SUNNYHILLBOY (2.30) merits serious consideration in the feature AP McCoy Gold Cup at Cheltenham on Saturday.
Jonjo O’Neill’s young chaser will come on a bundle for his run behind Little Josh in the Paddy Power Gold and he boasts all-important solid course form. Besides winning his novice hurdle at Prestbury Park, Sunnyhillboy ran a terrific race at the Festrival in March when chasing home David Pipe’s handicap snip Great Endeavour. Richie McLernon takes the mount again, with McCoy jumping ship to ride Irish raider Finger Onthe Pulse.
Celestial Halo never looked comfortable during his truncated chasing career and is the clear pick on ratings in the Relkeel Hurdle. He remains something of a risky proposition and I prefer KARABAK (1.20). Alan King’s hurdler was no match for Silvinaco Conti at Ascot but comes here with solid credentials, having run well behind Big Bucks in last season’s World Hurdle and hunting up Mikael D’Haguenet in the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle.
French-bred SILVINACO CONTI (3.05) remains unbeaten in five starts and looked a bit special when routing some smart rivals in the Coral Hurdle at Ascot.
Wolverhampton has been a happy hunting ground lately and POLLY HOLDER (7.20) is worth a second look in the claimer. Alan Bailey’s filly has shown promise in two course maidens and she could hold too many aces for Skeleton and Sheila’s Star.
David Barron sends out ELIJAH PEPPER (8.50) with sound claims in the finale. My selection likes it around here and a repeat of his run behind the well treated Spectait last time would make him hard to beat.