With today’s card restricted by the weather again Paul Ferguson goes antepost and selects Robinson Collonges @ 8/1 for the Vote A.P. Gold Cup on Saturday
The resumption of jumps racing at Exeter yesterday appears to be a momentary ray of sunshine, as the prospects for this week look pretty bleak. Cheltenham’s officials, however, seem optimistic that their valuable fixture will go ahead next weekend, so I’m going to take an early look at the Vote A.P. Gold Cup.
At first glance a couple of weeks back, novice Robinson Collonges stood out and, though Paul Nicholls doesn’t seem too happy with the handicap mark that his five-year-old has been handed, he still makes plenty of appeal now I’ve looked through the race in more detail.
An initial rating of 148 doesn’t exactly scream ‘chucked in’ but a lot of his rivals are exposed sorts and, in the context of this race, he could be fairly treated.
He jumped for fun when making a winning chase debut at Bangor and would then have handed out a beating to the 144-rated hurdler Wishfull Thinking, to whom he was conceding 6lbs. Unlucky to come down three out, when he knuckled on landing having jumped the fence well, he got back to winning ways in a minor contest at Hereford just 12 days later.
Inexperience is an obvious concern, but the free-going grey appeals as the type to improve for a step up in class and a big run looks on the cards.
Looking further back through his French form (where he was beaten just once) reveals that he finished in front of the ill-fated Najaf on his final start and he went on to finish runner-up in the Albert Bartlett and third to Peddlers Cross at Aintree.
8/1 seems a fair price to me, though he may not be too much shorter come the day for those who prefer to avoid the risk of an ante-post bet.
Looking through the list of possible dangers, Sports Line is one to note on his first start for Donald McCain, though he has to prove his stamina over this trip, whilst the one that stands out at bigger odds is Roberto Goldback.
A Grade 2 winner over hurdles and over fences, he is not a certain runner so keep tabs on today’s five-day declarations. If allowed to take his chance, Jessie Harrington’s charge looks over-priced at 33/1.
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Last year’s selections included:
Hurricane Fly: 3/1 winner of the G1 Rabobank Champion Hurdle
Copper Bleu: 12/1 winner of the Jewson at Cheltenham
Great Endeavour: 18/1 winner of the Festival Plate
Tranguil Sea: 11/2 winner of the Paddy Power Gold Cup
Sizing Europe: 6/1 winner of the Arkle
Weapon’s Amnesty: 10/1 winner of the RSA Chase