Robbie Power: Cheltenham Gold Cup Shock Could Be On The Cards
Here at BoyleSports we got the chance to talk all things Cheltenham Gold Cup and Cheltenham Festival with our horse racing ambassador Robbie Power.
Robbie, a Cheltenham Gold Cup winning jockey, had plenty of strong takes on what he thinks will happen at the 2023 Cheltenham Gold Cup including a potential upset.
Power also gave us some fascinating insights into many of the other top honours at the Cheltenham Festival such as his take on the Champion Hurdle, the Top Jockey award, the Prestbury Cup and much more.
Cheltenham Gold Cup
Potential For A Gold Cup Shock
When you think about a horse who won a Gold Cup by 15 lengths as A Plus Tard did last season, he’s had one bad run since and there were reasons for it, you might be taking a bit of a guess. But it’ll be a good race. If he comes back to that form, it’ll be a cracking renewal.
I wouldn’t be surprised one bit if there is a shock in the Gold Cup this year. The likes of Noble Yeats or Protektorat could spring shocks.
I can see Ahoy Senor running well in the Gold Cup but he won’t win
He could, he will certainly make sure it is a test of stamina but with Ahoy Senor, there is always the feeling that he could throw in a blunder at some stage that’ll cost him.
There’s no margin for error in a Gold Cup, you can’t make blunders. And with the undulations of Cheltenham – he is a massive horse – he might find it a bit difficult.
I can see him running well but winning the Gold Cup? Probably not.
Constitution Hill In The Champion Hurdle
Constitution Hill Needs to win the Champion Hurdle to be mentioned in the same breath as Istabraq
I think Constitution Hill will win but I don’t think it will be as convincing as everyone thinks it will be. I think State Man will give him a race but Constitution Hill just looks that bit special. He has been so impressive on his two starts this season, really good in the Supreme Novices last year but he has got to go and do it on the big stage.
He hasn’t won a Champion Hurdle yet, Istabraq was the best that I have seen so far. Constitution Hill is going in that direction but he has got to go and prove it, then we can maybe start mentioning him in the same sentence as Istabraq.
I’m still fit enough to ride Constitution Hill to a Champion Hurdle win
I would love to ride Constitution Hill in the Champion Hurdle because I think even after being off the track for 11 months, I’d still be fit enough to win on him.
Cheltenham really is the be all and end all of festivals
It’s everything. It’s a combination of the track, which is a great test of a horse with loads of undulations and hills, pace and stamina too.
The hype and build-up starts in October time where if you ride a winner at the meeting at the course then, you’ll get a quote for the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle or whatever race. It’s a bit ridiculous but every owner wants a runner and winner at Cheltenham, every jockey wants a winner at Cheltenham and every trainer wants to train a winner at Cheltenham.
It’s the be all and end all. The hype that goes with it brings racing to the front pages of the newspapers.
New Whip Rule At Cheltenham
I am pretty sick of the new whip rules – we need to focus on the Festival
I don’t think we will see a disqualification of a winner but we could see a placed horse get disqualified.
The whip rules have been dragging on for a long time now. I am pretty sick of it, I’ve made my point pretty clear that I think it is the wrong time to bring it in.
We really now should be focusing on the Festival and the brilliant horses, trainers and jockeys that are riding it.
Cheltenham Jockey Routine
It was pretty straightforward actually because you are always so busy for the two or three weeks leading up to Cheltenham with riding work, sitting on the horses, so your mind never really had a lot of time to think.
You’d usually race in Ireland on the Sunday at Naas and then go straight to the airport, fly to Cheltenham, settle into your house and then you’d be up early riding out on the Monday morning.
Sometimes I would find those Monday’s would drag on a bit because you’d finish riding out at 11am and it was a long time till bedtime so you needed something to do to focus your mind.
But once Monday was done, you would go to the course on Tuesday morning to exercise the horses then come back, have a quick shower and then you were back at the racetrack.
You were always on your toes, no time to doddle around. One that first race jumped off on Tuesday, it was great to get going.
You could wear a clown suit and the Cheltenham festival will still sell itself
I think that’s the way that life is going in general. There always used to be a time where you wouldn’t dare turn up to Cheltenham if you weren’t wearing a suit or some sort of tweed outfit.
But, I think Cheltenham sells itself anyway, you could put everybody in a clown suit and they would still turn up to Cheltenham. It’s a brilliant four days, it catapults our sport into the front pages. It doesn’t matter what they do dress wise, it’ll sell itself.
Ireland v England Prestbury Cup Preview
I think the Irish will have plenty of winners but how many they get depends on the form of Willie Mullins’ yard because he has a lot of the favourites in a lot of the races. If his horse for some reason isn’t in top form then it could be interesting.
Who could be the English trainer to get closest to the Irish powerhouses this year?
I think Nicky Henderson has a great team with Jonbon, Constitution Hill, Shishkin and Luccia in the Mares’ Novice Hurdle. He’s got a really strong team this year, as well as lots of backups in other races so I think he could be the leading English trainer this year.
Rachael Blackmore To Repeat As Champion Jockey?
It’s going to be tough. I think over the last couple of years, everything has fallen into place for Rachael. She’s going to have a good book of rides for Henry and outside rides as well.
Paul Townend will be very hard to beat for champion jockey, would I be betting against him for that? Probably not.
We’ve all seen it at Cheltenham before, it’s a unique festival and you never know what can happen.
Prospects of Meath Trained Horses At Cheltenham 2023
There’s a group of really good trainers in Meath who are all about 20 minutes from my front door. Tony Martin, who lives across the road from me, has got a few going over in the handicaps and he will be one to keep an eye on.
Gordon Elliott will have a massive team, I think Gavin Cromwell will have a select team going over of about seven or eight and all of his have decent chances.
John McConnell has a great team going over. Mahler Mission of his has a great chance at Cheltenham.
Hewick’s Gold Cup Chances
Will his US Grand National form stack up at Cheltenham?
I’d say his price (25/1) is about right. He’s a Galway Plate winner and they usually run well in Gold Cups, but they don’t win Gold Cups.
He won the American Grand National, he has an each-way chance at best but if the rain falls, he has less of a chance. He can run a big race but I can’t see him winning it.
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