Racing News Blog

17/11

So we return to the home of jumps racing this weekend that is Cheltenham for the newly named November meeting and the focus is on a great race that dates back to 1960.

BetVictor Gold Cup Handicap Chase (Grade 3) (Class 1) (4YO plus)      2M 4F 78Y

I fully expect Foxtail Hill to go forward and dictate the pace again in this race as he did last time out. I was concerned  with the trip last time out over 1 mile 7f  but he showed he could do it with a great front running ride from Sam Twiston – Davies running off  the mark of 140 . Sam sadly picked up an injury at Sandown on board Double Ross recently so Jamie Bargarytakes the mount this time round. He brings a handy 3lb claimer as Foxtail Hill now goes off a mark of 147. He won around Cheltenham over this trip in January with Jamie Bargary on board that day running off 133, the ground was soft that day which it is reported to be now so could go well with another bold bid from the front.

So what can pass him? Well I flagged up the JP McManus owned Le Prezien last time out at Prestbury Park and he finished a good runner up and was the only threat up the hill in the latter stages to Foxtail HillBarry Geraghty takes the ride again and has to be considered with the step up in trip. Paul Nicholls other runner is Romain De Senam who arrives in good form winning at Chepstow with ease then having a tough battle with Burtons Well at Stratford to win last time out. He has to be one to watch for.

Days of Heaven looked a nice jumper last season but he will want the run of the race which I can’t see him getting plus the ground is against him and he was well beaten last time out on seasonal first to Romain De Senam. The other runner for the champion trainer Nicky Henderson is Theinval he showed little impression on seasonal first at Ascot and will have to up his game against better quality of opposition here.

Kylemore Lough goes off top weight for his new trainer. Harry Fry said he is capable of winning first time out for him and is currently the market favourite. He is a Grade 1 winner but all his wins come in smaller fields. But he does jump well so it would not be a shock to see him in the mix at the business end of the race.

Tully East won here as a novice last season in the Close Brothers novices handicap chase which is over the same course and distance as this race. He had a warm up over hurdles at Punchestown last month over 2 miles and showed little impression but should come on for that run and if back to his festival best could be in the mix come the business end of the race.

Ballyalton won the same race last year Tully East was victorious in this year around at Cheltenham. He had not been seen for 18 months until reappearance over hurdles last month at Aintree showing little impression and his trainer was hardly in great spirits when asked about his chances here.

Plaisir D’amour won over course and distance in April for Venetia Williams that was on good ground in a small field but has won on soft at Newbury. Aidan Coleman will take the ride again. He has won the last three from four races when he has been on board so this mare could possibly be the suprise pick from the bigger prices.

Starchitect got off the mark for his seasonal first in a smaller field at Stratford recently. That was on good ground but he has won on heavy before.

In summary if FOXTAIL HILL gets the run of the race he could be tough to pass the likes of Auqa Dude, Mystifiable, Days of Heaven and Double Treasure are the early pace dangers but I will look to an uncontested FOXTAIL HILL again to back from the start and in the latter stages the Paul Nicholls runners in Le Prezien and Romain De Senam to possibly be the main threats up the hill. Both Nicholls and Nigel Twiston – Davis know how to win this race. I will also have an eye on  Tully East who should be suited to the conditions.