Kempes has the speed to overtake old guard

Today's 83rd Gold Cup is perceived as one of the most open for years, despite the presence of the three horses who have dominated it for the past four: Kauto Star, with two wins and a second; Denman, with one win and two seconds, and last year's winner Imperial Commander. The first two-named are almost certainly past their peak and there is precious little evidence about the reigning champion, he having run just once this term.

It may be time to look elsewhere. But just as age may be catching up with the old guard, the most precocious talent in the field, six-year-old Long Run, may just be too tender in years; the last of his age to win was one of the giants of the sport, Mill House.

Ireland's two main contenders, Kempes and Pandorama, both produced persuasive rehearsals, the former at Leopardstown last month, the latter at Punchestown back in December. But the ground today may be the key; Kempes (3.20), Willie Mullins' stablemate of Champion Hurdle hero Hurricane Fly, is favoured by lively conditions and there was much to like about the way he travelled smoothly, on going softer than ideal, and then quickened well, before his latest victory.

The enigma of the race is Tidal Bay, who has a fine and varied record at Cheltenham, including victory in the Arkle Trophy three years ago. His talent sometimes seems to exceed his enthusiasm, but if he is still taking an interest in being competitive at the sharp end not many will come up the hill better.

Already twice successful at the track, Sam Winner (1.30) can make his experience tell in the opening Triumph Hurdle at the expense of Smad Place, as can Bobs Worth (2.40), who looks a worthy favourite for the day's other Grade One contest.

On The Fringe (4.00) comes to the amateurs' fray with the reputation of being one of Ireland's most exciting hunter chasing talents in years; and in the handicaps Alaivan (2.05) is preferred to Alarazi; Mister Hyde (4.40) to Sir Des Champs; and Sports Line (5.15) to Nomecheki.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Senior VMware Platform Engineer - VMware / SAN / Tier3 DC

£45000 - £55000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Senior VMware Platform En...

Recruitment Genius: Purchasing Assistant

£10000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A distributor of specialist ele...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Ledger Assistant

£17000 - £19000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A distributor of specialist ele...

Ashdown Group: Automated Tester / Test Analyst - .Net / SQL - Cheshire

£32000 per annum + pension, healthcare & 23 days holiday: Ashdown Group: A gro...

Day In a Page

War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable
Living with Alzheimer's: What is it really like to be diagnosed with early-onset dementia?

What is it like to live with Alzheimer's?

Depicting early-onset Alzheimer's, the film 'Still Alice' had a profound effect on Joy Watson, who lives with the illness. She tells Kate Hilpern how she's coped with the diagnosis
The Internet of Things: Meet the British salesman who gave real-world items a virtual life

Setting in motion the Internet of Things

British salesman Kevin Ashton gave real-world items a virtual life
Election 2015: Latest polling reveals Tories and Labour on course to win the same number of seats - with the SNP holding the balance of power

Election 2015: A dead heat between Mr Bean and Dick Dastardly!

Lord Ashcroft reveals latest polling – and which character voters associate with each leader
Audiences queue up for 'true stories told live' as cult competition The Moth goes global

Cult competition The Moth goes global

The non-profit 'slam storytelling' competition was founded in 1997 by the novelist George Dawes Green and has seen Malcolm Gladwell, Salman Rushdie and Molly Ringwald all take their turn at the mic
Pakistani women come out fighting: A hard-hitting play focuses on female Muslim boxers

Pakistani women come out fighting

Hard-hitting new play 'No Guts, No Heart, No Glory' focuses on female Muslim boxers
Leonora Carrington transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star

Surreal deal: Leonora Carrington

The artist transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star
LGBT History Month: Pupils discuss topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage

Education: LGBT History Month

Pupils have been discussing topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage
11 best gel eyeliners

Go bold this season: 11 best gel eyeliners

Use an ink pot eyeliner to go bold on the eyes with this season's feline flicked winged liner
Cricket World Cup 2015: Tournament runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

Cricket World Cup runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

The tournament has reached its halfway mark and scores of 300 and amazing catches abound. One thing never changes, though – everyone loves beating England
Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Heptathlete ready to jump at first major title

Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Ready to jump at first major title

After her 2014 was ruined by injury, 21-year-old Briton is leading pentathlete going into this week’s European Indoors. Now she intends to turn form into gold
Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot