Former Talksport man Charlie McCann marks your card with seven to follow on Saturday at Cheltenham, Wetherby and Punchestown.
The Paddy Power Gold Cup is the feature race at Cheltenham this afternoon and it is another maximum 20-runner field. My long time antepost fancy Little Jon failed to make the cut and if there is one horse in today’s line up who could make a mockery of his present mark it is Kings Palace (2.25) and the 6/1 favourite gets the each way vote despite the fact that he is unproven in big fields.
The selection has a great record first time out and looked a potential star over fences last term before disappointing for the second year running at the Cheltenham Festival back in March. The good ground looks ideal and, whilst the drop back in trip is a slight concern, there is plenty of pace in the race and the Pipe family have a great history in the race with David saddling the winner in 2011 and his father Martin having no fewer than eight winners of the race.BetVictor are betting five places on the race and I would be disappointed if Kings Palace didn’t make the frame and if he gets into a nice jumping rhythm he will be hard to peg back up the famous Cheltenham hill.
Sausilito Sunrise (1.50) is on something of a retrieval mission given he was pulled up quickly with five to jump as if something was amiss on his reappearance at Chepstow last month having been very well backed prior to the race. The hope is that he is over what ailed him on that occasion and the fact that he is turned out again five weeks later would suggest he is pleasing Philip Hobbs on the gallops.
The selection couldn’t keep tabs on the slick jumping of Kings Palace in two starts in the early part of last season, but he looked like he could make up into a top class staying chaser one day and it would be no surprise to see him line up in the National one day.
At Wetherby De Vous A Moi (2.05) has been raised 2lbs for his reappearance when runner up at Ayr and he is entitled to come on for the run. He is likely to get further in time but remains a chaser of some potential and I would be disappointed if he couldn’t win from his current mark when the mud is flying.
On Sunday and I am sweet on the chances of Garde La Victoire (1.35) in the Arkle Trial for Philip Hobbs. The selection made an impressive debut over the larger obstacles when giving Bristol De Mai weight and a beating at Uttoxeter last month and he was trimmed from 16s to 14/1 for the Festival with BetVictor earlier in the week.
Calipto and Fox Norton (gives the selection 4lbs) are considered the main dangers in a cracking heat but I am convinced the Hobbs’ novice is top class and gets the vote.
I hope I am not following Sprinter Sacre (2.10) over a cliff but he would pick up and carry this lot if back to anywhere near his best and he receives weight from four of his five rivals. Yes he disappointed last term but one could argue that a repeat of his 3L second to subsequent Champion Chaser Dodging Bullets in the Clarence House Chase would make his hard to beat. He is 9/4 at BetVictor and that looks a fair price given how well Simonsig and Bobs Worth ran last weekend.
The concluding Bumper is a cracker with Waterlord looking for a four-timer for John Ferguson, but Aintree winner Chap (3.50) created such a favourable impression when scoring back in May that he should be followed until he meets with defeat. The selection has joined Dan Skelton since his Aintree success and is a fine looking animal.
A wonderful card at Punchestown and the return of the great Faugheen in the Morgiana Hurdle; the Champions Hurdler can lead home a 1-2 for Willie Mullins with Nichols Canyon like to follow his stablemate home.
In the Grade 2 Novice Chase Sizing John (1.05) is taken to follow up his C&D success last month for Henry De Bromhead. Third behind Douvan in the Supreme Novices’ at Cheltenham has should have too much pace for Lord Scoundrel who must give the selection 3lbs.
Be lucky Charlie