Cheltenham Festival: Gold Cup or National Hunt Chase for Royale Pagaille?

Royale Pagaille holds entries in the Cheltenham Gold Cup and the National Hunt Chase.

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*All prices are bang up to date with our snazzy widget, while in-copy odds are accurate at the time of publication but subject to change

Ruby Walsh and Frank Hickey both believe Royale Pagaille would be odds-on favourite for the National Hunt Chase at Cheltenham, but the seven-year-old may be aimed at bigger targets.

Royale Pagaille also holds an entry in the Gold Cup and the Venetia Williams-trained chaser is thought to have a genuine chance at upsetting Al Boum Photo’s attempts for a historic third consecutive success.

However, if Ruby had his way our resident jockey-turned-pundit claims he would enter Royale Pagaille in the National Hunt Chase – a race usually reserved solely for novice chasers and amateur riders – before eyeing bigger prizes next season.

Speaking on Paddy Power’s latest ‘Countdown to Cheltenham’ podcast, Ruby and our expert trader Frank discussed the promising charger’s options ahead of the 2021 Cheltenham Festival – remember, we’re offering non-runner money back on every single race at Prestbury Park this year.

Listen to the full show BELOW

Frank Hickey

Royale Pagaille is rated 166, and that is probably the highest ever to enter the race. If he ran here, he would be favourite and he would be a short price. However, I think it’s highly unlikely that he will run here and I imagine they will take their chance in the Gold Cup. I would be very surprised if he runs.

“Carefully Selected went off 10/11 last year and he was rated a maximum of around 150 going into the race, so Royal Pagaille would have to go off odds-on if he ran. He would have a big chance but looks an unlikely runner at this stage. His form was franked again this weekend, as Sam’s Adventure – who unseated against him at Haydock – went on to win the Eider. That’s another tick in the ‘Royale Pagaille for the Gold Cup’ box, isn’t it?”

Royale Pagaille Charlie Deutsch Kempton December 27, 2020

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Cheltenham tips: National Hunt Chase antepost bets from Ruby Walsh 

Ruby Walsh

“If I had anything to do with it – and I don’t, although I know [owner] Rich Ricci well – I would be running Royale Pagaille here. If I was riding and he was one of Willie Mullins’ he would definitely be running here. Monkfish would be going in one race and Royalle Pagaille would be going in another.

“You’re looking to win as many races as you can at the festival, and this is where Royale Pagaille would be going. Obviously Venetia Williams trains him [so it’s her decision]. I think Galvin has been well targeted and is an obvious bet, but I would still be backing Royale Pagaile non-runner money back. If he runs, he would have to go off odds-on. This is the real non-runner money back race, and I would be steaming into whatever you can get on Royale Pagaille because there is no way he goes off at his current price and you would back him to get around.

“The one thing Royale Pagaille can’t do next year is run in the National Hunt Chase. He’s seven years of age and would only be eight going to the Gold Cup next year, with a run at Cheltenham over fences under his belt. To me, it’s a no-brainer. We can all pretend we love taking part, but what do we all like doing? Winning.

“I don’t know what Rich Ricci will do, and I didn’t ask if Royale Pagaille is going to the Gold Cup because it’s none of my business. Obviously the horse is in Venetia Williams’ yard so I wouldn’t ask, but that’s my opinion and I would be running him in the National Hunt Chase.”

*All prices are bang up to date with our snazzy widget, while in-copy odds are accurate at the time of publication but subject to change

CHELTENHAM FESTIVAL‘S BIG RACES

March 16 – 13.20 – Supreme Novices’ Hurdle latest odds and tips

March 16 – 13.55 – Arkle Chase latest odds and tips

March 16 – 15.05 – Champion Hurdle latest odds and tips

March 16 – 15.40 – Mares’ Hurdle latest odds and tips

March 17 – 13.20 – Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle latest odds and tips

March 17 – 13.55 – Festival Novices’ Chase latest odds and tips

March 17 – 15.05 – Queen Mother Champion Chase latest odds and tips

March 18 – 13.20 – Marsh Novices’ Chase latest odds and tips

March 18 – 14.30 – Ryanair Chase latest odds and tips

March 18 – 15.05 – Paddy Power Stayers’ Hurdle latest odds and tips

March 19 – 13.20 – Triumph Hurdle latest odds and tips

March 19 – 14.30 – Albert Bartlett Novices’ Chase latest odds and tips

March 19 – 15.05 – Gold Cup latest odds and tips

March 19 – 16.15 – Mrs Paddy Power Mares’ Chase latest odds and tips

Cheltenham Festival Day One schedule

13:20 – Supreme Novices’ Hurdle (Grade 1) 2m 87y

13.55 – Arkle Chase (Grade 1) 1m 7f 199y

14.30 – Ultima Handicap Chase (Grade 3) 3m 1f

15.05 – Champion Hurdle (Grade 1) 2m 87y

15.40 – Close Brothers Mares’ Hurdle (Grade 1) 2m 3f 200y

16.15 – Juvenile Handicap Hurdle (Grade 3) 2m 87y

16.50 – National Hunt Chase (Grade 2) 3m 5f 201y

*Paddy will be all over your telly box throughout the Cheltenham Festival sponsoring ITV’s live coverage from Prestbury Park – and you can get free and exclusive tipping columns EVERY DAY from Ruby Walsh, Matt Chapman and Mick Fitzgerald here on PP News.

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