Friday, April 28, 2023

bet365 Gold Cup 2023

Racing off a mark of 149 and with Jordan Gainford claiming thee, Hewick won last year's bet365 Gold Cup by eight lengths from Musical Slave with Kitty's Light third and Enrilo pulled up.

Since then Hewick has won a Galway Plate and was in the process of running a big race at odds of 40/1 when coming to grief two from home in the Cheltenham Gold Cup six weeks ago.

Hewick is now rated 168; it's no surprise to see connections opt for the Oaksey Chase at 2.50. 

After by-passing the Punchestown Gold Cup on Wednesday on account of yielding ground, they won't have been too pleased to see 12mm of rain fall at Sandown yesterday evening; today's Flat card at the Esher track was abandoned on account of false patches of ground.

The going on the chase course is currently described as good to soft, soft in places; and soft, good to soft in places, on the hurdle course. Sunny intervals and light winds are forecast.

Market leader Kitty's Light won the Scottish Grand National at Ayr just seven days ago and bids to become the first horse since Hot Weld in 2007 to pull off this double; favourites do not have a good record in the race.

Christian Williams' charge, third off 145 last year, is well handicapped racing off 140, and is as tough as my old boots. 

Connections fitted cheekpieces for last week's Scottish National and they seemed to help as the gelding travelled well through the race and jumped more fluently than has been the case in the past. The aids remain in place for tomorrow's race. 

Eighteen are set to face the starter with five set to race from out of the handicap: Musical Slave (10-01); Mucho Mas (9-11); Court Master (9-09); D'Jango (8-06); Red Happy (8-06).

Second favourite Revels Hill was beaten a length by Coolvalla in the Devon Stayers Handicap Chase at Exeter five weeks ago. There wouldn't be a lot between the pair on revised terms but at the time of writing the latter named is twice the price. 

Back in November, on his first run in a handicap chase, Coolvalla won off a mark of 90; Chris Gordon's charge has won five of his six chase starts to date and now starts off 135 - there could yet be more to come.

Stablemate Annual Invictus has been on the radar since finishing second to Faivoir in a novice chase at Uttoxeter in 2021. He has raced mainly over hurdles this season, although he finished eighth in the Kim Muir last time; the handicapper dropped his chase rating four pounds for that effort. 

Handler Harry Fry said of Revels Hill in a Straight from the Stable article [RP Weekender 14-18.12.22]:

"He...was sent off favourite for the London National at Sandown this month. Unfortunately, the race was a disaster as he was very badly hampered at the eighth, which cost him a lot of ground. All Kevin [Brogan] could do was get him back into the race gently, but the damage was done by then. Clearly his record suggests he's best in the spring and the plan is to give him his next run in February and then hopefully target a nice staying race in March or April - something like the Midlands National if it's not too testing." 

Paul Nicholls saddles three. 

Enrilo passed the post first in the 2021 renewal but was subsequently disqualified and placed third after causing interference; he has only completed twice in seven subsequent runs. The handler is quite bullish on his blog:

"I don't think I've had Enrilo as well since he won the race two years ago before losing it in the steward's room (sic) for causing interference just short of the line. I've always felt there was a big race in him off his current mark and have employed a different approach training him this time." 

Frodon goes beyond three miles two and a half furlongs for the first time. He faces a stiff task off top weight conceding a minimum of nine pounds to all his rivals; the Gold Cup trip appeared to stretch his stamina in 2021. He's not getting any younger either; no horse older than nine has won in the past ten years.

Broken Halo has won his last two over three miles at the course but those victories came in races restricted to military riders and this is obviously a much sterner test. 

The form of this year's Ultima is working out rather well. 

Winner Corach Rambler won the Aintree Grand National next time out; second Fastorslow beat the Cheltenham Gold Cup first and second, Gaillard Du Mesnil and Bravemansgame, in the Punchestown Gold Cup on Wednesday; and eighth Threeunderthrufive finished fourth behind Kitty's Light at Ayr last Saturday.  

However fourth, The Goffer, was pulled up in the Irish Grand National 19 days ago while sixth, Tea Clipper, wouldn't be guaranteed to see out this extended trip. 

Annsam is no mug and in my book is always better going right-handed. There's no denying Evan Williams' charge has his own way of clearing the obstacles and this track takes some jumping - I note he was pulled up behind Farinet on his only previous run here in a listed novices' handicap chase two years ago. 

Certainly Red was never competitive in a hurdle race at Ascot last month. 

His form over the larger obstacles warrants closer inspection and includes a six length defeat of Gemirande here over two and a half miles in January. That form reads well; he goes beyond three miles one for the first time but wasn't stopping when winning the Dick Hunt Trophy at Wincanton (Moroder eleventh). Although much of his form is on right-handed tracks, on occasions he has shown a tendency to jump to his left.

A year ago Moroder won over this sort of trip at Exeter and bounced back to form in the Grimthorpe at Doncaster eight weeks ago, beating Undersupervision a neck; he has been raised five for that effort. The official going that day was described as good and it looks as though he's flexible with regard to underfoot conditions. 

Mucho Mas comes into this in decent form having beat Feivel here seven weeks ago. Enthusiasm is tempered by the fact he's forced to carry seven pounds more than his long handicap weight.  

Musical Slave wouldn't be the easiest of individuals to predict. Second off 130 last year he looks feasibly treated; in February he beat Mister Malarky (another one difficult to predict) in a veterans' handicap chase at Exeter but was pulled up in the Kim Muir last time.

It's possible to make the case for a few of these. Both Revels Hill and Coolvalla held an entry in last week's Scottish National but have opted to come here. 

Only three of the past ten winners have been returned at single figure odds. 

Moroder gets the nod - he stays, underfoot conditions won't affect his chance and his profile suggests he comes to himself at this time of year.  

Moroder is the each-way suggestion, 12/1 generally, with Sky, Paddy Power and William Hill among the layers paying six places. 

1 comment:

GeeDee said...

A creditable effort from Moroder (16/1) who raced prominently throughout and moved ahead of long-time leader Frodon (16/1) at the Pond Fence.

He was two lengths to the good coming to the final flight but Kitty's Light (11/4f) was eating up the ground. The pair jumped the last together and for a second it looked as though the selection had a fighting chance but Kitty's Light quickly put daylight between them and ran out a convincing winner by two and a half lengths.

Winning jockey Jack Tudor described Kitty's Light as 'a freak'. This season the gelding has won the Eider in February, the Scottish National last week and, seven days on, the bet365 Gold Cup. And he's only seven years of age.

After the race handler Christian Williams talked of Aintree next year.

Jockey Micheal Nolan described Moroder's effort as a 'pb'. The pair finished five and a half lengths ahead of Revels Hill (13/2) in third with both The Goffer (10/1) and Coolvalla (10/1) making significant headway late on to claim fourth and fifth respectively.