Avoid Favourite For Gold Cup Glory At Sandown
B365 Gold Cup
The British jumps season comes to a climax at Sandown on Saturday where Tony McCoy will be looking to go out on a high in the Bet365 Gold Cup (3.50)…
though he might want to avoid the market leader as they haven’t triumphed in this race during the last 10 years.
Favourite To Flop Again?
Currently faced with the task of overcoming that record is Lucy Wadham’s Le Reve (9/1), last seen finishing a 6l runner-up in a valuable Grade 3 handicap at Kempton 63 days ago (3m, soft). While raised just 1lb for that and a dual winner at Sandown, he has yet to convince he stays 3m5f.
One who has no such concerns over Saturday’s trip is Warren Greatrex’s Paint The Clouds (10/1), who won four consecutive hunter chases prior to a 17l third in Cheltenham’s Foxhunter Chase (3m2f, soft). A winner over 3m4f last May, Paint The Clouds has been handed a low weight and has to be fancied on his handicap chase debut.
The only concern for trends followers is that Paint The Clouds is British-bred, who have won this race just once since 2005…
Of the last 10 Gold Cup winners…
10 were non-favourites
9 were Irish or French-Bred
9 had a maximum of 10 handicap chase runs – others were 1-61
8 had a maximum of two handicap chase wins – others were 2-65
Philip Hobbs won it twice
Hat-Trick For Hobbs?
With Philip Hobbs landing the race twice, his entries need respecting, including both Duke Of Lucca (16/1) and Roalco De Farges (20/1). The former won a Listed handicap over 3m at Aintree a few weeks ago and has form over further, while Roalco De Farges was a 15l runner-up in this race 12 months ago and is 4lb higher on Saturday.
Weight No Burden
The fact weight hasn’t proven a burden in this race down the years may encourage supporters of The Package (10/1) to follow-up last month’s Kim Muir victory at Cheltenham (3m2f, good). Fifth in the 2010 renewal of this when beaten 18l, he races off the same mark and could make the frame.
Also with a big weight is Bobs Worth (12/1), who failed to shine in two outings this year and is hard to fancy on that evidence, though Grand Gesture (14/1) arrives in better form having been under 4l behind The Druids Nephew in a Grade 3 handicap at Cheltenham last month (3m1f, good to soft). He stayed on that day, suggesting he may stay Saturday’s extra half-a-mile.
Another who has it to prove over this kind of trip is On His Own (16/1), who has the task of lumping top weight here for Willie Mullins following a Grade 3 win at Cork earlier this month (3m, yielding).
With two winners of this race arriving via Aintree, Paul Nicholls’ Unioniste (16/1) could follow suit having not endured a hard race in falling early in the Grand National. That may turn out to be a blessing in disguise for this 7yo who has always shaped like Saturday’s kind of test would suit.