Betvictor Gold Cup Preview
BETVICTOR GOLD CUP
The highlight of the weekend at Cheltenham with the Betvictor Gold Cup and I will try and find a selection that I think can go very well at a decent price. With 18 runners to cover I will narrow it down to the leading contenders and decide what I think has the best chance.
Kylemore Lough (11/2)
Has been well supported for this race for a while having now joined Harry Fry from Kerry Lee. This tough horse ran some good races last season , winning five times in a row before a head 2nd place in a Grade 2 at Ascot and then 5th of 16 in the Caviar Gold Cup over C&D and would have gone close if he didn’t blunder the last (leading at the time). He was last seen finishing 4th in a Grade 1 at Aintree which was decent and returns to handicap company off a 2lb lower mark than when running in the Caviar Gold Cup. Kylemore Lough is with a cracking yard here and this has obviously been the plan by connections since joining the team. It will be a tough task conceding weight all around though and top weight horses in this race rarely win so that’s a huge negative. I can still see him running really well regardless and he should be bang there coming down to the last.
Double Treasure (14/1)
This horse has transformed into a winning machine. This 6yo beat the smart Two Taff’s over C&D last time quite easily having looked outpaced at one stage before his stamina kicked into play. He’s now won four on the bounce and proved his liking for this track last time but he’s been hit with a 13lb rise and that could stop him from landing a five timer although he’s improving rapidly. He is another who should run well but might not be good enough to win this off his new current mark.
Foxtail Hill (8/1)
Foxtail Hill loves it around here with his chase form at this track reading 1F21 and there is no doubting he will try and make all under Jamie Bargary (claims 3lbs). He stayed on gamely over C&D LTO beating Le Prezien and is 2lb better off this time around. That was a good performance considering that it was his first run of the season and he is bound to come on for the run second time out. Nigel Twiston-Davies has won this race before and this horse ticks plenty of boxes to run a big race. My only worry is that he could well set it up for a closer but other than that he is a very solid contender and a 7lb rise for his latest success doesn’t look too harsh.
This Nicky Henderson trained runner looks a huge price. He ran a really nice race to finish 3rd in the Grand Annual here back in March off only 5lb lower and was then second twice over this distance in a Listed and Grade 2 race, latest of those when chasing home Cloudy Dream. He was 3 lengths clear coming down to the last but blundered it and might will have beaten that very good horse otherwise. He ran well on his seasonal debut at Ascot over 2m two weeks ago. He’s been dropped 2lbs and that should have put him spot on for this and he goes well for Jeremiah Mcgrath. He should run well at a very decent price.
Starchitect fits many trends here. This 6yo got back to winning ways last time out at Stratford and he’s only been raised 4lbs. He looks still well treated back at Cheltenham where his form figures in big fields read well – 4555. The Pipe team have a great record in this race and I expect this young, improving chaser to be ridden up with the pace today. My only big doubt is the fact he has yet to win further than 2m3f although he’s ran well in defeat over this trip before at the championship events. You can expect him to run his usual solid race but doesn’t look value at his current price off a career high-mark. He will need to improve on last seasons form but he simply can’t be ignored for powerful connections.
Ballyalton looks thrown in here off 143 having won the Close Brothers in 2016 off only 3lb lower over C&D at the Festival. He has only run twice since and reappeared with a fine effort over hurdles at Aintree LTO in preparation for this race. The only other time he ran at this track came when 2nd behind the mighty Faugheen at the 2014 Cheltenham Festival in a Grade 1. He is lightly raced for a 10yo and this looks to have been his target for a while. The Ian Williams yard are flying in recent weeks and this horse has a lot of class as well as brilliant course form. The only negative is that he’s 10 but other than that he looks rock solid and a reproduction of his 2016 Cheltenham Festival win will put him bang there in contention. It’s just worrying tp think if he actually retains all of his old ability as we can only go on the back of one run since last year.
Romain De Senam (9/1)
Improving, represents Paul Nicholls and is starting to become the full package of a chaser. But, I didn’t like his last win as he seemed to barely hold on at the end and he’s been hit with a massive rise in the handicap. He has got previous course form but it will demand even more off this new career high-mark and he does look vulnerable for win purposes although he should run a nice race for his powerful yard.
Charlie Longsdon bought this smart horse from a good yard in Ireland where he showed very smart form in tough handicap company on more than a few occasions off higher marks and was even good enough to finish 2nd in a Grade 2 event. He’s very effective over this sort of trip and has course form from when contesting last year’s County Hurdle. I think he is very well handicapped off 139 and is best suited to quick ground. Johnny Burke is doing ever so well for his new stable and this 8yo shouldn’t be past over lightly. It’s interesting to see him start off in such a tough race on stable debut but maybe Charlie bought this horse for this race in mind. He is well overpriced at the moment and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him run very well.
Guitar Pete (14/1)
He was a very smart horse for previous connections and has only finished out of the first two once in 7 starts for Nicky Richards. He has bounced back to his best this year and impressed when winning well LTO in a Listed race at Wetherby over 2m3f. The way he won that suggests he could keep on improving and he finished 3rd in 2014 Triumph Hurdle remember. However, his form in big fields otherwise is poor and this demands more off a 7lb higher mark.
Plaisir D’amour (25/1)
Venetia Williams usually gets her horses spot on for this meeting and although 5yo horses don’t have the best record in the race, she really relished fences last season and jumped for fun around here on her first visit to the track and galloped on all the way up the hill in a Listed Mares race over 2m4f under Aidan Coleman. That impressive success came off a mark 132 and she ran another good race when a 3L 5th at Sandown, staying on well late on. She’s been eased 1lb and is ground/trip versatile. Venetia Williams obviously holds this horse in high regard and has kept her fresh for this. Plaisir D’amour remains the least exposed and if she jumps as well as her last sole visit to this track then I have no doubt she will go very well. This step-up slightly in trip will suit and I can see her being ridden close to the pace and ready to pounce off the final bend.
The horses I don’t think have a chance of winning are Days Of heaven, Splash of Ginge, Lake Takapuna, Aqua Dude and Mystifiable.
So competitive with many who can be given a chance but I am going to side with a couple at big prices. THEINVAL was unlucky all last year and ran a big race at the Cheltenham Festival to be third before nearly defeating Cloudy Dream at Ayr in a Grade 2 but for a blunder at the last. He will strip fitter for his latest run and one day he will land a big pot, so at the prices he looks value for each-way purposes. My other choice is the Venetia Williams trained PLAISIR D’AMOUR who jumped for fun on his only previous visit here to win a Listed Mares Chase. 5yo horses don’t often do well in this but connections must feel she is capable of a bold showing and looks on a lenient mark.
(20/1) widely available, four places at 1/4 odds.PLAISIR D’AMOUR – 0.5 POINTS EACH-WAY
(25/1) with Betfair + PP, five places at 1/5 odds.