Friday, April 26, 2024

bet365 Gold Cup 2024

At the end of a long wet winter, this week they've been watering at Sandown - can you believe it? - as Willie Mullins closes in on his first British trainers' title.

The going at the Esher track is currently described as good; 20 have been declared for the feature bet365 Gold Cup (3.35) which is run over an extended three and a half mile trip.

Clear favourite Kitty's Light brings strong form to the table, having finished third (placed second) off 139 in the 2021 renewal of this race; third behind Hewick off 145 in 2022; and then beating Moroder two and a half lengths off 140 last year (Annual Invictus sixth, Certainly Red seventh, with Enrilo falling at the second fence). 

A week earlier Kitty's Light had won the 2023 Scottish Grand National, run on good ground, off the same mark, with Threeunderthrufive fourth, beaten just over six lengths, and Flash Collonges coming to grief at the nineteenth fence when in contention.

Still only eight years of age, Christian Williams' charge is a one-off and races off 145 this year, having finished fifth behind the Willie Mullins trained I Am Maximus in the Aintree Grand National just a fortnight ago.

Prize money of just over £95,000 goes to the winner and W.P. Mullins attempts to land the pot by saddling three: Nick Rocket; Minella Cocooner; and Aime Desjy.

Minella Cocooner finished a four length third and Nick Rocket a thirty length seventh behind Intense Raffles in the Irish Grand National on heavy ground 26 days ago. 

A non-runner in the Brown Advisory at the 2023 Cheltenham Festival, Amirite completes the challenge from the other side of the Irish Sea. 

Rachael Blackmore appeared to leave Henry De Bromhead's charge with plenty to do when fifth behind Meetingofthewaters at Leopardstown over Christmas.  

Le Milos won the Coral Gold Cup at Newbury in 2022; at around 8/1 Dan Skelton's charge is certainly priced up on that effort. 

Campaigned solely over hurdles this season, he has generally been out of sorts. 

A couple of months ago I read that connections had decided to write this year off and were intending to start afresh next term. 

He could bounce back to form on better ground but on balance his entry here probably represents a final throw of the dice for the trainer as he tries to catch Willie Mullins. 

Last time out Threeunderthrufive beat a revitalised Rapper with something to spare in the Swinley Handicap Chase at Ascot but faces a stiff task off top weight here; next time out Rapper fell when up with the leaders in the Kim Muir at the Festival.

Threeunderthrufive's stablemate Enrilo passed the post first in the 2021 renewal of this race but was subsequently disqualified, placed third, and really hasn't hit the same heights since. 

Certainly Red certainly likes Sandown but he has not been jumping well this term. 

He threw away his chance when second behind Java Point at this track in February and the jumping was again a problem when third behind Sam Brown in a Veterans' Chase at Ascot five weeks ago. Connections will hope the application of first-time cheekpieces has the desired effect.

Slipway would probably prefer more cut underfoot, as would Sam Brown and Weveallbeencaught who is unexposed but has yet to win in four chase starts.

Does He Know has his share of weight and wouldn't be the easiest to predict but he appeared to enjoy himself at the head of affairs in the Grimthorpe at Doncaster eight weeks ago. 

Having his second start since wind surgery, Bangers And Cash is likely to race up with the pace and is feasibly handicapped on 132 having won over this distance off this mark at Taunton 13 months ago.

My shortish shortlist comprises three that are known to need better ground.

Kinondo Kwetu caught the eye when fourth at 25/1 behind Cruz Control (Sam Brown second) in the Freebooter at Aintree a fortnight ago. 

On his first start for 168 days, Sam England's inmate lost two places from two out and is entitled improve for the run. His third behind Twig in the Summer Cup at Uttoxeter last June reads well. 

Annual Invictus beat Forward Plan a nose on good ground in the Great Yorkshire Chase at Doncaster on his penultimate start. Seventh in the Kim Muir last time, he was hampered by the fall of Rapper at the seventeenth and lost his position. He meets Kitty's Light on similar terms to last year when sixth behind that rival.

Perhaps Courtland looks a little high in the handicap after four wins last summer but Peter Bowen's charge was 80/1 earlier in the week and is now generally a 33/1 shot. 

The last of those summer victories, back in August, was the Class 2 Peter Dawson Forget-Me-Not Handicap Chase at Worcester where he came home 12 lengths clear. 

Last time he was an unlikely winner over an inadequate trip at Hereford as Mackenberg was some 15 lengths to the good when that rival jumped out left at the last and unseated the unfortunate Theo Gillard who later reported his saddle had slipped.

It has been a long, gruelling season and perhaps I've a touch of that end-of-term feeling, thanks for asking. With the value appearing to have disappeared from Kinondo Kwetu's price (11/1 generally), it's Annual Invictus who gets the nod. 

Annual Invictus is the each-way suggestion, currently 16/1 with most layers who are paying five places.


TW said...

Horse, Win Chance
Sam Brown [GB], 10.4%
Threeunderthrufive [IRE], 8.8%
Nick Rockett [IRE], 6.4%
Minella Cocooner [IRE], 6.4%
Bangers And Cash [IRE], 6.2%
Aime Desjy [FR], 5.4%
Certainly Red [GB], 5.2%
Kinondo Kwetu [GB], 5%
Fortescue [GB], 5%
Annual Invictus [IRE], 5%
Kitty's Light [GB], 4.8%
Does He Know [GB], 4.8%
Enrilo [FR], 4.4%
Rapper [GB], 3.9%
Amirite [IRE], 3.9%
Slipway [IRE], 3.8%
Your Own Story [IRE], 3.3%
Courtland [IRE], 2.9%
Weveallbeencaught [IRE], 2.3%
Le Milos [GB], 1.9%
Flash Collonges [FR], 1.6%
Flash De Touzaine [FR], 0.3%

The number 12 has put me off Sam Brown [12 years] and Threeunderfive [12 stone]. Nick Rockett or Minella Cocooner could be the icing on Willie Mullins champion trainer’s cake but both are short enough in the market.

Bangers And Cash, has won off today’s handicap mark, cheek pieces and a wind op look to have helped him, a better horse going right handed, 8yos record in the race decent as is carrying a low weight. He’d not be strong bet but perhaps a squeak of value in 33/1 5 places, he may drift further, I’ll hold back until BOG later.

A mark of 143 and the extended trip tempered the system’s view of Annual Invictus but as the system is still faltering I’m sure he’ll run his race!

Thanks for your posts this season, capped by a sparkling performance Cheltenham.

Good luck!


GeeDee said...

And thanks for providing your ratings throughout the winter months, TW.

Good luck for the Flat season ahead!

TW said...

Annual Invictus is the each-way suggestion, currently 16/1 with most layers who are paying five places.

Fantastic spin, so close, well done!


GeeDee said...

That man Mullins, TW... :)

GeeDee said...

Annual Invictus (20/1) raced at the head of affairs with Threeunderthrufive (22/1) for much of the trip.

As Threeunderthrufive fell away, push came to shove for the selection approaching the Pond Fence, three from home. I thought he looked mighty vulnerable but most of the challengers struggled to land a blow.

Minella Cocooner (17/2) emerged as the real threat coming to the last.

A fluent leap seemed to have given Chris Gordon's charge the initiative but Danny Mullins had other ideas and as they raced up the hill, inevitably the Mullins trained runner prevailed - by a neck.

A mistake in the middle of the race hampered Nick Rockett (7/1) but he stayed on to claim third on the run-in, ahead of Certainly Red (22/1) who jumped much better sporting first-time cheekpieces. Second at the Pond Fence, Lydia Richards' inmate looked a danger to all but just ran out of petrol, losing two places on the climb to the line from the final fence.