The BetVictor Gold Cup is the feature race of Cheltenham’s three-day November meeting and one of my personal highlights of the jumps season. The forecast is for the odd shower this week and the racecourse executive of optimistic of perfect – good to soft – jumping ground.

The weights for the big race are headed by Harry Whittington’s Saint Calvados. The six-year-old does hold an alternative entry in Sunday’s Grade 2 Shloer Chase over the minimum trip of two miles, but his trainer reported on Monday that he would take his chance in the big one and hopes his recent course winner improves for the step up to two-and-a-half miles.

Slate House (5/1) and Siruh du Lac (6/1) head the market but given BetVictor are betting five places each way – and Non Runner No Bet – I’m going to look for one at a bigger price to give us a run for our money.

I remember Happy Diva was still going strongly when brought down four out in the corresponding race 12 months ago and at 16/1 she might be a shade overpriced representing the yard of Kerry Lee.


The mare ran a terrific race at Wetherby behind Guitar Pete on her comeback and she meets Nicky Richards’ 9-year-old – who finished third in the BetVIctor 12 months ago – on 5lbs better terms for the three lengths she was behind the winner in West Yorkshire.

The ITV cameras will be at Cheltenham for all three days, beginning on Friday when I hope to see a big run from Birchdale on his chase debut for Nicky Henderson.

Owned by JP McManus, the five-year-old may not have got home over 3m in the Festival back in the spring, but he has the scope to go to the very top of the chasing tree and this 2m 4f trip should be an ideal starting point.

In the BetVictor Intermediate Handicap Hurdle on Saturday, do watch out for a big run from the mare Legends Gold who has won both starts so far this term for Rebecca Curtis in mares’ only races and could still be well treated stepping back into handicap company.

CHELTENHAM, UNITED KINGDOM - NOVEMBER 11: Un Beau Roman ridden by Nick Scholfield(R) jumps on their way to victory in the BetVictor Handicap Steeple Chase at Cheltenham Racecourse on November 11, 2016 in Cheltenham, England. (Photo by Harry Trump/Getty Images)

On to Sunday and I am looking forward to seeing the reappearance of Defi Du Seuil in the Shloer Chase. Last season’s JLT Chase (2m 5f) winner at the Festival reverts to the minimum trip with connections obviously wanting to see if they have a Champion Chase contender on their hands.

Remember, Nicky Henderson says the great Altior – champion two-miler for the last couple of years – is likely to be plying his trade over further this season.

It promises to be a great weekend’s racing with the feature the £160,000 BetVictor Gold Cup. You can get your bets on nice and early with BetVictor given they are Non Runner No Bet on the race and also betting each way five places.

Happy Diva each way for me – but who do you fancy?


Friday, 14.25: Birchdale

Saturday, 14.25: (BetVictor Gold Cup): Happy Diva Each Way 5 places

Saturday, 15.30: Legends Gold

Sunday, 14.25: Defi Du Seuil

Odds are correct at the time of posting

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