Friday, December 01, 2023

Coral Gold Cup 2023

Today's card at Newbury went ahead and the course covers put back in place after racing. 

Overnight temperatures in West Berkshire could drop to minus five - it looks a close call whether tomorrow's card will survive. The Fighting Fifth meeting at Newcastle has already been called off.

Should the card get the green light, twenty are set to face the starter in the Coral Gold Cup (2.50) run over a distance of three miles two furlongs.

In my book the following aren't guaranteed to stay the trip: Complete Unknown; Stolen Silver; Our Power; Bill Baxter; Datsalrightgino; Zanza; Eldorado Allen; Ga Law; and Shakem Up'Arry.

Cloudy Glen, Bill Baxter, Max Flamingo and Shakem Up'Arry run from out of the handicap.

Dusart comes into the race without a recent preparatory run.

Since 2000 only two horses older than eight have come home in front: Denman (2009) aged nine and Sizing Tennessee (2018) aged ten.

A quick word for the two ten-year-olds in the field.

33/1 shot Cloudy Glen won the 2021 renewal but many thought Remastered posed a significant threat to the winner before taking a crashing fall four from home. 

It's well known that Cloudy Glen is best caught fresh; he posted a decent effort when second behind Malina Girl at Cheltenham 13 days ago.

Remastered was only half a length adrift of Le Milos in last year's renewal. Following wind surgery in the summer, he weakened out of contention in a Pertemps qualifier at Aintree three weeks ago, eventually beaten 24 lengths.

Complete Unknown was market leader for most of the week yet with just five chase starts to his name is the least experienced in the field over the larger obstacles; this will be his first start in a chase with more than ten runners.

Late this afternoon Monbeg Genius moved to the head of the market. 

His third behind Corach Rambler in the Ultima at Cheltenham reads very well. I've just watched his comeback race at Ascot last month - his jumping looked a tad ring rusty on occasions but he was significantly hampered five from home and pulled up when his chance had gone (Eldorado Allen third). 

Mahler Mission - clear when falling two out in the National Hunt Chase at Cheltenham - came home second behind Thunder Rock over a shorter trip than ideal at Carlisle last time. Stable form is the main concern here with the yard's last winner coming 51 days ago. 

The chance of  fellow Irish raider Stumptown has to be respected given the record of Gavin Cromwell's runners in Britain; Stumptown was beaten a neck by Angels Breath in the Kim Muir in March.

Max Flamingo was pulled up in the Irish Grand National last April and has been running over hurdles since. 

The only Irish trained winner of this race in the past 40 years is Total Recall - ridden by Paul Townend and trained by Willie Mullins - in 2017.

Midnight River won at Aintree in April on his first try beyond an extended two and a half miles (Shakem Up'Arry fourth, Eldorado Allen fifth). 

He stayed on well that day and it looks as though this has been the target since. Dan Skelton won last year's renewal with Le Milos and said of Midnight River:

"Make no mistakes. He is a good horse that is improving.

"The Coral Gold Cup is the big one for him. He was good at Aintree and he improved for that step up in trip which he was entitled to do."

Top weight Ahoy Senor continues to find the odd fence getting in the way; he has to concede a minimum of 12 pounds to all his rivals. 

Denman was the last winner to carry top weight to victory, memorably pulling off the feat in 2009 for a second time with Ruby Walsh up, having won the 2007 renewal with Sam Thomas doing the steering.

Twig beat Ruthless Article and Kinondo Kwetu over this distance in the Summer Cup Handicap Chase at Uttoxeter on his penultimate start and ran well behind Whacker Clan at Cheltenham five weeks ago. There has been money for Ben Pauling's charge through the day.

Kitty's Light won the Eider Chase at Newcastle, the Scottish Grand National at Ayr and the bet365 Chase at Sandown last season yet is quoted 25/1 in the odd place. He's likely to have targets further down the line.

A wide open renewal.

At the time of writing Midnight River is 10/1 with Paddy Power who are paying six places; Midnight River is the each-way selection.


TW said...

187,17.82,GA LAW(FR)
178,5.76,OUR POWER(IRE)
176,5.64,AHOY SENOR(IRE)

Racing goes ahead at Newbury and the going is Good to Soft, Good (in places)

My system has, wrongly for such a competitive handicap, narrowed the field down to two, GA Law and Complete Unknown.

GA is not certain to stay the trip [though I think it likely], his last four form figures are uninspiring [F5P6] but hopefully do not tell the full story, his jumping might be tested to breaking point though the ground should be spot on.

GA looked a chaser full of promise as a 4yo, had a set back, ran a cracker when returning off a 603 day absence to racing, followed that up by winning the Paddy Power Gold Cup at Cheltenham [beat Midnight River 3.75L and is now 1LB better off] and next time out was in the mix when falling at the last at Doncaster. Looked out of his depth at level weights in two Grade 1's at Cheltenham [staying on in the Ryanair] and Aintree [no real excuse in the Bowl] since then. I'm hoping his run LTO over hurdles [soft/heavy ground would not have suited] was simply a pipe opener for something bigger and that the first time cheek pieces bring a little more from him. At 25/1 6 plcs 1/5 odds I felt the need to take an interest.

Midnight River comes with much stronger recent form and the stables bullish comments a plus, but in a game of opinions 10/1 looked short on value to me.

Good luck!


GeeDee said...

Thanks for providing your ratings, TW. You make a number of fair points.

Good luck!

GeeDee said...

Good run from Ga Law, TW.
Just pipped for sixth spot.

GeeDee said...

An enthralling renewal of this famous old race with Datsalrightgino (16/1) staying on stoutly on his first run beyond two and a half miles to beat Mahler Mission (15/2) three and threequarter lengths with Monbeg Genius (13/2) third, Eldorado Allen (18/1) fourth and 2021 winner Cloudy Glen (20/1) fifth.

Midnight River (10/1) raced prominently on the outside in fourth and appeared to be going well enough down the back straight when Harry Skelton pushed the gelding into the fourteenth fence; the selection appeared to clear the flight cleanly but lost his hind legs on landing - and that was the end of that.