Friday, December 09, 2022

The 2022 December Gold Cup at Cheltenham

The course covers put in place earlier in the week ensured today's card at Cheltenham went ahead following a second inspection at 10.30am.

The race is now on to put the covers back down over an area of some 40 acres as temperatures start to fall away.

ITV Racing give tomorrow's meeting a 50-50 chance of survival.

In the event racing goes ahead I'll take an each-way interest in the AIS December Gold Cup (1.50) run over two miles four and a half furlongs on the New Course.

Fifteen have been declared and the going is described as good. A number of the more fancied horses have yet to win over the trip - Il Ridoto, Frero Banbou, War Lord, Fugitif, Cheddleton and Coconut Splash.   

The Paddy Power Gold Cup, run four weeks ago over the Old Course, is always considered a pertinent piece of form. 

On the back of his fourth in this year's renewal - five lengths behind winner Ga Law - Il Ridoto heads the market.

Only five years of age, Paul Nicholls' charge ran a fine race that day and was in the mix for second spot when a blunder at the final flight put paid to that chance; the gelding lost third to Midnight River on the run to the line. 

The trainer has a good record in this and in the past decade has collected the spoils with two four-year-olds: Unioniste (2012) and Frodon (2016).

In behind Il Ridoto last month were Deyrann De Carjac (fifth); Simply The Betts (seventh); Storm Control (eighth); and Stolen Silver (unseated rider).

On his penultimate run back in April Stolen Silver beat Simply The Betts 11 lengths over course and distance. 

However on seasonal reappearance Stolen Silver's jumping started to show the strain some way out; pilot Sam Twiston-Davies was unseated three from home.

Fantastic Lady, trained by Nicky Henderson, has decent form in the book and her chance is repsected. She beat Zambella over three miles in a listed mares' handicap chase at Market Rasen; her profile suggests she may just prefer a little more cut underfoot.

Frero Banbou is a talented individual but tries the trip for the first time and, to my mind, often jumps low at his fences.

War Lord's fourth behind Edwardstone in the Arkle reads very well. 

I quite fancied his chance in the Haldon Gold Cup at Exeter but the grey was disappointing behind Greaneteen and is another who may prefer more dig in the ground. His price has drifted in the market this evening.

Cheddleton finished behind War Lord at Carlisle last year while Fugitif hung left on occasions on his first outing on good ground behind Amarillo Sky over the Old Course last month.

Simply The Betts was sixth in the 2021 Paddy Power Gold Cup, beaten under six lengths, and just happened to bump into Vienna Court when second over course and distance on New Year's Day. Mr. David Maxwell's three pounds claim will help the cause here.

Coconut Splash is an interesting contender who has yet win over fences or to race on ground any better than good to soft; he has come in for market support this evening.

In a Stable Tour article [RP  Weekender 12-16.01.22] trainer Evan Williams said:

"I have faith in the horse and feel he could be one who could be dangerous in some decent handicaps off a low weight."

Sole Irish raider Sole Pretender finished behind Bambridge and Tommy's Oscar over two miles here last time. 

Irish runners don't have a strong record in the race but Chatham Street Lad won the 2020 renewal for Michael Winters by 15 lengths.

This looks a step up in class for Fern Hill whose chase experience to date is in novice events with eight runners or less. 

Storm Control jumped well for a long way at the head of affairs before tiring in the Paddy Power Gold Cup; however connections' first preference is the bet365 Handicap Chase (2.05 Doncaster) and the same comment applies to Kauto Riko. 

Jacamar sports a first-time visor but Milton Harris' charge hasn't been in good form so far this term. 

I tipped Deyrann De Carjac each-way for the Paddy Power Gold Cup; Alan King's charge made ground in the closing stages to finish fifth, beaten just under six lengths and less than one length behind tomorrow's market leader Il Ridoto. 

To my mind Deyrann remains ahead of his current mark of 128 - he's rated 132 over hurdles and twelve months ago the trainer thought the gelding not badly treated off 137; good ground will suit. In the current Weekender the trainer states:

"We put some cheekpieces on him at home and I can report he was very sharp schooling in them on Monday morning."

Those aids were tried on two previous occasions last season - with little discernible improvement - but the horse appears in better form this term. 

I'd like to see him race a little more prominently tomorrow and I'd like to think the additional half furlong on the New Course will help his cause.

I'm going to remain loyal to Deyrann.

Deyrann De Carjac is the each-way suggestion, 12/1 with Sky Bet who pay one fifth the odds five places provided 12 or more runners make the start - and, of course, the meeting survives the cold weather...


TW said...

Cheltenham's Saturday card has not survived the weather....on a more positive note Deyrann De Carjac did score better on my system in this race!

GeeDee said...

Thanks, TW.

Looks as though I'm going to have to go Christmas shopping now... :-(

TW said...

What? Christmas shopping when there's a cracking AW card at Newcastle to get stuck in to...surely not :-)