out the talented horses from Irish-based yards.

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