Former Talksport man Charlie McCann marks your card with five to follow at Cheltenham and Wetherby on Saturday. View selections below
Today’s feature race is the Paddy Power Gold Cup one of the best handicap chases of the whole jumps season. Present View would have been the selection on good to soft or better ground but I fear conditions have gone against Jamie Snowden’s runner who dis us a favour at the Cheltenham Festival back in March.
My two against the field are Buywise (7/1 with BetVictor) and Persian Snow (16/1) and the latter gets the each way vote on ground that should suit the Philip Hobbs trained runner. Hobbs saddled the winner of the race back in 1989 with Joint Sovereignty and 25 years on he can double up having run a cracked behind Johns Spirt (5lbs worse off) last month.
Indian Castle has left Donald McCain and joined Ian Williams since his last start and the ground will certainly suit this young chaser who was backed as if defeat was out of the question in the Kim Muir at the Festival. Under normal circumstances you would suggest that this extended two-and-a-half-mile trip would be on the sharp side but if the ground is testing his stamina might come into play. A fascinating renewal of a great race but my 1-2-3 is:
1 Persian Snow
3 Indian Castle
I’m not convinced Creepy stays 3m but am loath to desert him after a fine exhibition of jumping at Chepstow last month on his chase debut. If the race develops into a slog I think Sausalito Sunrise (1.15) might be best equipped. The selection also made a winning chase debut at Chepstow but his was over today’s 3m trip on soft ground when he jumped soundly although perhaps not as exuberantly as Creepy.
Kings Palace makes his eagerly awaited chase debut and has the size and scope to jump a fence but he might want better ground and he, too, is overlooked on this occasion.
The Druids Nephew has always promised to be a decent staying chaser but I wonder if three-and-a-half miles on soft ground are his optimum conditions even with the mercurial Barry Geraghty in the saddle.
We didn’t get a run for our money with Golden Chieftain who came down at the first at Wincanton last weekend but he must be none the worse and must go close but near the foot of the weights the vote goes to Pigeon Island (1.50) who was backed as if defeat was out of the question at Aintree in a Veterans’ Chase last time. The selection stayed on very well on that occasion for today’s jockey Jamie Bargary who claims an invaluable 10lbs. The selection has been called a few rude names in the past but that is factored into his price and can reward each way support at 12/1 with BetVictor.
I was very taken with the win of Shouldavboughtgold (2.05) at Carlisle earlier in the week and he is turned out under a 7lb penalty at Wetherby with James Reveley keeping the ride. What A Good Night is the obvious danger but the selection can follow up on ground which clearly suits.