What are the best bets at Cheltenham on Paddy Power Gold Cup day?
The Paddy Power Gold Cup meeting continues this afternoon and our resident tipster has run the rule over the seven-race card.
12.40: JCB Triumph Hurdle Trial (Grade 2) (Registered As The Prestbury Juvenile Hurdle), 2m87yds
Just the five runners and the betting suggests we should be concentrating on OCEANE and Romain De Senam, representing Alan King and Paul Nicholls respectively. The latter was impressive when winning on his British/stable debut at Wincanton and the handicapper must have liked what he saw too as he has allocated him a mark of 136. That’s 4lb more than Oceane but that horse has done nothing wrong over hurdles, winning both his starts. His trainer, who is a dab hand with juveniles, was sounding reasonably positive about his chances in his Weekender column, saying: “He’s done everything right and he’s progressing physically. We like him but we’ll just have to see how good he is.” My feeling is he will prove good enough today to land the hat-trick, rated a 15/8 chance by Sky Bet.
1.15: mallardjewellers.com Novices’ Chase, 3m80yds
It’s no secret that the Pipe stable targets this meeting and Un Temps Per Tout is sure to have been well schooled for his chase debut. He was the best of these over hurdles and hacked up in the French Champion Hurdle, run over this sort of trip, when last seen out in June. He had his conditions there and all his best form is on very soft ground, so connections will be hoping the band of heavy rain that is forecast to hit the track in the morning materialises.
But he wouldn’t be the only runner to benefit from a drop of the wet stuff and, given his cramped odds, I’m going to put up BLAKLION as a value alternative. A classy sort over hurdles with one of his three victories coming at the big December meeting here, he was always considered a chasing sort given his size and there was little wrong with his debut fourth at Chepstow (2m3f), where he was staying on and only a length out of second behind Cocktails At Dawn. He will have learned a lot from that experience and will strip fitter too, so I’m expecting a big run here.
1.50: Murphy Group Handicap Chase (Grade 3), 3m3f71yds
If the forecast rain arrives this could turn into a real slog and stamina will be at a premium. Shotgun Paddy has to be considered then as he stays all day as evidenced by his second in the four-miler at the 2014 Cheltenham Festival off a 6lb higher mark than today’s. The problem with him is he’s not been the most consistent of horses since, pulling up twice in his last four starts, and I’m not sure I can trust him with my money.
And it’s not like we’re short on alternatives with Perfect Candidate, runner-up at the October meeting here, and Sego Success, who will strip fitter for his reappearance fifth at Chepstow, the more obvious ones. But I’m drawn to bottom weight RIGADIN DE BEAUCHENE, who is nicely treated on a mark of 129 on some of his old form, which includes a victory in Haydock’s Grand National Trial (3m5f), and is trained by the massively in-form Venetia Williams. She is fitting blinkers on the ten-year-old for the first time today, another positive, and this out-and-out stayer could well outrun his 888sport odds of 33/1 (25/1 bet365), with an each-way wager advised.
2.25: Paddy Power Gold Cup Chase (Grade 3 Handicap), 2m4f78yds
I previewed the big race earlier this week and put up a couple to back, BUYWISE and MONETAIRE, for the reasons given here. Of the pair, I’m just favouring the former who is a cracking each-way bet at 14/1 with the sponsors Paddy Power, with five places on offer.
3.00: Regulatory Finance Solutions Handicap Hurdle (Listed), 3m1f67yds
You can be sure of getting a run for your money from any David Pipe-trained runner at this meeting and his BATAVIR will be ready to run for his life today. He was a bit of a talking horse last season and, having won twice in the space of a week at Wincanton and Ascot, was a strong fancy for the Pertemps Final at the Cheltenham Festival. He didn’t make that gig having flopped in his trial at Doncaster, but his trainer was quick to put a line through that in a recent Stable Tour – track and ground too quick – and was also keen to stress there was more to come from him. He’s likely to go chasing at some point and should make his mark in that sphere, but he’s still feasibly weighted over hurdles and will appreciate any rain that falls. His owner is apparently travelling over from the States to see him run. All aboard Hills’ 7/1.
3.35: Martin & Co Jewellers Intermediate Handicap Hurdle, 2m5f26yds
No apologies for putting up another Pipe-trained runner in HERBERT PARK (9/2 Hills) given he too will have been readied for this meeting. A progressive sort last season when winning three of his five starts, including twice over hurdles, he starts this term on a potentially lenient mark of 132. He appeared to appreciate the step up to 3m when winning at Kempton in March, but this should still be a sufficient stamina test – some rain would help in that respect – and this strong travelling sort can prove too good for his ten rivals, the best of whom may be Nicky Henderson’s Champagne Express.
4.05: Jockey Club Venues Mares’ Standard Open NH Flat Race (Listed), 2m87yds
A hugely competitive bumper and the market should prove highly informative. At this stage, the most obvious winners would appear to be Willie Mullins’ Snag List and Jonjo O’Neill’s Which One Is Which, with both having won their sole bumper starts. They could be anything but I’m going to take a chance on ROBINESSE, who looked as green as grass when winning on her debut in a Uttoxeter in the spring. The second won next time out to boost the form and her trainer Oliver Sherwood has been making some positive noises concerning her progress since and her prospects for this season. She should be an each-way price too.
Nap – Batavir
NB – Buywise (each-way)