Saturday sees the annual running of the Paddy Power Gold Cup at Cheltenham. Traditionally one of the first big handicap chases of the National Hunt season, the Paddy Power Gold Cup is a Grade 3 contest, run over two miles and four and a half furlongs, with a total number of 15 fences jumped.
Trainer Martin Pipe had a virtual monopoly on the race, winning it eight times and his son David has a strong hand in this year’s race with his two entrants featuring highly in the betting. The current ante-post favourite is King’s Palace, trained by Pipe and set to be ridden by Tom Scudamore. A winner three times over fences last season, including twice at Cheltenham, King’s Palace then ran a disappointing race in the RSA Chase at the Cheltenham Festival, finishing sixth of eight runners. King’s Palace likes to dominate races, and against 19 rivals on Saturday he may struggle to do so. Monetaire is Pipes’s other representative and he may well offer better value betting wise. Third at this meeting last year, Monetaire then ran second over course and distance in the Festival Plate before being brought down in the Topham Chase at Aintree when travelling well. Relatively unexposed at the age of nine, Monetaire looks set to run a big race on Saturday.
The current ante-post second favourite is Boondooma trained by Dr Richard Newland. Boondooma made a winning return to action at Cheltenham three weeks ago in his first race since last December. Staying on strongly over two miles that day, Saturday’s step up in trip looks ideal but there have to be concerns on whether he will handle the rough and tumble of 19 other runners in what will be only his fifth race over jumps.
Irish Cavalier enjoyed an impressive novice campaign last season, culminating in victory in a Listed novice handicap chase at the Cheltenham Festival in March. A winning reappearance at Newton Abbot last month, sees the Rebecca Curtis trained six-year old coming into Saturday’s race in excellent form.
Winner of the race in 2013, the Jonjo O’Neill trained Johns Spirit was beaten by a head into second place in last year’s race and he comes into this year’s renewal with a strong chance according to O’Neill. Pulled up in his seasonal reappearance in the Old Roan chase at Aintree last month, Johns Spirit, O’Neill sees no reason why his eight-year old cannot win the race for a second time.
Kim Bailey has been in outstanding form this month, bagging seven winners so far and he runs Darna in Saturday’s race. The winner of the Festival Plate over course and distance in May, Darna comes into the race fresh and could well belie his large odds.
King’s Palace is the current 8 (7/1) ante-post favourite for Saturday’s race with Boondooma 10 (9/1), Monetaire and Johns Spirit both 13 (12/1), and Darna at 26 (25/1). The horse racing tip for the Paddy Power Gold Cup is Monetaire each way at 13 (12/1).
By: Scott McGlynn