Joe McNally on World Hurdle & Gold Cup

Joe McNally on World Hurdle & Gold Cup

warned off by Joe McNally Joe McNally writes much common sense, writes Vernon Grant. He follows the fortunes of horses and trainers throughout the season and he often looks beyond the obvious.

Perceptive is the word I would use to sum up Joe and it is worth taking time out to read what he has to say about the Cheltenham Festival.

In the light of recent events, Joe has updated his thoughts on the World Hurdle and the Gold Cup.

I don’t agree with all his verdicts in the following article, but then that is what punting is all about. Opinions. We very rarely all see the same race the same way.

Here is what he has to say.


The World Hurdle

Formerly the Big Buck’s’ benefit race, this running promises to be the most exciting for many years. When Big Buck’s was pulled out Oscar Whisky was put in at 7/1 – the craziest price I’ve seen all season about anything. I blogged then that I thought he’d be nearer 7/4 on the day, but Reve de Sivola has dented the chances of that and Oscar is about 7/2 as I write, though coming in for continued support.

There are still those who believe he does not stay 3 miles but the way he finishes over two-and-a-half makes that very unlikely to my eye. Even after his neck defeat in The Cleeve, some are saying he didn’t see it out. Geraghty will ride him with more confidence this time and, hopefully, the ground will be much better. Also, World Hurdles are usually not much more than a hack round on the first circuit – seldom any pace in them.

There are two in the race worth a win only bet as savers: Get Me Out of Here who’ll be trying this trip for the first time, and Peddlers Cross, also his first attempt. GMOOH is a solid Cheltenham horse with four 2nds in good races. He needs decent ground. I think he’ll get the trip and run very well.

Reve de Sivola

Reve de Sivola

The Cheltenham Gold Cup

Historically a very good race for me, touch wood, and I cannot see past Bobs Worth. A dual Festival winner (winning Festival form is probably the most significant pointer to winners here) who has class, stamina, jumps well, is still improving, is utterly straightforward and will be steered by one of the best steeplechase jockeys there has been.

He is 4 from 4 at Cheltenham, this will be just his 6th steeplechase so I’d expect him to still be improving . . . he will do for me.

Of the others, I believe Sir Des Champs to be over-rated, First Lieutenant is thoroughly exposed and looks Ryanair-bound anyway.  Long Run does not jump well enough. Boglike ground might push me toward Long Run as stamina is what has won him his big races.

I’ve been uncertain about Silviniaco Conti, but his Newbury win impressed me and has slightly dented my confidence in Bobs Worth: SC should be placed and might even win it, but he is too short for a saver.

My saver then will be The Giant Bolster. If the bloody thing could jump, I’d back him each way with some confidence as he is much better at Cheltenham than elsewhere. His record there when he has completed a race is 6112 – the 6th was in the Neptune to Peddlers Cross when TGB was a 200/1 chance; the 2nd was in last year’s Gold Cup and he is worth an each way bet at 16s NRNB.

But Bobs Worth is a confident selection on anything but bottomless going.

Bobs Worth Gold Cup favourite

Gold Cup favourite Bobs Worth. Credit @Riosrider

Joe’s own website is

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  1. John the Don 8 years ago

    I will have to go along with Bobs Worth for the GC but I think Long Run will get the trip and should handle the hill. Long Run should place and may well win if the desired cheek pieces keep him settled over the jumps. Sam Waley Cohen does not give me much confidence around Cheltenham and if BG was on Long Run I would back him all day. However I will say that if Bobs Worth makes it to the top of the hill in front position he will be hard to beat. Good luck to all

    • Author
      Vern 8 years ago

      Cannot disagree with much of what you say John. Long Run never outside of first three so an OK each way bet at small price but I have never liked horse or jockey. I don’t say it is not capable, clearly he is. A proven winner and a proven stayer. I just can’t back horses I do not like. Nothing personal against the horse. I did agree with Ted Walsh that the horse is not regressing, but the jockey is.
      Bobs Worth is the right favourite and I don’t disagree with what you or Joe say about that one. When the next couple in the market were at bigger prices, I was minded to take on Bobs Worth in the ante-post market. As for now, with a week to go, let us see what that most crucial of performers comes up with. I speak of the weather!

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