Seventh Sky’s The Limit For Gold Cup Glory At Newbury

It’s not long now until Cheltenham 2015, but still enough time to grab some punting cash for the festival via Saturday’s Greatwood Gold Cup Handicap Chase at Newbury (3.25pm).

Won by the likes of Big Fella Thanks, Natal, Madison Du Berlais and Cornish Sett, this handicap has attracted some classy sorts down the years, six of which were trained by Paul Nicholls.

Paul Nicholls To Strike Again?
Nicholls means business on Saturday too, as he enters the top two in the handicap, namely Sound Investment and Rebel Rebellion. The latter won a valuable handicap at Ascot over this trip last month, prior to a solid second over 3m three weeks ago, and should appreciate this step back down in trip. He also won a handicap at Aintree in 2013 from 11st11lb proving he can carry big weights.

Sound Investment meanwhile, won a decent handicap over this trip at Sandown in November, but was disappointing when last seen 70 days ago. Freshened up since, it will be interesting to see the jockey arrangements and market support for both him and his stablemate, Rebel Rebellion.

It’s worth noting, though, that Rebel Rebellion is a 10yo, which counts against the trend of 6-8yo’s who did well in this down the years…

Trends Summary
Of the last 10 Greatwood winners (dead-heart in 2006)…

11 ran in either a Grade 3 or Class 2 event last time – others were 0-54
11 ran during the last 45 days – others were 0-35
10 were 6-8yo’s (18%) – other ages were 1-64 (2%)
9 made the top two during their last three runs
8 finished second to fifth last time out – last time winners were 0-21
P Nicholls won it 6 times

One of the most interesting trends from above shows that last time out winners have a poor record in this handicap, which may count against the likes of Royal Regatta, Midnight Belle and Saint Ralph.

Of that trio, though, preference is for Royal Regatta, who recorded a career best in winning a 2m handicap at Doncaster last month (good to soft). With a record of 2-3 over fences, he is open to improvement especially at this trip, over which he won facing hurdles.

Nicky Henderson’s, Open Hearted, meanwhile, was pulled up last month and has a bit to prove, along with Niceonefrankie, who was only ninth behind Rebel Rebellion at Ascot last month.

In Form

Also second last time was Charlie Mann’s 8yo, Seventh Sky, a winner of two novices prior to a 6l second in a Plumpton handicap last time. He’ll need a bit more to figure in this company, although Ballygarvey has form in decent handicap chases, as when fourth of 17 runners at Cheltenham in November.

Recommended Bets
It’s hard to ignore the good record of the younger 6-8yo’s in this race, and Seventh Sky fits the bill having finished second over an inadequate 2m last time. Barry Geraghty has been booked and everything looks in place for a big run back at 2m4f.