Cheltenham Festival 2020: Gold Cup day – live!

The ground at Cheltenham continues to dry out on the final day at the 2020 Festival, with the official going on the chase course changed this morning to good-to-soft, soft in places, and while the big-race betting remains wide open, it is looking increasingly likely that the punting public will put their faith in Willie Mullins, Paul Townend and Al Boum Photo to land the spoils for the second year running.

The only thing that’s different about the reigning champion is the ‘8’ on the racecard where the ‘7’ used to be, as his buildup to the race has been identical: Punchestown in the spring, a win at Tramore on New Year’s Day and then straight to Cheltenham, and he has a very obvious chance to be the first horse since Best Mate to win consecutive Gold Cup.

Dangers abound, though, including his stable companion Kemboy, the mount of Mullins’s son, Patrick, who would be the first amateur rider to win the Gold Cup since … well, only since 2011, in fact, when Sam Waley-Cohen was victorious on Long Run.

Michael O’Leary, the Ryanair chief executive, has been absent all week dealing with coronavirus-related issues but will probably find five minutes to watch the very able Delta Work attempting to carry his colours to victory for a third time. Santini, Clan Des Obeaux and Lostintranslation, meanwhile, are a strong contingent from some of Britain’s top yards, and even relative outsiders like Presenting Percy, Monalee, Chris’s Dream and Bristol De Mai go to post with at least some kind of chance.

Chris Cook’s tips for the final day include a horse owned by JP McManus that was a 14-1 shot when he sent the selections across yesterday but is now down to 7-1. You can find out which one here, but above all, let’s hope that it is a typically thrilling and dramatic Gold Cup afternoon, because it might well be the last big day at the races for some time to come.