Owner Bryan Drew expects Bravemansgame to give a ‘good account of himself’ in the Boodles Cheltenham Gold Cup after describing the multiple Grade One winner as the ‘forgotten horse’ in Jump racing’s Blue Riband.
The Paul Nicholls-trained nine-year-old is currently as big as 20-1 to go one better than last year in the prestigious Grade One contest at the Cheltenham Festival on Friday 15th March and claim the fourth top level success of his career.
After filling the runner-up spot behind Galopin Des Champs in the Boodles Cheltenham Gold Cup last year Bravemansgame then finished an admirable third on his final appearance of the campaign on his first start in Ireland in the Grade One Ladbrokes Punchestown Gold Cup.
Bravemansgame has found one too good on each of his three starts this season after finishing second in the Grade Two bet365 Charlie Hall Chase at Wetherby, Grade One Betfair Chase at Haydock Park and Grade One Ladbrokes King George VI Chase at Kempton Park.
However, despite those reversals Drew is confident that Bravemansgame, who was arguably a shade unlucky in defeat when having his momentum checked in the King George after Shishkin departed at the second last, will give it his all in the Gold Cup.
Drew said: “I think given he was unlucky on Boxing Day he is the forgotten horse in the Gold Cup. Who knows if he would have won on Boxing Day had he not got interfered with, but everyone has dropped him like a stone.
“He doesn’t know what price he is and we still think the world of the horse. L’Homme Presse might be the best British contender, but we were second last year and we are keeping him fresh for the race. I expect him to give a very good account of himself.
“I think something has to go wrong on the day for the favourite Galopin Des Champs if I’m honest, but these things happen.
“I’m a small owner, and in all honesty, I’m probably never going to have a go at a Gold Cup again after this lad so I’m looking forward to it.”
While Drew admits it has been frustrating not to see Bravemansgame get his head in front yet this campaign he has held his hands up at making the decision to go a different route to last season before Christmas by giving him an extra run in the Betfair Chase.
He added: “It has been a shade frustrating this season. He probably wasn’t fully cooked at Wetherby. I think we got away with that last season and we didn’t this season.
“It was my fault we ran in the Betfair Chase really. Without being arrogant I thought it would be an easy race for him and that he could pick it up on route to the King George, but it probably came to soon after Wetherby, and he underperformed.
“He ran a good race at Kempton, but it was all overshadowed by the great performance of Hewick. I do think without taking anything away from him that the unseating of Shishkin helped bring the rest of the field back to Hewick a bit and that allowed him to get into it.
“At the end of the day it is Jump racing and you have to jump your fences and you have to take the knocks. It has been a bit of a frustrating season, but he is still a damn good horse.”
It had been hinted that Bravemansgame could have taken in an outing in the Betfair Denman Chase at Newbury on February 10th before heading back to The Festival.
And while Drew has ruled out an appearance in the Grade Two at Newbury next month for Bravemansgame he admits that another tilt at the Punchestown Gold Cup could be on cards following the Gold Cup,
He added: “It was an easy decision to miss the Denman Chase and go straight to the Gold Cup. I think if the Denman Chase was a £200,000 race I might have thought differently.
“All of his best efforts have been when he has been fresh. I’m not going to get many shots at the Gold Cup so why not give yourself the best chance of winning it.
“He is mad fresh at home and Paul said to me at Newbury on Tuesday that he has definitely got two more runs in him in the spring.
“We’ve not been too lucky at Aintree and I probably favour going to Cheltenham then on to Punchestown again if all is well.
“I’d like to think there is at least another Grade One in him. If we can keep him healthy we could run in another three Gold Cups and another two or three King Georges.”