Delta Work a Worthy Contender for 2020 Cheltenham Gold Cup

Leading owners Gigginstown House Stud recently announced that they were winding down their operation and planning to exit the National Hunt scene in an estimated five years time.

They may not be buying any more young horses but still have a host of potential superstars capable of providing them with more successes at the Cheltenham Festival.

They include Delta Work who is currently 14/1 with Ladbrokes for the 2020 Cheltenham Gold Cup, a race in which their famous maroon and white colours have been carried to victory in the past by War Of Attrition (2006) and Don Cossack (2016).

Like the latter, Delta Work is trained by Gordon Elliott and has already tasted success at the Cheltenham Festival having landed the 2018 running of the Pertemps Network Final Handicap Hurdle.

Impressive Start to Chasing Career

After showing a willing attitude when beating Nivem by three-quarters of a length at Down Royal, Delta Work to the scalp the highly regarded Le Richebourg by 1/2 a length in the Grade 1 Drinmore Novices’ Chase over 2m 4f at Fairyhouse.

Le Richebourg went on to land two Grade 1 contests, so that is form of the highest order.

Delta Work then relished the step up to the 3m when landing the Grade 1 Neville Hotels Novice Chase at Leopardstown where he put in an assured round of jumping and after being ridden to assert on the run-in forged clear to easily beat Mortal by eight lengths.

It was a dominant display and one which saw him sent off 15/8 favourite for the RSA Chase at this year’s Cheltenham Festival.

Delta Work never really looked completely happy in the race itself so it was therefore to his credit that he stuck to the task really well and rallied after getting headed at the second last to finish a 2 1/4 length third of 12 to Topofthegame.

Foot Perfect in Punchestown Romp

The son of Network went on to round off the campaign with an easy 12 length success in the Grade 1 Champion Novice Chase over 3m at the Punchestown Festival.

Regular pilot Davy Russell bided his time on Delta Work before allowing him to cruise to the lead three from home.

A Plus Tard, who had been so impressive when winning the Close Brothers Novices’ Handicap Chase at the Cheltenham Festival by a runaway 16 lengths, briefly threatened to make a race of it but Delta Work found another gear on the run to the last and produced a tremendous leap to win as he liked.

Discorama, who also had some smart form to his mame going into the race, stayed on to be nearest at the finish and collar A Plus Tard to grab the runner-up spot.

Delta Work was immediately cut across the board for next year’s Cheltenham Gold Cup and Elliott confirmed that a crack chasing’s blue riband next March was firmly on the agenda.

“He could be anything” – Elliott

He told Racing TV: “He showed today how good he is. At Cheltenham he never really got into a rhythm and nothing really worked out.

“Today he was very, very good and he could be anything – he’s a horse to really look forward to. I’ll have to speak to Michael and Eddie (O’Leary), but the Gold Cup will be the plan.”

The Gold Cup is the holy grail for Michael O’Leary, owner of Ryanair and Gigginstown House Stud, and his brother Eddie who manages his huge team of horses.

That’s a positive as it means that Delta Work will be specifically campaigned in the 2019/20 with the sole aim of being spot on for the big one.

Ideal Attributes for Chasing’s Blue Riband Contest

You have to be a stout stayer to be a Gold Cup winner and the step up to the 3m 2f trip of it looks sure to suit Delta Work.

Other pluses are that is a sound jumper and strong traveller who also possesses a potent turn of foot to put a race to bed when asked.

Those are the ideal attributes needed to land the biggest price in the jumps’ racing calendar and Gigginstown are the second most successful owners in the history of the Cheltenham Festival.

Their decision to leave the game is a big loss to the sport, but Delta Work looks a leading contender for the Gold Cup and capable giving the famous jumps operation a dream send off.

At 14/1 ante post for the prestigious prize I think he represents value and wouldn’t put off anyone backing him each-way.