Friday, November 11, 2016

BetVictor Gold Cup 2016

Nineteen have been declared for tomorrow's BetVictor Gold Cup (2.25 Cheltenham) where the sponsors are paying a quarter the odds six places.

I've had a couple of close calls in this event in recent years with John's Spirit beaten a head by Caid Du Berlais in 2014 and last year Buywise finishing a fast-diminishing half length behind Annacotty after a number of trademark errors on the way round. Of course, as advertisements for financial products are always at pains to point out, past performance is no guide whatsoever to performance in the future.

Annacotty, Buywise and Art Mauresque (sixth) try again this year with both Annacotty and Art Mauresuque racing off a 12 pounds higher mark (159) while Buywise starts five pounds higher off 153; Annacotty bids to join a select band of just two horses that have won this event in consecutive seasons: Half Free in 1984 and 1985 and Bradbury Star in 1993 and 1994.

Of the trio Art Mauresque is possibly the most interesting - it was a fine effort for a five-year-old last year, beaten just seven lengths. Now aged six, we can reasonably expect some improvement from Paul Nicholls' charge but the handicapper has raised him nine pounds for a win at Chepstow five weeks ago where he just held Double Shuffle a head. That day he idled badly after going on three from home and I'd imagine Nick Scholfield will bide his time a little longer if the horse is in with a shout tomorrow. Quoting the handler:

"He is difficult to gauge as last season there was a point when you thought he had reached his peak, but he has won his last two starts. He is in really good nick and looks like he has improved again."

Art Mauresque is one of four from Ditcheat; Nicholls has won this twice in the past four years.

Frodon is short enough in the market for a race that has never been won by a four-year-old but he claims the age allowance and pilot Harry Cobden takes another three pounds off his back. Connections have stated that, mentally, the horse is tough and certainly doesn't ride like a four-year-old.

As De Mee's second behind More Of That at this meeting last year would suggest the former is particularly well in in receipt of fifteen pounds from that rival but I harbour doubts and a slight suspicion As De Mee prefers to race right-handed - his four wins to date have come at Sandown (twice), Leicester and Fontwell. Bouvreuil completes the quartet of Nicholls runners.

Jonjo O'Neill boasts a good record in the race having won it twice in the past decade with Exotic Dancer (2006) and Johns Spirit (2013); this year he saddles two high class course and distance winners in More Of That and Taquin Du Seuil. Of the former the handler says:

"AP (Tony McCoy) rode him last Monday morning and said he would come back for this fellow. That's the sort of feeling he gives you at home."

Colin Tizzard saddles two for his new owners Ann and Alan Potts; Tom O'Brien has chosen Sizing Granite.

Cyfor Malta gave a stand-out performance in the 2002 renewal, carrying 11-09 to victory at the ripe old age of nine. Since then Little Josh is the only horse older than seven to have won and just three have carried over 11-0 to victory - Our Vic (11-07 in 2005), Exotic Dancer (11-02 in 2006) and Al Ferof (11-08 in 2012). For those who prefer a trends-based approach, those stats quickly knock out more than half the field.

This year's renewal is a particularly open affair. Only one favourite has obliged since 2006 but More Of That would be my idea of the winner; on the back of his fine effort in sixth last year, Art Mauresque (14/1 in places) is the each-way suggestion.


Anonymous said...

Great write up and good luck with the selection.

Vintage Vinnie did not get a mention in your notes (appreciate that you cannot cove the field!) but he is surely better than his mark of 138, the yard is in good form and Jonathan Moore claims 3lb, 33/1 looks huge to me!


GeeDee said...

I think you're right, TW, Vintage Vinnie looks overpriced at 33/1.Good luck!

I've just noticed Wolf Of Windlesham 40/1 for the Greatwood on Sunday - has to worth another look tomorrow evening...


Anonymous said...

Vintage Vinnie, after racing prominently, went out like a light without any obvious excuse. Given the softening ground was against him the PG’s Tips selection ran very well.

I have Wolf Of Windlesham joint top rated with Leoncavallo and the current 40/1 against my tissue price of 14/1 stands out. However, I’m uncertain how Wolf Of Windlesham will cope with the ground and given that Alex Ferguson can utilise his claim today & that Leoncavallo’s is proven on soft ground make him the most likely winner for me but at odds of 10/1 I’m happy just to watch the race.


GeeDee said...

Thanks to TW for his summary of Art Mauresque and Vintage Vinnie's efforts.

I was surprised to see the selection allowed to go off 25/1, the biggest price of the four Nicholls' runners, probably on account of the soft ground. In the event he raced in fourth for much of the trip before fading to finish seventh.

You had to feel for Richard Johnson and Village Vic. The pair took no prisoners up front and jumped the last in the lead but were 'mugged' near the line by 8/1 chance Taquin Du Seuil.

I did a little work last night on the Greatwood and that led me to a similar conclusion to TW - of the paring, Leoncavallo looks the percentage call over Wolf Of Windlesham.

I'm not the greatest on breeding but there are some (very limited, I admit) examples of sire Mastercraftsman's progeny winning on soft - Intense Tango, Cradle Mountain - and I recall Wolf winning the Triumph Hurdle trial at this meeting last year on good to soft.

Still, 40/1 is big and if you take the view Wolf will come on for his seasonal debut behind Sceau Royal and Leoncavallo, I'm not sure I can resist the temptation... ;)


Mulldog said...

Keep the the blogging PG- hope you find plenty of winners.

GeeDee said...

Trust you're keeping well, Mully!

Usual problem with finding winners but if you throw enough darts as they say... ;)