Paddy Power Gold Cup runner-by-runner guide to Saturday’s big Cheltenham race

The lowdown on all 20 runners in Saturday's huge handicap!

Coole Cody Paddy Power Gold Cup Cheltenham


*All prices are bang up to date with our snazzy widgets, while odds in copy are accurate at time of publishing but subject to change

A maximum field of 20 are set to go to post in the Paddy Power Gold Cup on Paddy Power Day 2021 at Cheltenham’s November Meeting. The hype is building and Uncle Paddy’s come up a treat by offering to pay SIX places!

Coole Cody is back for seconds after coming out on top in last year’s renewal but the defending champion will have to deliver a career-best run to get the better of his rivals when they slog it out over 2m 4f on the Old Course at Prestbury Park.


Dan Skelton’s progressive Protektorat has been prominent in the betting since our traders first knocked up the market last month although Lalor, on his first start for Paul Nicholls, and the promising Galahad Quest are proving popular with punters.

We’ve run the rule over the 20-strong field to aid your punting picks for the Paddy Power Gold Cup, and you’ll find our verdict on each horse – plus Timeform’s top tip – below.

Simply The Betts

Trainer: Paul Nicholls Jockey: Bryony Frost Age: 8 Weight: 11st 12lbs

Improved markedly over fences during 2019/20 season, signing off with success in the Plate here in March. Respectable sixth in this race 12 months ago but very best form on softer ground. Yard debut.


Trainer: Dan Skelton Jockey: Harry Skelton Age: 6 Weight: 11st 12lbs

Useful hurdler who had a fine first season over fences, winning 3 of his 5 starts, culminating in Grade 1 success at Aintree (19.9f) in April (on back of wind op). Claims from workable-looking mark.


Trainer: Venetia Williams Jockey: Charlie Deutsch Age: 11 Weight: 11st 11lbs

Twice a runner-up in the Ryanair but didn’t look the force of old last season, albeit facing stern assignments in Gold Cup/Bowl on final 2 starts. Still, vulernable to younger rivals on return.

Paint The Dream

Trainer: Fergal O’Brien Jockey: Connor Brace Age: 7 Weight: 11st 10lbs

Winning hurdler who put it all together over fences at Newbury (22.4f) in December, making all. Career best when forging clear on return at Chepstow (19.5f) last month but this understandably tougher.

Al Dancer

Trainer: Sam Thomas Jockey: Sam Twiston-Davies Age: 8 Weight: 11st 7lbs

Smart chaser who ran right up to his best when third in this race 12 months ago. Never figured either start thereafter but boasts a fine record fresh so worth a look with new yard going along nicely.


Trainer: Paul Nicholls Jockey: Harry Cobden Age: 9 Weight: 11st 7lbs

Smart chaser at his best and went close from higher marks here in 2020. Disappointed both starts following an absence in the spring but foolish to rule out revival for new yard on back of wind op.

Caribean Boy

Trainer: Nicky Henderson Jockey: Daryl Jacob Age: 7 Weight: 11st 6lbs

Grade 2 chase winner who caught the eye when seventh in Paddy Power Plate in March, staying on well from long way back. National fences may not have been his bag final start and interesting on return.

Midnight Shadow

Trainer: Sue Smith Jockey: Ryan Mania Age: 8 Weight: 11st 5lbs

Ran right up to best when runner-up in last season’s Caspian Caviar Gold Cup and arrives here in good order, close third behind Allmankind in last month’s Old Roan Chase. Respected from 1lb higher.


Trainer: Dan Skelton Jockey: Bridget Andrews Age: 9 Weight: 11st 2lbs

Regular in competitive handicaps who finished runner-up in this race 12 months ago and consistency hard to knock. Fit from spin over hurdles at Newbury 9 days ago and each-way possibilities.


Trainer: Emma Lavelle Jockey: Tom Bellamy Age: 8 Weight: 11st 2lbs

Generally progressive and enhanced strike rate when taking Silver Trophy here in April. Pressed on early enough when second behind Paint The Dream on Chepstow return but mark demands a bit more now.


Trainer: Philip Hobbs Jockey: Tom O’Brien Age: 7 Weight: 11st 2lbs

Useful hurdler who improved over fences last term, winning at Newbury (2m) in November. Creditable sixth at Aintree in April and latest third in Haldon Gold Cup was solid. Longer trip worth exploring.

Dostal Phil

Trainer: Philip Hobbs Jockey: Aidan Coleman Age: 8 Weight: 11st 0lbs

Low-mileage 8-y-o who confirmed he’s on a good mark when coming from long way back to finish third in Red Rum at Aintree in April. Unseated at Punchestown final start and needs to keep errors at bay.

Coole Cody

Trainer: Evan Williams Jockey: Adam Wedge Age: 10 Weight: 10st 13lbs

Showed all his qualities when landing this race from 4lb lower mark 12 months ago and matched that when fourth in Paddy Power Plate in March. Good second on hurdle return and likely to be spot on now.

Up The Straight

Trainer: Richard Rowe Jockey: Tabitha Worsley Age: 7 Weight: 10st 10lbs

Useful hurdler who never figured in Silver Trophy on final start in the spring. Made most of good opportunity to land 3-runner novice on return but more needed faced with this competitive scenario.


Trainer: Nick Gifford Jockey: Niall Houlihan Age: 6 Weight: 10st 10lbs

Put it all together earlier this year, landing 2 of last 3 starts at Sandown at up to 20f (in contention when falling other outing). Assessor applies more pressure and further progress required now.

Deyrann De Carjac

Trainer: Alan King Jockey: Tom Cannon Age: 8 Weight: 10st 9lbs

Back-to-back novice chase winner who hit frame in pair of Grade 2’s during 2019/20 season. Very lightly raced since though, well held at Market Rasen in June. Others hold more pressing claims.

Funky Dady

Trainer: Denis Hogan Jockey: S. A. Mulcahy Age: 6 Weight: 10st 8lbs

Largely consistent following Tipperary chase victory (19f) in July, not seen to best effect when plugging-on fourth in Munster National (3m) in October. However this a tough ask from career-high mark.

Galahad Quest

Trainer: Nick Williams Jockey: David Noonan Age: 5 Weight: 10st 7lbs

Grade 2 hurdles winner who made it third time lucky over fences at Haydock (19.9f) in February. Good third on return at Wetherby (19.4f) and this 5-y-o promises to do better still in this discipline.


Trainer: Venetia Williams Jockey: Robert Dunne Age: 6 Weight: 10st 6lbs

Low-mileage 6-y-o who confirmed yard debut promise when willingly landing listed handicap at Sandown (20f) in March. This requires more from 9lb higher on return but he remains open to improvement.


Trainer: Brian Ellison Jockey: Danny McMenamin Age: 8 Weight: 10st 5lbs

Gained a deserved win when landing listed handicap at Ayr (20.5f) in April. Spin on Flat at Catterick in October should have blown the cobwebs away but he may find a few too good from this mark.

Timeform’s Verdict: An ultra-competitive renewal of this feature contest with the vote in favour of AL DANCER. Third from a 5lb higher mark in this race last year, he never figured either start thereafter but returns with his new yard going well and his record fresh is a particular positive. Lalor is a fascinating runner on debut for Paul Nicholls and respected, along with Protektorat, Caribean Boy and Coole Cody.



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