The Betvictor Gold Cup (Saturday 2.25) is a Grade-3 handicap run over 2-miles 4½-furlongs on Cheltenham’s Old Course. It has been won by horses aged 5 to 8 in the last decade, with six of those being 7-year-olds. Only two horses have carried more than 11-0 to victory, and Exotic Dancer and Al Ferof both went on to be close to top-class. Jonjo O’Neill trained the winner in 2006 and 2013, whilst Paul Nicholls has trained 2 of the last 4 winners having.
19 Runners are set to go to post for the 2016 Betvictor Gold Cup.
Course and distance winner at the 2014 Cheltenham Festival, and ran two excellent races in the Summer of marks in the high 150’s. However, they were over further and he may just find this happening a little quick off top-weight.
Taquin De Seuil
Dual course and distance winner, but 4lb higher than last handicap win. Trained by Jonjo O’Neill.
Won last year’s race off a 9lb lower mark, but then followed-up off an 5lb lower mark. Tough ask off 11-11 though in what is probably a better renewal.
Will love it if conditions stay good, but may have left this race behind when winning at Chepstow. Gone up 6lb for that win, and carries 11-11 here when he only carried 10-10 at Chepstow.
Winner off 136 and 144 over course and distance last year, but is now much higher in the ratings, and literally has a lot more weight on his back.
More Of That
Jonjo O’Neill has said that this is the best horse he’s ever trained, and he’s 4 from 5 over hurdles and fences at Cheltenham including winning the 2014 World Hurdle. Reportedly bled when only third when last seen in the RSA Chase in March, but a mark of 154 leaves him with 15lb in hand compared to his hurdle rating.
This is first run for Colin Tizzard and his first run in a handicap. Done most of his running in small field graded races, and the jury is out to whether he’ll appreciate the hurly-burly of this kind of race, or not.
2lb higher than when second last year and, though entitles to beat Annacotty on these terms, there’s likely to be a few better handicapped horses.
Another who’s better off with Annacotty, but usually at his best on softer ground, and his stable is very quiet at the moment.
Only 5, but 7lb higher than when finishing second at last season’s Cheltenham Festival. Tough ask.
Stable in cracking form, but not weighted to reverse form with Bouvreuil, As De Mee or More Of That from their meeting last season.
Some form-lines give him a chance, but all his wins have come on soft or heavy ground.
Yet to prove he really wants to go this far, and beaten 11-lengths or more on his last 4 completed starts.
Officially rated 146 already, but can run here off just 139 due to his late penalty and his jockey’s claim. Hard not to be impressed with him so far in his short chase career, but he’s only 4, and flopped twice in big-fields over hurdles, including at Cheltenham.
His two runs at Cheltenham leave a lot to be desired, but it will be interesting to see how he goes on his first run for the red-hot Johnny Farrelly. Noel Fehily an interesting jockey booking.
As De Mee
Looks absolutely thrown-in on his run in last year’s Steel Plate And Sections Novices Chase over course and distance, where he finished just 2½ lengths behind More Of That off level-weights, and gets 15lb off him here. Also gets 6lb off Double Shuffle who was 8-lengths further back that day.
A lightly-weighted 7-year-old who has already done BRBB Members one favour this year, but his 4 runs at Cheltenham aren’t easy to overlook. Looks sure to front-run and has a nice low-weight to try those tactics off.
Looked desperately out-of-form in two runs this Autumn and trainer remains on the cold-list. Still feasibly weighted on his second to Irish Cavalier though at the 2015 Festival.
Has to run from out of the handicap, making him 11lb higher than his last win. Drop in trip also not guaranteed to suit, but top jockey Paul Townend is booked.
2016 Betvictor Gold Cup Tip
Frodon could be absolutely anything and only his age puts me off. Meanwhile, More Of That is the potential Gold Cup Horse running off a handicappers mark and, though he’s mainly raced in small fields, his best two performances have come in fast-run races in big-fields. However, the memory of As De Mee winning the 2015 EBY Final in a canter marks him down as a horse capable of being much better than a mark of 139, and he looks ideally weighted with just 10-8 on his back.
Selection: As De Mee
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