We tipped last year’s winner Step Back in this race and we are very much looking to double up with a young, improving chaser who is going places.
As usual though the bet365 Gold Cup is a competitive event and there are lots in with chances on the book, these six for our money being the most likely to give punters a run for their money.
Adrien Du Pont
Despite a bad run at Aintree last time when it seems the soft ground was completely against him, his profile is one of a horse improving overall and after two good efforts over three miles round Kempton it seems he is now ready for this step up in trip.
Paul Nicholls’ horse is just 6lbs higher than when winning a decent race over Christmas and certainly doesn’t look badly treated, so a fair round of jumping under Nick Scholfield should see him hold a respectable chance at a big price making him an each-way player.
Last year’s Scottish Grand National winner clearly wants a good trip and he should be staying on when others have given in, but in winning at Ayr a year ago he was very much a horse in form whereas this time he has to prove his unsuccessful exploits at Aintree haven’t damaged him any as he was pulled up in the National behind Tiger Roll.
He’d done well at Newbury before that in fairness and he represents excellent connections in Rebecca Curtis and Aidan Coleman.
Just A Sting
Harry Fry’s young chaser has only had four goes over the larger obstacles and as such is bound to get better than he’s already shown, though despite his second to Adrien Du Pont at Kempton he did not really perform when thrown into competitive handicap company at Cheltenham, finishing 10th in the Kim Muir in the end.
All that being said, he may yet improve for this trip under jockey Sean Bowen and as such could get amongst it at the business end although he is just about passed over this time.
Rock The Kasbah
A crack handicap chaser who is no doubt capable here, Philip Hobbs’ runner was brought down in the Grand National and ran poorly before that back in December, however he has run very well in this race during the last two renewals so it’s fair to say this suits him.
On that alone he has to make the shortlist and with champion jockey Richard Johnson on board he is likely to find himself in just the right position when the race gets going in earnest to mount his challenge.
Last year’s winner of course, he was relatively easy to call that day given that he’d recently routed his field at Fakenham and was very obviously on the improve, but this year is a little different.
Well beaten at Chepstow and Warwick after winning this, owing partly to his 14lb hike in the weights, he was fancied by some for the Grand National but dropped away a little tamely having been at the front end for a good way and he is still some 10lbs higher in the handicap than when scoring last season, despite not looking in the best of form.
There has been a lot of money for him this week forcing him into favouritism, but his trainer has revealed it isn’t money from the yard.
A very promising seven-year-old chaser with just five runs under his belt over fences, Alan King’s entrant has to have a serious chance based on his win at Doncaster and second at Kempton over the winter in novice races, keeping his handicap mark realistic.
Off 145 he looks fairly well treated in all honesty and with this trip and the more competitive nature of the race set to drag a fair bit of improvement out of him he looks a fair bet to run very close under jockey Wayne Hutchinson.
If Joe Farrell can bounce back from his Aintree exploits he can use his stamina to good effect in this race, while Just A Sting is bound to show more than he has thus far given his inexperience and potential.
By the same token we should see a career best in this race from TALKISCHEAP and he is taken to land this before being put away for what could be a fruitful second chasing season beginning next autumn.