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tipsdecember gold cup 2023 tips runners and betting paul nicholls eyes sixth big cheltenham win

December Gold Cup 2023 Tips, Runners and Betting: Paul Nicholls Eyes Sixth Big Cheltenham Win

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Cheltenham December Meeting day 1 tips


This Saturday’s Virgin Bet December Gold Cup was called off 12 months ago due to a frozen track, but with the forecast set fair at the weekend the Cheltenham course are expecting no similar issues.

So, here at we thought we’d look at the main runners and also give you our best 1-2-3 December Gold Cup tips to take into the big weekend Cheltenham handicap.

No Trainer Has A Better December Gold Cup Record Than Paul Nicholls

The top UK betting sites have installed the Paul Nicholls pair – Monmiral and Il Ridoto – high up in the betting and with the trainer having the best record in the race it’s easy to see why.

Nicholls has mopped up five December Gold Cups over the years – more than any other handler and he’s heading into the 2023 double-handed again.

Monmiral is the pick of the stable’s main jockey Harry Cobden so punters are sure to latch into this. However, the horse is back from a 245-day break and even though he’s expected to be fully wound up for this, it’s worth remembering he’s still to win a race over fences.

This 6 year-old has raced three times over the bigger obstacles with two silvers the best he’s done to date. He’s also been beaten 27 and 41 lengths in this last two starts and is heading to Prestbury Park winless from his last seven.

Il Ridoto is the other Nicholls December Gold Cup runner and he comes here off the back of a solid third in the Paddy Power Gold Cup. The 6 year-old is dropped a pound for that run and Bryony Frost, who won this race on Frodon in 2018, takes over in the saddle.

With that run also coming after a 218-day break, you can expect Il Ridoto to have improved for it and with a solid overall Cheltenham record that reads 8-4-4-1-6-3. He’s sure to not be far away.

  • Back Monmiral at 5/1 with BetMGM
  • Back Il Ridoto at 6/1 with BetMGM.

The Paddy Power Gold Cup Has Been A Good Guide In Recent Years

Last month’s Paddy Power Gold Cup have proved to be a decent guide for the December Gold Cup in recent times.

Five of the last six winners of Saturday’s race came into the race having run (and been beaten) in the Paddy Power.

With that in mind, the following horses fit this Cheltenham trend – Il Ridoto (3rd), Fugitif (4th) and Torn And Frayed (Fell).

  • Back Fugitif at 8/1 with BetMGM
  • Back Torn And Frayed at 14/1 with BetMGM

Just One Winning December Gold Cup Favourite In The Last 20 Renewals

Thunder Rock has been the big talking horse ahead of the December Gold Cup and after an easy Carlisle win last month it’s not surprising. The form of that run also got a shot in the arm with the runner-up Mahler Mission running second in the Coral Gold Cup next time and being a Listed Chase escapes a rise in the handicap for it.

A mark of 146 for Thunder Rock gives the horse a ‘well-treated’ feel and the Olly Murphy entry also has fair form at the track after a running on third to The Real Whacker at their New Year’s Day card last season. Plus was also 6th in the Brown Advisory Novices’ Chase at the Cheltenham Festival (to the same horse) back in March.

However, there is one monster December Gold Cup trend Thunder Rock has to overcome. We’ve only seen one winning favourite land this race in the last 20 runnings.

That winning market leader was the Paul Nicholls-trained Poquelin in 2009. While the last renewal in 2021 saw the favourite finish 4th (Fusil Raffles) and the year before in 2020 the jolly (Al Dancer) was unplaced.

Back Thunder Rock at 3/1 with BetMGM

Horses Aged 8 Or Younger Have Won 95% Of The Last 20 December Gold Cups

Finally, if you are looking for the best horse age to take into the December Gold Cup, then look no further than entries aged 8 or younger.

Yes, the last winner – Coole Cody – defied this stat to win as a 10 year-old. But he was the first double-figure aged winner since 1974.

With this in mind, the older statemen in the race – Do Your Job (9) and Torn And Frayed (9) are overlooked.

December Gold Cup Tips 1-2-3: Fakir D’oudairies Has A Great Record Fresh

Fakir D’oudairies, who has run at three Cheltenham Festivals with credit and has also won the Aintree Marsh Chase at their Grand National is the class act in Saturday’s December Gold Cup.

Yes, as a result, he’s got a monster 12st to carry and has to give away upwards of 11lbs to the others but there is a reason for that – he’s Grade One winning chaser.

The last horse to win with 12st or more was Pendil back in 1973, but more recently Frodon showed it’s possible when shouldering 11st 12lbs to victory in 2018.

Fakir D’oudairies is also still only 8, which is hard to believe, and we know he acts well at Cheltenham and on soft/heavy ground.

However, the bigger plus for this Joseph O’Brien-trained runner is his record fresh. When returning from a 144+ day break his form reads 1-1-2-1-2. He’s back fro ma 246-day layoff this time, so his past record fresh gives every indication that a top three finish (at worse) is very possible.

The only slight question mark is that regular jockey Mark Walsh has opted to come over to Ireland and ride the other JP McManus runner in the race – So Scottish. However, the jocks don’t always get it right and you feel this would have been a tough pick for Walsh, who has ridden Fakir in the bulk of his career outings.

O’Brien has booked Jonjo O’Neill, who will ride the horse for the first time.

Back Fakir D’oudairies at 9/1 with BetMGM

  • Il Ridoto
  • Fugitif

When Is The 2023 December Gold Cup?

📅Date: Saturday 16th December 2023
🕙Time: 1:50pm
🏇Racecourse: Cheltenham (2m 4 1/2f)
💰 Winner: £74,035.00
📺 TV: ITV / Racing TV

December Gold Cup Betting Odds

See here the latest betting odds from BetMGM.

  • West Balboa 5/2
  • Crambo 11/4
  • Champ 9/2
  • Paisley Park 6/1
  • Botox Has 7/1
  • Dashel Drasher 8/1
  • Blueking D’Oroux 14/1
  • Red Risk 25/1
  • Gowel Road 33/1
  • Goshen 66/1

Note: Odds are subject

Past Winners (Last 5 Renewals)

  • 2022 – No Race
  • 2021 – Coole Cody (12/1)
  • 2020 – Chatham Street Lad (16/1)
  • 2019 – Warthog (7/1)
  • 2018 – Frodon (7/1)
  • 2017 – Guitar Pete (9/1)

WATCH: Coole Cody Winning The 2021 December Gold Cup (known then as the Racing Post Gold Cup)

Andy Newton
Andy Newton
Andy Newton

Andy Newton is a well-known horse racing and sports betting writer that specialises in using key trends and stats to help find winners and unique betting approaches. Over the years, Andy has built up many industry contacts, including with some of the leading horse racing stables in the UK with his time running the Trainers-Quotes site and has also ghost-written for former top jockey Richard Dunwoody. Andy is also the former sports betting editor of odds comparison site Easyodds and JuiceStorm and appeared on many betting podcasts for MatchBook and BetBright. You can also find his views via his monthly Racing Ahead magazine column, which he’s held a slot for over 10 years. Now a regular on too giving his views, trends and tips mainly on horse racing and football - so if there's a stat to be unearthed and it's a sport, Andy is sure to find an interesting betting angle. Here’s a look at a sampling of where Andy’s expertise has been mentioned: Racing Ahead Magazine Trainers-Quotes JuiceStorm GeeGeez

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