Saturday Racing Preview: BetVictor Gold Cup Headlines Cheltenham6 min read
The BetVictor Gold Cup is the feature race on day two of Cheltenham’s November Meeting this afternoon and the sponsors are betting each way 6 places (1/5th odds) on this valuable and prestigious handicap.
Nicky Henderson’s Rather Be is the 5/1 market leader with BetVictor and is 9lbs better off with Mister Whitaker (6/1) for the head he was behind the latter at the Festival here back in March. My two each way selections against the field in this 20-runner handicap are Kalondra (2.25) and King’s Socks (12/1) with marginal preference for the former.
The selection was still in with a shout when coming down three out in the Galway Plate when last seen back in August and he may have got to the front too soon when third here on similar ground (good) as he will encounter today. I would be disappointed if he wasn’t in the first half-dozen although this is a top-class renewal.
The 3m Novice Chase is a cracker and the mare Theatre Territory (10/1 at BetVictor) receives 12lbs from both Minella Awards and The Worlds End (1.15) and I think she will give the boys plenty to think about. Preference is for the Tom George-trained horse, however a Grade 1 winner over timber as a novice. The selection did not get his ground over hurdles last season but impressed at Chepstow on his first start over the larger obstacles and today’s conditions are ideal. He is 4/5 with BetVictor and is taken to land the odds.
Former Gold Cup winner Coneygree has had his wind tweaked since disappointing in the Hennessy Gold Cup off a 5lbs higher mark back in December. This is something of a retrieval mission in the BetVictor.com Handicap Chase and I feel he is best watched at present. My each way pair against the field are Doing Fine (20/1 with BetVictor) who ran a poor race on his reappearance but will love the ground and is visored for the first time and Singlefarmpayment (1.50) with marginal preference for the latter.
The selection finished second off this mark on his reappearance last season behind Cogry (reoppposes today on 6lbs worse terms) and today’s additional couple of furlongs should suit. Another Tom George inmate the 9-year-old is 6/1 at BetVictor and can reward each way (5 places) support.
Speedo Boy could be thrown in back over timber if he could transfer his improved flat form to hurdles but I feel it could be well handicapped for Scottish raider Aye Right (3.30) who has won both starts stepped up to 2m 5f so far this season. A mark of 123 looks fair and the each way selection is 12/1 with BetVictor who are paying ¼ odds five places.
Altior bypasses the Shloer Chase on Sunday but Nicky Henderson saddles Brain Power who has had a wind operation since falling at Aintree back in April.
The 7-year-old has failed to complete in two of his last three starts but finished runner up in the Arkle on his penultimate start – he will love the ground, but marginal preference is for Sceau Royal (2.25) who had Brain Power beaten when that rival departed when winning the Henry VIII at Sandown back in December.
In the Greatwood Hurdle Verdana Blue is a short-priced (4/1) favourite with BetVictor carrying a 5lbs penalty for her fluent Elite Hurdle win at Wincanton last week. This is one of the most competitive handicaps of the season, however, and the each way vote goes to Nube Negra (3.00) who has had his wind operated on since disappointing at Aintree in the spring.
The selection is 9/1 with BetVictor and can run off the same mark as when third in the Fred Winter at the Festival in March. Today’s better ground should suit.
I’m looking forward to seeing Seddon (3.30) in the Supreme Novice Hurdle trial and I feel 15/8 is a fair price although this is a cracking renewal of a race that was won by non-other than Altior three years ago.
At Fontwell, I feel there is more to come from Lisp (12.55) in the Salmon Spray Hurdle for Alan King. The four-year-old only got as far as the third in the Fred Winter back in March but was a juvenile I felt had untapped potential and I would be disappointed if he didn’t go close tomorrow.
The Worlds End