In the first of my antepost Cheltenham pointers I take a look at Sizing Gold, who will run in Thursday’s JLT Novices Chase.
Having backed him already for the RSA, I’m disappointed to say Sizing Gold will now be heading to the newly named JLT but, at 12/1 (bet365), I’m prepared to back him again for the shorter race, as I remain optimistic that he will make up in to a high-class chaser on the evidence seen to date.
A fairly smart novice hurdler last term, the son of Flemensfirth was always going to come in to his own fences, given his physique, and he made an impressive winning debut at Navan (beating subsequent winner, Mullaghanoe River).
On a line through the runner-up, he has plenty to find with Willie Mullins’ Djakadam, who beat him more handsomely at Leopardstown, but Sizing Gold was having his first start for more than 8 months on his reappearance.
The seven-year-old lost his unbeaten record over fences at Naas lin January, when clearly outstayed by National Hunt Chase bound Foxrock. 3m was always going to stretch him on heavy ground and, while I believe he would see out the trip on a better surface, Henry De Bromhead was quick to rule out the RSA and stated he will head straight to the JLT, despite holding an entry in the Dr PJ Moriarty.
Despite the defeat, Sizing Gold again impressed with the way he travelled through the race and, even more so, with the way he jumped, with Andrew Lynch constantly restraining him after some very prodigious leaps. He won’t need to do that over this shorter trip and, with better ground promising to bring about further improvement, I expect him to run a big race.
The selection may well be trading at generous odds on the day, for those who prefer to wait, but there is certainly room for him to shorten and the race could well cut up a bit, especially as it now appears likely that Champagne Fever will drop back in trip for the Arkle.
Ante-Post (JLT Novices’ Chase, Cheltenham); Sizing Gold (12/1, bet365)
Paul Ferguson’s Jumpers To Follow 2013-14
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New for 2013-14:
Grade 1 winning jockeys Nick Scholfield and Jane Mangan provide readers with their horses to follow
Last years results included:
* Leading Prospects, Arvika Ligeonniere (x3), Boston Bob, Captain Conan (x3), Champagne Fever (x2 inc Supreme Novices’ Hurdle), Glens Melody, Melodic Rendezvous, Simonsig (Arkle) & Un Atout won 13 Grade 1 novice contests between them
* My Tent Or Yours won 4 times including the Betfair Hurdle and the Top Novices’ at Aintree
* Stable Round-Up included Neptune winner The New One, Scottish Champion Hurdle winner Court Minstrel and David Pipe’s Dynaste of whom it read “could follow the Grands Crus path of last year, starting in the Steel Plate And Sections before he is readied for the Feltham” – he won both races and also scored at Aintree in April
* Across The Sea – Mount Benbulben 14/1 winner of the Grade 1 novice chase at the Punchestown Festival
* Under The Hammer – horses featured in this section included Champion Bumper winner Briar Hill (25/1) and The Liquidator, who won the equivalent Grade 1 at Punchestown – this section has been greatly increased for 2013-14