Friday, November 15, 2019

BetVictor Gold Cup 2019

The first day of Cheltenham's Open meeting may have been lost to the wet weather but earlier this afternoon the track passed its inspection for Saturday's card. Racing goes ahead but, due to concerns about the ground in the area, the third last fence and the third last hurdle will be omitted.

The first race is scheduled for 12.05 with the feature BetVictor Gold Cup due off at 2.25.

Saint Calvados and Royal Vacation have been declared non-runners which leaves a field of eighteen; as a result of the withdrawal of Saint Calvados, the weights have gone up seven pounds with the Joseph O'Brien trained Us And Them now at the head of the handicap.

Twelve of the eighteen runners are set to carry more than 11-0 on ground currently described as soft, heavy in places.

At the time of writing Slate House heads the market with support evident for Siruh Du Lac.

The former won on heavy ground over course and distance last month after undergoing wind surgery in June while the latter has won six of his eight chase starts culminating in victory in the Brown Advisory & Merriebelle Stable Plate Handicap Chase at the Festival in March (Spiritofthegames third, Eamon An Cnoic fourth, Splash Of Ginge seventeenth).

Regular pilot Lizzie Kelly claims a useful-looking three pounds on Siruh du Lac; she returns to race-riding having broken her right arm and injured her left shoulder in a heavy fall from Rococo River at Exeter five weeks ago.

Spiritofthegames is another who underwent wind surgery over the summer and boasts a fine record first time out while Count Meribel won the Steel Plate and Sections Novices' Chase over course and distance last year and came home two and a quarter lengths behind Lostintranslation on his seasonal reappearance a fortnight ago.

Guitar Pete, third in this race last year off a mark of 137, beat Happy Diva and Demi Sang (Splash Of Ginge sixth) at Wetherby last time out; he goes off a mark of 141 tomorrow.

Happy Diva is a consistent mare who will handle the ground and pilot Richard Patrick can claim three; she has been raised one pound for her effort behind Guitar Pete while Demi Sang has been dropped one pound and at 50/1 looks a big price on the back of that piece of form. I'm assuming the price would contract sharply if owner J P McManus thought there was some value on offer... The last mare to win this race was Lady Cricket in 2000.

On the back of his second to Waiting Patiently at Carlisle in 2017, Belami Des Pictons is a talented individual but he has clearly had his problems and looks high enough in the weights at the moment.

Since the first running of this race in 1960 (as the Mackeson Gold Cup) only two five-year-olds have come hone in front - Cyfor Malta in 1998 and Caid Du Berlais in 2014. The latter was trained by Paul Nicholls and the same trainer saddles five-year-old Magic Saint tomorrow. On balance I'm not convinced the gelding would be guaranteed to see out the trip on this sort of ground and that same reservation is held about the chance of Highway One O One.

Several commentators talk of this as a 'strong trends' race with just two winners priced over 12/1 in the past ten years; in the same timeframe the winner has come from the first three in the market on four occasions. The last favourite to oblige was Tranquil Sea in 2009.

Two are of interest at an each-way price: Springtown Lake and Eamon An Cnoic.

Fifith in the Close Brothers Novices' Handicap Chase at the Festival, Springtown Lake likes to race up with the pace and will appreciate underfoot conditions; the cobwebs were blown away behind Vinndication at Ascot a fortnight ago. At around 11/1 I can't help but feel a lot of the value has already been snaffled up.

Fifth in this last year, Eamon Na Cnoic hails from a yard that can boast a strong record in this race. He enters calculations on the back of his three and a half length fourth behind Siruh Du Lac at the Festival in March. On revised terms David Pipe's charge looks well in at the weights with both Siruh Du Lac and Spiritofthegames; he should certainly be competitive and will appreciate the slower ground.

Both BetVictor and Coral offer 16/1 one fifth the odds five places. Eamon Na Cnoic is the each-way suggestion.


Anonymous said...

It’s great for all concerned that at least two days of the November meeting have survived.

The Bet Victor Cup looks, as you would expect, a competitive affair. Count Meribel topped my system ratings on the back of his 2nd behind Lostintranslation but I feel this may have flattered him?

Next up on my system was Happy Diva who ticks all the boxes for this race, and I think those that took the early 18/1 yesterday evening have a great bet. At 12/1 I dithered but with the extra place [5 1/5 odds] in the end I’ve jumped aboard.

Good luck!


GeeDee said...

Undecided about Count Meribel, TW. We'll find out a bit more this afternoon.
Good luck!

GeeDee said...

Pass me the Gaviscon.

Under a Tom Scudamore hold-up ride, Eamon An Cnoic (16/1) was held up only as far as the second flight where the selection stumbled badly on landing and gave the aforementioned Scudamore no chance at all, throwing him out the side door.

In complete contrast, TW's rich vein of form continued as Happy Diva (14/1) held the challenge of Brelan D'As (20/1) up the hill to score by a neck with Warthog (33/1) eight lengths adrift in third and Belami Des Pictons (10/1) fourth. In the circumstances that looked a noteworthy effort by Belami Des Pictons who appeared to be hampered by Scudamore's unseating.

Just eight of the seventeen starters completed (Dell Oro the non-runner).

At the back of the field favourite Slade House (4/1f) was not jumping with any particular fluency but he made significant headway approaching two out and looked certain to throw down a strong challenge only to slither on landing after clearing the obstacle.