Indian Castle Fits The Bill At Cheltenham
PP Gold Cup
Jumps fans will be salivating at the prospect of this weekend’s three-day Open Meeting at Cheltenham, where the feature race is Saturday’s Paddy Power Gold Cup on Channel 4 (2.30).
This handicap has in the past thrown up a number of future stars, such as Imperial Commander and Exotic Star. While the former won at 16/1, it’s worth noting that those at the short end of the market returned a much higher strike-rate…
Of the last 10 Paddy Power Gold Cup winners…
9 were 6-7yo’s – others were 1-96
9 were officially rated 136-149
9 won a maximum of one handicap – others were 1-90
9 ran at Aintree, Carlisle or Cheltenham last time
8 had 3 handicap runs or less – others were 2-124
7 returned 8/1 or shorter (7-32, 22%) – others were 3-147 (2%)
Jonjo O’Neill and N Twiston-Davies won it twice each
One runner at the right end of the market is Evan Williams’, Present View (6/1), who showed big improvement as a novice last season, culminating with victory in a Listed handicap over this C&D at the Cheltenham Festival (good to soft). The 6yo beat Attaglance (12/1) 1/2l on that occasion, and warmed up for Saturday with a recent head second over hurdles. That outing would have put Present View spot-on for this, and recent money suggests a big run is expected.
The aforementioned 8yo, Attaglance, is 1lb better off for that March defeat, and showed he had trained on with a returning fifth (beaten 5l) in a Listed handicap chase at Market Rasen (2m6f, good) 49 days ago. He should go well, but the handicapper may be in charge now.
With 6-7yo’s boasting the best record in this race, it’s no surprise to see Evan Williams’ 7yo, Buywise (7/1), amongst the main fancies. Like Present View, Buywise warmed up for Saturday over hurdles, winning by a convincing 3l at Ludlow last month (2m, good). The only concern is that he has already won more than one handicap chase – unlike past winners of this – and was beaten 7l by Present View here in March.
Last year’s winner, John’s Spirit (9/1) also bids to become the first dual winner of the race since Cyfor Malta in 2002, and he arrives in top form having won a C&D handicap last month where Persian Snow (16/1) was 1l back in second. John’s Spirit is respected, but will need to improve in defying a 17lb higher mark than 12 months ago.
Nicky Henderson’s 9yo, Oscar Whisky (10/1), is also high in the handicap but will have his supporters as he can go well first time out.
One who does have an ideal profile is the 6yo, Indian Castle (12/1), who is not exposed in handicaps and was a creditable seventh in the Kim Muir Chase at the March Festival when last seen (3m1f, good).
Switched to Ian Williams since, Indian Castle looks to have been trained for this.
Opting for an unexposed 6-7yo with not too much mileage in handicap chases has proven wise in this race down the years, and Indian Castle fits the bill. He reverts back to 2mf on Saturday, which should prove ideal, and has won on his seasonal return for the last two seasons.