Inside today’s main piece I preview Saturday’s Coral Gold Cup at Newbury. Plus, there’s a Wednesday selection from Dundalk.
Looking Ahead To The Weekend – Part 1
Newbury’s Coral Gold Cup Meeting gets underway on Friday. The highlight of the two days is the £250,000 Coral Gold Cup (3:05). For nearly 60-years it was known as the Hennessy Gold Cup and for the last five seasons it was the Ladbroke Trophy.
There may be new sponsors, but it very much remains the same race. Ok, this year’s line-up doesn’t contain an Bregawn, Burrough Hill Lad, Denman, or a Bobs Worth. Nor are we likely to see a future Gold Cup winner. However, we should see a competitive staying handicap chase.
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Nineteen were left in the race at Monday’s final confirmation stage. Hopefully not but we could be set for less than 16 runners on the day.
The going was described as good at Newbury on Monday, and they have been watering. There are mixed messages as to how much rain the track will see between now and Saturday but if they get more than 15mm I will be surprised.
The Newbury Clerk of the Course has described the course as ‘like a thirsty hippo'. And the Racing Post reported on Monday. “Trainers and racing fans should prepare themselves for the prospect of good ground at Newbury's two-day Coral Gold Cup”.
Now I’m not sure what’s wrong with GOOD ground. The race has been run on good ground five times since 2004. With the latest coming in 2020 when Cloth Cap was successful. If good going is now deemed as scary as good to firm once, then we have a big problem.
It’s just a shame that Newbury didn’t get the deluge we got on Monday. It rained solidly for 12 hours, and I live close to Wetherby racecourse, and it will be close to heavy there for Wednesday’s card.
Coral Gold Cup – Newbury
Looking at the trends. The last 12 winners of the race all had the following traits:
Weight: 10-00 to 11-06
Chase Wins: 2 or 3
Odds SP Last Race: 10/1 & under
12 winners from 90 runners 23 placed or 100% of the winners from 40% of the total runners. Those trends could help you shortlist the race. Or of course you may think that those trends will be busted in this year’s race, in particular the chase wins one.
The ante post betting is headed by Remastered. The 9-year-old was travelling strongly in second when taking a heavy fall in last year’s race. He would surely have gone close if he had stood up. He gets to race off 4lb lower this time around and showed his well-being when winning over hurdles at Aintree early this month.
Next in the betting is Corach Rambler. Last season’s Ultima Handicap Chase winner at the Cheltenham Festival has a nice weight and a blow the cobwebs away run over an inadequate 2m 4f at Carlisle last month. The way he finished of his Cheltenham race suggested he would relish the 3m 2f trip. He’s by no means a certain runner though on good ground.
Cloudy Glen and Fiddlerontheroof fought out a good finish to last year’s race with the former just prevailing by ½ length. Sadly, Cloudy Glen wasn’t left in the race at Monday’s final confirmation stage. However, Fiddlerontheroof seems a likely runner. The 8-year-old had a nice pipe-opener over hurdles at Kempton 19-days ago and could easily go one better than 12 months ago, albeit he’s 5lb higher this time around.
Gericault Roque, a stablemate of Remastered and a dual winning hurdler. He proved wonderfully consistent a novice chaser last season placing five times in some tough handicap chases including finishing runner-up over C&D, in the valuable Classic Chase at Warwick and a 2 ¾ length 2nd of 24 to Corach Rambler in the Ultima Handicap at the Festival. He’s 6lb better off with Corach Rambler and open to further improvement. Had a pipe-opener for over hurdles when 5th of 7 to Remastered at Aintree last time. Yet to win a race over fences but surely only a matter of time before he does.
Others on the shortlist:
Dan Skelton is one of the best target trainers in the business. He could saddle Le Milos who won at Bangor on his seasonal reappearance/stable debut to enhance his excellent record fresh. A 4lb penalty shouldn’t stop him but a quick turnround might. He’s got a nice profile being 4-8 over fences but three of those wins have come on heavy.
Lord Accord a winner at Cheltenham on is seasonal return better that performance when a 2 ½ length 2nd of 11 to the well handicapped Frodon in the Badger Beer Handicap Chase at Wincanton three weeks ago. He can race off the same mark here and is respected if he gets his favoured sound surface.
Our Power is another who prefer good or good to soft ground. The 7-year-old made a winning seasonal return at Ascot last month. He wasn’t stopping at the end of 3m that day and 3m 2f could well be within his stamina range. Up 5lb but should remain competitive on a soundish surface.
Annsam is an intriguing runner from the Evan Williams yard. Ran like the run was badly need when 8th of 13 to Our Power last month. He had looked a progressive handicap chaser when winning over 3m at Ascot last December before never getting into any sort of jumping rhythm at Kempton next time. A winner here over hurdles (3m) in April he remains unexposed over fences.
Coral Cup Verdict:
Of those remaining from my initial shortlist. three fail one of the above trends. Le Milos has won four chases. Gericault Roque has yet to win over fences but surely will land one. However, this is a tough race to do it in. Could he be the trends buster? Fiddlerontheroof must carry 11-9 and the last horse to carry more than 11-6 to victory was the Mighty Denman in 2009.
Good ground will suit both Lord Accord and Our Power and we likely haven’t seen the best of Annsam over fences.
Of the front two in the betting, I just prefer the claims of Remastered although I do like Corach Rambler and think he’s a got another good pot in him this season.
I will be holding fire on the betting front until Friday, and I know what the going is.
In Thursday’s column I will continue my look ahead to the weekend’s big races. Plus, there will be a few Newbury trainer stats which could prove useful not just for this meeting but for the rest of the season.
There’s jumps action at Wetherby & Hereford this afternoon. Plenty of shorties to get stuck into at Hereford and Wetherby if that’s your thing.
One of my recent eyecatcher’s Bonnie Bresil runs in the 2m 3 ½ f handicap hurdle at Hereford (3:20). She ran like she’s nicely treated mare on handicap debut last time. The drop back trip should suit her and she can go close.
For today’s selection though I’m off to Dundalk.
4:00 – Arcanears is on a fourteen long losing rune but he’s a four time course winner in the past. The latest of those wins came last October off 14lb higher. He’s struggled since but there was more to like about his 3 ¾ length 5th of 14 here 12-days ago. All his course successes have come over 6f and he’s 0-6, 0 places over 7f. However, he’s yet to race over 7f on the synthetics and there no doubting he’s become a well handicapped horse. The 7-year-old could be about to return to winning ways if building on last time.
Arcanears – 10/1 @ Bet365.
Good luck with your Wednesday bets.