Just ten are due to go to post for this year’s Silver Cup, all of them at a glance holding some sort of each-way chance in the race. Given big weights, the need for a different track layout or ground and a lack of improvement however we’ve managed to lose five of them leaving a shortlist of five for the £100,000 contest.
The ground is set to be heavy at Ascot meaning this will take some getting, but it’s precisely the testing conditions that could bring out the best in one or two of these with the price of our selection looking fair in what is a tight-looking market.
Harry Fry’s eight-year-old is just ten races into his jumping career, seven over the larger obstacles, and so broadly speaking we have to assume the gelding has not reached his peak just yet.
His best performance to date was a handicap win around Ascot nearly two years ago on soft ground and while that was some time ago, he came back to form at Chepstow last time over three miles which should have put him spot-on for this.
Fry had to explain his gelding’s upturn in form however and attributed it to first-time cheekpieces, something which if true may not have the desired effect this time and so caution is advised.
The form of Alan King’s seven-year-old, while he’s young enough to get better yet, has rather flattened out since he went chasing in summer 2018 but his best performances have been either when going up in trip to two-and-a-half miles or at Ascot on soft ground, so there’s some encouragement there.
If the step up to three miles here is to be the key that unlocks his improvement then he is definitely well-handicapped, but with more “ifs” than “definites” we have to pass up on backing him to win this time.
Give Me A Copper
Fresh after a 42-day break between races, representing a top yard (Paul Nicholls), with an improving chasing record of two from 6 and with his best performance coming last time over three miles plus on rain-softened ground, there’s nothing much not to like about this horse.
While he appears to be getting better, his relative inexperience over fences may not really be to his advantage in this race though and his latest win in having booted him up to a mark of 148 may just about play against him enough.
JP McManus runs two in this contest, with Philip Hobbs’ seven-year-old ridden by Barry Geraghty clearly being the main hope over 11yo Regal Encore.
About to turn 8, Jerrysback is coming close to reaching his peak as a chaser and with only six such runs behind him everything to this date has merely been the rehearsal while today could be the big show.
His pattern last season was to start off with a rotten run before improving no end to win on soft ground at Bangor before finishing a close second to the now 159 rated Vinndication at Ascot. He returned this season with a hugely under-par performance, but that could just be the way of it with him and much better things are expected now.
On his own performances and on a line through Vinndication he could be capable of reaching a mark somewhere in the mid-150’s, so off 143 here he appears potentially very well handicapped indeed.
Colin Tizzard knows exactly how to prepare a horse for an assault on big handicap races like this, while his entrant Mister Malarky has also already won around this course and distance in the Grade 2 Reynoldstown Novices’ Chase.
That was ten months ago now in fairness and he hasn’t really kicked on from that as much as expected, so his trainer will need to see further improvement after a return to form when he was sixth in the Ladbrokes Trophy last time which would give him a solid each-way shout.
Should all of these horses run to their potential, which essentially very rarely happens, then it would be a close race between a number of them for place money with for us Give Me A Copper and Mister Malarky coming out on top in that group.
The standout in terms of potential though is undoubtedly JERRYSBACK who, if he does improve as expected from his last run to this, could be very well-handicapped which is always the key thing to look out for.