With today’s jumps action rather uninspiring and having spent the weekend looking ahead to the race (and indeed the month of November as a whole) for my Racing Ahead column, I thought I would take an early look at the market for the Paddy Power Gold Cup.
We might be a month away from the contest, but there appears to be a bit of value about at this stage and that could easily change, should one of my selections run in a novice hurdle this week.
Regular readers of my work will know I was a big supporter of Present View last season and he certainly repaid my faith when landing the Rewards4Racing Novices’ Handicap Chase, providing Jamie Snowden with a first Cheltenham Festival success.
The six-year-old went from strength-to-strength last term and, having interviewed Brendan Powell for this year’s Jumpers To Follow and also having seen him in the flesh at Snowden’s owner’s day, there is plenty of belief behind the fact that he has improved again over the summer.
At his best on a decent surface, he is 7lb higher than when winning in March, but will protect that new mark of 144 by running in a novice hurdle, at either Huntingdon tomorrow or Cheltenham on Friday. The former, a race he finished third in 12 months ago on his return, was nominated as his likely Paddy Power prep at the owner’s day, so clearly everything has gone to plan to date.
A sound jumper, connections will be hopeful of a dry few weeks, as he is at his best on a decent surface, he will need a career best to land the Cheltenham contest but is certainly still on an upward curve and looks over-priced at 16-1.
Looking through the market in general, which is headed by the formerly high-class hurdler Oscar Whisky, who would be hard to fancy in a big-field handicap chase judged on last year’s novice form, and is followed by a clutch of horses that I don’t think will even line up.
Simonsig (Peterborough Chase), Djakadam (Hennessy Gold Cup), Ballycasey and Wonderful Charm (both possibles for the Grade 2 intermediate chase at Down Royal) all have alternative engagements, while the others towards the head of the betting either have a little to prove, or look far from being well handicapped.
That leaves a couple from the race he won at the festival, as possible dangers to Present View, most notably third home Pendra who made a right mess of the last, yet still only went down by 3½ lengths.
He failed to stay on his final outing in the Irish Grand National and, judged on his early season form (when beating the 155-rated Eduard), he still looks on a fair mark (140) and meets Present View on 4lb better terms.
Charlie Longsdon’s stoutly-bred chestnut has more to offer over the larger obstacles after just five starts and arriving at Cheltenham without a prep run should be viewed upon as a positive, as he has an unblemished record first time out (won on his seasonal reappearance for three years in a row).
In contrast to Present View, Pendra doesn’t mind testing ground, so a small interest on each should ensure we get a run for our money, regardless of what the weather throws at us. Given the top end of the market looks vulnerable and several might not even line up, it is not hard to envisage a gamble ensuing on Pendra (has happened on more than one occasion) and, should ‘AP’ be on board, he could easily be considerably shorter come post time.
Elsewhere, fifth behind that pair at the festival, Buywise, is another who warrants plenty of respect and he, too, holds an entry in a novices’ hurdle at Cheltenham on Friday. Evan Williams’ seven-year-old made a serious error when travelling well before winning at the same track in April. However, he is now 12lbs higher, which swings things marginally in favour of the other two.
Finally, though not quoted, Sizing Gold would be an intriguing runner for Ireland, but there has been no indication that he will be sent over at this stage and he has the option of running in a winners-of-one chase on home soil. We can look at him and the race as a whole again nearer the time but, for now, I’m happy to split stakes (which is, admittedly, unusual for me) on Present View and Pendra, who are both available at 16-1 with the sponsors.
Monday’s ante-post selections:
Paddy Power Gold Cup – both 16-1 with Paddy Power
Present View & Pendra
Paul Ferguson’s Jumpers To Follow 2014-15
Pre order now, published early September in good time for the new season: Just £9:95 inc p&p
* order online www.cc-publishing.co.uk
* or, send a cheque payable to ‘The Racing Insider’ to PO Box 98, Liverpool L9 1WY (with address details)
Fellow Betrescue columnist and Bet Victor’s Charlie McCann says: “It really is a privilege to write the foreword for such an informative and well-researched publication, which continues to go from strength to strength.”
- £359.70 profit to a level stake £10
- Iinc Cheltenham winners Faugheen, Very Wood (33/1) & O’Faolains Boy