The Saturday of the Cheltenham November meeting has long been one of the highlights of the jump racing calendar and the Paddy Power Gold Cup takes centrestage. Some very good horses have won it over the years and some very good horses have tried and failed to win it too. Let’s hope we’re on the right one this year.
Hell Red won at Chepstow and looked very good in the process but the key is going to be how much rain Cheltenham gets. Hell Red will be the one to be on if the ground gets very soft. However, DUFFLE COAT is very solid and has already achieved plenty by winning three times. He just edges it as the percentage play for me.
An amateur rider’s race where the bottom weight Bermeo turned his victory here last time into a stamina test. The same thing could happen again but there is a few others who will be able to take advantage if that happens. Lamanver Pippin has not run since finishing third in the National Hunt Chase at the festival, stays really well and the Tizzard horses are in much better form of late.
However, OCEAN COVE handles heavy ground and is handicapped to run well and looks an each-way play at the price.
Nicky Henderson’s FUSIL RAFFLES has won two novice chases already this season and jumped really well both times. His last win over course and distance was backed up by the clock and compared well with the same race on the card That Rouge Vif won. Quel Destin is the one to worry about especially if the ground gets very soft.
I’m just leaning on Fusil Raffles experience paying off.
Happy Diva won this last year off an 8lb lower mark, but she is rock solid and a good each-way play while Slate House was running a good race last year when falling two fences out and could be a contender again if the rain arrives
Mister Fisher would not want the rain while Siruh Du Lac has a new trainer in David Pipe and has had a wind operation so could improver. Saint Sonnet’s form of last year does not warrant his price as he faded badly at the Festival.
Al Dancer is ticking a lot of boxes but his jumping can let him down. Top weight Aso has some very good form and has dropped down to a good mark and should run well at a big price.
SIMPLY THE BETTS has a great record at Cheltenham having won at the Festival in March and also on Trials day a month earlier. Both victories were on the more stamina-sapping New Course. If the ground comes up soft that will help his chances. He gets the nod though for trainer Harry Whittington.
Dell’ Arca is on a real roll and he won nicely at Newbury. Despite a 6lb rise for that win, he can still be competitive. I was keen on Irish raider Mrs Milner, but she is not as well handicapped in the UK so that’s a negative.
Instead I’ll side with TEA CLIPPER who won far easier than the winning margin at Chepstow suggested. This five-year-old is still ahead of the handicapper and can win again.
Captain Tom Cat won very nicely at this track last time and gets a 6lb hike in the weights but is still on the shortlist. Whatsupwithyou really caught the eye last time so watch the market.
I really like SON OF CAMUS off a mark of 133 particularly as he’s had a wind operation. Hopefully the rain stays away as he wouldn’t want it too soft.
Elle Est Belle was so impressive when winning at Aintree so has to be the win play. However, Olly Murphy’s ALLAVINA looks a very good each-way play against the field.
*Odds quoted on the widget are correct at time of publishing but all prices are subject to change.
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