For me the Paddy Power Gold Cup (2.20) is one of the highlights of the early months of the jumps season. It’s also the feature race of Day 2 of Cheltenham's November Meeting.
ITV Racing are covering four races from Cheltenham and the two Listed races from Lingfield’s all weather card this afternoon.
Inside today’s main piece, I’m looking at the four races on the Cheltenham card.
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It was good to soft on Friday at Cheltenham no worse. However, they could get 10mm of rain overnight and on Saturday morning so the ground will be closer to soft come race time if they do get that volume of rain.
1:45 – Mister Coffey won’t have a better chance to gain a first success over fences. It’s not a race I will be having a bet in but if the ground is genuinely soft, I would be with Good Risk At All. If it’s not then it could be Mister Coffey’s day.
2:20 – Paddy Power Gold Cup Handicap Chase (Premier Handicap) – 2m 4f
It may not be the biggest field, but this year’s race doesn’t lack depth. Top weight The Real Whacker is a genuine Gold Cup contender but it’s a big ask to win this on his seasonal return, but you never know. Angels Breath is a fragile horse but shaped with encouragement over hurdles here last time and he’s not weighted out of this. There’s been money for him in the past few days.
The addition of the first time cheekpieces for Fugitf means he’s now high on my shortlist. The form of the Venetia Williams yard means Easy As That has to be on your radar. I think he starts the new campaign on a handy mark and if he handles the track shouldn’t be far away. Finally, I wouldn’t be quick to dismiss the claims of Torn And Frayed. He does well around here and although he returns from a long absence the yard has a good record in the race.
2:55 – Ex French recruit Placenet could be a very well handicapped on his first start in Britain and the yard had a winner here on Friday. His biggest rivals may turn out to be Irish challengers Buddy One, who finished third in the Martin Pipe Handicap Hurdle here at the Festival and won at Galway three weeks ago, and Noble Birth who both come into the race in good form.
3:30 – Despite the small number of runners, it remains a tricky little puzzle. If Resplendent Glory stays, he looks the most likely winner. Gyenyame comes into the race in good form and has solid claims. As does Irish challenger Londonofficecallin who has a nice light weight.
Today’s selection isn’t from Cheltenham. Instead, I’m off to Wetherby for one in the ‘Chairman' Colin Baldwin Memorial Handicap Chase (1:54).
Top weight Erne River developed into a very useful novice chaser two seasons back. Indeed, was sent off the 11/4 second favourite for a Grade 1 at Aintree’s 2022 Grand National Festival. He seemed to lose his way last season over hurdles after a promising seasonal return over fences. Needed the run when beating home only one rival in the Old Roan Chase on his return to action. He’s dropped 4lb since that run and can now race in Class 3 company. The yard had a welcome winner this week and hopefully Erne River can take advantage of today's drop in class.
1:54 – Erne River – 4/1 @ Bet365.
Given the quality of the action on offer tomorrow there will be a Sunday column this week.
Good luck with your Saturday bets.