It’s BetVictor Gold Cup day today and, after a damp night at Cheltenham, the going is now good to soft, good in places.
BetVictor Gold Cup Handicap Chase
The first big race of the season has attracted an outstanding field and it is hard to rule out any of the runners with any great confidence.
In the end we have boiled it down to TAQUIN DE SEUIL, DOUBLE SHUFFLE and ASO.
Taquin De Seuil has run plenty of good races here in the past and this is something of a drop in class for him as most of his runs over fences have been in Grade 1s. He ran a race full of promise on his return to action and will relish every drop of rain that falls.
The same is true of Aso, although there is a concern about him as Venetia Williams’ yard has been very quiet so far on account of the ground. If he is at his best he should be capable of outperforming his handicap mark and he has looked for a while to be crying out for this trip.
Double Shuffle was favourite for a novices’ handicap at the Festival here and ran well to finish third. He is still lightly raced and so open to further improvement and his yard couldn’t have started the season better. He got going too late at Chepstow on his comeback behind Art Maauresque, but that effort should have blown away the cobwebs and put him spot on for this.
The others who were on our shortlist were Bouvreuil and Stilletto.
|Taquin De Seuil (ew)||2.25 Cheltenham||10/1||BetVictor|
|Double Shuffle (ew)||2.25 Cheltenham||11/1||Bet365|
|Aso (ew)||2.25 Cheltenham||16/1||Bet365|
BetVictor Handicap Chase
Jonjo O’Neill hasn’t had a winner for while, but he could have a big day here as we think BEG TO DIFFER can take the valuable staying chase that precedes the Gold Cup. He has looked likely to develop into a top class stayer for a couple of seasons now and this could be his year. Again, he won’t mind the rain.
The same is true of WARRANTOR. He’ll need to brush up his jumping, but he looks very well treated and gets a massive swing in the weights with Minella Rocco from their clash in the National Hunt Chase here at the Festival.
Another second season novice, RACING PULSE, should also be backed now that his yard is back in form. Arguably his best recent run was a win over three miles in heavy ground so stamina could prove to be his forte.
|Beg To Differ (ew)||1.50 Cheltenham||18/1||Bet365|
|Warrantor (ew)||1.50 Cheltenham||16/1||Bet365|
|Racing Pulse (ew)||1.50 Cheltenham||16/1||Bet365|
Regulatory Finance Solutions Handicap Hurdle
Staying hurdlers take centre stage in the Regulatory Finance Solutions Hurdle.
ALLYSSON MONTERG is a horse we really like and we tipped him up at big prices a couple of times last season including when he was second here in January at 33/1. He is a big, scopey sort and so should have improved over the winter and the rain has come at the right time for him.
At a big price, don’t ignore ANTEROS, who often runs his best races here. He has dropped in the weights and has first time blinkers to help him.
Out Sam is best of the rest.
|Allysson Monterg (ew)||3.00 Cheltenham||8/1||Bet365|
|Anteros (ew)||3.00 Cheltenham||33/1||Bet365|
Intermediate Handicap Hurdle
In the Novices Handicap at 3.35pm we like WHO DARES WINS despite his top weight, as we think he will really relish the step up in trip.
His big danger could be ROBIN OF LOCKSLEY who ran well over course and distance on his comeback, and has the hood and tongue tie fitted for the first time.
|Who Dares Wins (ew)||3.35 Cheltenham||11/1||Stan James|
|Robin Of Locksley (ew)||3.35 Cheltenham||9/1||Bet365|
Mares’ Standard Open NH Flat Race
In the concluding bumper, don’t miss BRILLARE MOMENOT and CANOODLE.
|Brillare Momenot (ew)||4.05 Cheltenham||13/2||Bet365|
|Canoodle (ew)||4.05 Cheltenham||14/1||Bet365|