Bet victor gold cup preview

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I have gone over the Bet Victor Gold Cup in detail. I hope you enjoy the read:

The first big meeting of the season at Cheltenham and the excitement is building. 

We have an amazing three days ahead of us full of top quality racing. 

Cheltenham is a place where I always perform and with it being my local course, in fact it is where I walk my dog, I know the course very well. I know exactly what type of horse it takes to win around here and it is a place where I am simply at home.

My results at Cheltenham are the reason why I have been known as the ‘Cheltenham Specialist’ and I am going all out to make sure these next 3 days are full of profit.

Let’s move on to the big race of the weekend where I am happy to produce a preview for you with a few selections attached.

Bet Victor Gold Cup

The first running of this race was back in 1960. It is a Handicap Chase and often attracts some quality horses. The race has actually been won by some very good horses such as Imperial Commander, Exotic Dancer, Al Ferof, Lady Cricket, Celestial Gold, Our Vic.

In the last 20 years the race has been dominated by 3 yards in Martin/David Pipe, Nigel Twiston Davies and Jonjo O’Neil who have won it 13 times between them in the 20 years. If you also throw in Paul Nicholls who has won it twice in that time, you have 4 trainers who have won the race 15 times (75%) in the last 20 years. If you like your stats and trends look no further than those 4 trainers.

I will obviously take notes of the above record but I won’t take it at face value as you also have some trainers like Philip Hobbs and Alan King who have had many places without winning so it is a race they clearly target, just haven’t got lucky.

Above are just some of the angles for you to take away if you are going to tackle the race yourself.

Another angle for you to take away would be 11 of the last 13 winners had run at the previous Cheltenham Festival. The two horses who didn’t run at the Cheltenham Festival and won the race were Imperial Commander and Baron Alco and that was because they were injured.

For me experience at the course is absolutely crucial if you haven’t run at the course and run well, you can forget it in my eyes. Cheltenham racecourse takes no prisoners and for me you can’t rock up in an ultra competitive handicap chase, without a run at the course and a decent level of form.

Let’s go through the field those who I think are worth a mention.

Who has made the shortlist?

 

CASABLANCA MIX

Trainer – Nicky Henderson
Cheltenham Form – 400
ODDS 20/1

I thought he ran a great race at Market Rasen when winning the Summer Plate back in July. He jumped brilliant throughout and it looked like everything had finally clicked for him. The one thing which looks concerning is his form around Cheltenham. He also seems to go better on right handed courses.  

COUNT MERIBEL

Trainer – Nigel Twiston Davies
Cheltenham Form – 217
Odds 10/1

Count Meribel has had some good support in recent days and I can see why. He was 2nd to Lostintranslation in his prep run for this race and should come on for that run. He was also a winner at this course back at this meeting last season, when defeating Le Breuil.  He then ran in the RSA Chase at the Cheltenham Festival and did run well for a long way. He is rated 146 by the handicapper which looks ideal. Nigel Twiston Davies loves this race and he has to have a big chance. 

GUITAR PETE

Trainer – Nicky Richards
Cheltenham Form – 23001633
Odds 14/1

Third in this race last year and was then 3rd in the Caspian Gold Cup. He also won the Caspian Gold Cup in 2017. His form in these type races is very good and his season got off to a flyer with a very good win at Wetherby 2 weeks ago. He should have even more improvement to come but he is on a career high mark of 141, at the age of nine. I think he can place at decent odds but could be in the handicappers grips.  

SAINT CALVADOS

Trainer – Harry Whittingdon
Cheltenham Form – 001
Odds 10/1

I really like Saint Calvados as a horse and it was great to see him win here back in October. That was over 2 miles on heavy ground but is a horse who has never been beyond 2m. I do think he would get the trip but it is too much of a risk, especially with him carrying top weight and having his first start over a new trip. 

SIRUH DU LAC

Trainer – Nick Williams
Cheltenham Form – 411
Odds 11/2

Siruh Du Lac won two races at Cheltenham last season, both on the new course. Both times he beat a horse called Janika and one of those wins was at the Cheltenham Festival. He is a front runner and an excellent jumper. He may not be as good but reminds me a bit like Frodon. All heart, jumps for fun and as game as they come. Janika boosted his form last week when winning the Haldon Gold Cup at Exeter. He is rated 150 by the handicapper and given he is only a 6 year old, he should improve further. 

SLATE HOUSE

Trainer – Colin Tizzard
Cheltenham Form – 115F01
Odds 5/1

Slate House is a 3 time course winner and could not have won any easier back here in October. He won by 11 lengths and went up the handicap from 135 to 147. I really like the horse and even put him up as a handicapper to follow at the start of the season, on his then mark of 135. He could easily improve again as he has always looked a chaser in the making but given his rise in the handicap, and the step up in class, this could be a step to much. Although I think he will place at the price of 5/1 he is just too short. If he went out to 13/2 on the day or bigger, I would possibly get involved.  

SPIRITOFTHEGAMES

Trainer – Dan Skelton
Cheltenham Form – 4533
Odds 7/1

Has not run a bad race at Cheltenham without winning. Was 2nd to Kildisart on festival trials day, back in Janaury. He then followed this up with an excellent 3rd behind Siruh Du Lac and Janika at the Cheltenham Festival. I thought he was firmly put in his place by Siruh Du Lac at the festival but does reoppose that horse on 6lb better terms.  

US AND THEM

Trainer – Joseph O’Brien
Cheltenham Form – 2
Odds 9/2

Us And Them was 2nd at the Cheltenham Festival in the Arkle Chase and was then 2nd in the Maghull Novice Chase at Aintree. Both races are Grade 1s and for me looks the best pieces of form in the race. When 2nd here at the festival he stayed on up the hill from a mile back to get 2nd. He looked to be crying out for a step up in trip and his breeding also suggests he needs further. He had a nice prep race at Gowran Park last month, when 2nd to Snow Falcon. That should have put him spot on for this race.

Conclusion

I am happy to get rid of Casablanca Mix as I feel he wants a right handed course and is high enough in the handicap for what he has achieved.

The same applies for Guitar Pete who would need a career best at the age of 9. He has not done it off lower handicap marks in this race, so see no reason why he should this season.

Saint Calvados is a horse I have plenty of respect for but first try at the trip and carrying top weight. Not worth the risk.

Slate House may have ruined his handicap mark with his impressive win in October. Now rated 147 and priced up at 5/1. A bit to short for me on what he has achieved over fences.  

Spiritofthegames was beaten fair and square by Siruh Du Lac and even with a 6lb advantage I don’t see why he should reverse the form.

That leaves me with 3 horses in SIRUH DU LAC, US AND THEM and COUNT MERIBEL.

Can we back them all? I didn’t really want to stretch to 3 selections but I am going to cover COUNT MERIBEL with a small stake where we would still make a slight profit.

The Final Selections?

I like a horse who is up with the pace in this race. It can sometimes get messy in behind and last years race is a perfect example. Baron Alco and Frodon, were 1st and 2nd and both went from the front. 

SIRUH DU LAC loves to go from the front and is a super jumper. If he can get into a nice rhythm he can make them all make mistakes in behind, similar to what Baron Alco did last year. He was so impressive last season when winning twice at the course, including at the Cheltenham Festival. He is only a 6 year old so has so much more to come and could easily be ahead of the handicapper on a mark of 150. His form with Janika looks very good with that horse winning the Haldon Gold Cup and is now rated 166. A very tough horse who seems to be hard as nails and when he has to battle, finds extra. I am expecting a big run from SIRUH DU LAC and the fact that he has not run so far this season with a prep run, tells me they are looking after his handicap mark. 

US AND THEM looks a class act. Along with Siruh Du Lac I would not normally look at horses around the 150 mark but given the fact Saint Calvados runs, the weights are much lower this year. US AND THEM was 2nd in the Arkle Chase last season and what caught my eye the most, was the way he flew up the hill at the end of the race. The hill often catches horses out but he relished it. He then went to Aintree and again ran on strongly at the end of the race. He looked to be crying out for a step up in trip and the 2m 4f trip here looks ideal. He had a prep run at the start of October when a good 2nd to Snow Falcon at Gowran Park. That should have put him spot on for this race. He is bred to get further and more importantly he likes cut in the ground, with Flemensfirth and Stowaway as part of his breeding. Joseph O’Brien has proved what a master of a trainer he is by adding a breeders cup win to his list, last week, and I imagine this has been the plan for sometime. I am hoping they are prominent with him so he stays out of trouble, they have done that in the past with him so I am sure it is on the agenda. 

I didn’t aim to have 3 selections in the race but I just couldn’t leave COUNT MERIBEL out. I would hate to see him win and at least not have it covered with a small stake and we weren’t on. I am happy to cover with a half point and if he does win, we make a small profit. Nigel Twiston Davies loves this race and this horse does have the right profile. The mark of 146 could look lenient after the race given his level of form. He was 2nd to Lostintranslation last time out and my full time members will know, he is my star horse for the season to follow. Count Meribel didn’t get near Lostintranslation but it is still a decent level of form against a horse rated 1 stone superior by the handicapper. He also has course winning form when defeating the National Hunt 4 miler winner, Le Breuil at this meeting last year. Assistant trainer Jim Old has also said in the past, the first time this horse jumped, he thought he was special, so they clearly think a lot of him. They sent him to the RSA Chase last season which again shows the class they think he is up to. A horse who probably wants further than 2m 4f but given the front runners they have in the race, it is going to be run at a decent pace which will suit Count Meribel. I would rather have him on my side than against. 

SIRUH DU LAC 11/2 generally – 1 POINT WIN

US AND THEM 9/1 generally – 0.5 POINTS E/W (4 places, 1/4 odds)

COUNT MERIBEL 10/1 generally – 0.25 POINTS E/W (4 places, 1/4 odds)

 
 

 

 

 

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