Monthly Archives: November 2012

Betfair Chase – detailed comments from connections of first three

SILVINIACO CONTI MAKES ALL IN BETFAIR CHASE

Silviniaco Conti, trained by Paul Nicholls, made all under Ruby Walsh to win the Betfair Chase in terrific style from the 2011 Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Long Run, passing the post at Haydock Park two and a half lengths to the good.

This morning Nicholls had witnessed the unveiling of the bronze statue of Kauto Star which honours the four-time winner of the Betfair Chase he trained. Kauto Star led the runners for today’s big chase in the pre-race parade on the track and was cheered

Nicholls said of Silviniaco Conti: “He is a really decent horse. He’s only six, he jumps and he stays. We had a chat before and to Ruby I said that if they go quick, get a lead but, if they don’t, just bowl along in front because he jumps and gallops. There’s no better man to ride him in front than Ruby.

“I am not going to rush him and I might go straight to the Gold Cup (Cheltenham on March 15, 2013) with him. He loves to be fresh and I am not going to run him all winter in the mud – he’s only a baby and he could be really interesting come Cheltenham.

“I thought that he didn’t get the credit he deserved at Wetherby. He is a second-season chaser – he jumped, he travelled and he won really well.

“You have got to see him do it on the track. Long Run is a very, very good horse but it was a great performance for a six-year-old.

“He won’t go to Kempton (for the King George).”

Walsh commented: “The Gold Cup looks the natural step for him. He is a good stayer – he is not slow – and it’s great to have another chance of riding a Gold Cup winner.

“We discussed it a fortnight ago with the owners and we decided to come here. We were all of the same opinion that the King George this year would be more of a speed race with all of the two milers and two and a half milers.

“We will be happy enough if we win in March.”

 

More Betfair Chase winning quotes

 

RUBY PLEASED

Ruby Walsh, the winning rider on Silviniaco Conti, said: “There is a great crowd here at Haydock and we have seen it before with Kauto Star. They come out and support racing and it is great that they got a good performance from Silviniaco.

“I guess I assumed The Giant Bolster might make the running but probably you should never make assumptions should you? When the tapes went up and no one wanted to go on, Paul (Nicholls) did not mind me going on and so I went on.

“I dictated things the way I wanted to and he jumped really well and he travelled really well. I guess when you are in front, you are in control of the race.

“I was always happy I was doing things I wanted to be done. It would easier to have wing mirrors but I wanted to see what was going on (when he looked around). It was nice when it comes off but obviously when you make the running you can be a sitting duck as well. It is a fine line and great when it does work out.

“I would be delighted with that – it was a good performance. Paul has trained four Gold Cup winners so whatever he thinks I am happy to go along with.

“This horse has always been a very good jumper, from the first day (over fences) he ran at Chepstow and Cue Card beat him. He likes jumping – he takes you to the fence. It is a big help when they do that. The horses are going the right way.

“I guess you were wondering which Long Run was going to be here today. The Long Run who won the Gold Cup would be nearly impossible to beat but the Long Run who came third last year (in the Gold Cup) we would have a chance of beating. That’s the chance you are taking but if you are going to take the next step up this is the kind of performance you have to be putting in. It is great he did.

“We were delighted with him at Aintree (when he won his final start of last season) but people were knocking the form and saying the other horses were over the top.

“He was showing the right signs when he came in for this season. When Paul Nicholls rings you in the middle of September and says you want to see this that gets you going.

“Al Ferof and Silviniaco Conti have big boots to fill but they are going the right way. The horses are in great form and every weekend there seems to be a big winner. It makes for short weeks!”

Paul Nicholls declared: “He ran in France as a four-year-old (questioned about having enough experience) and it is more about having the ability and being good enough at the right time of their life. If he is fit and healthy you go. Kauto did when he was six and this horse jumps better than Kauto.

“This horse is a really sound jumper and he can only improve, He hasn’t been to Cheltenham before but I never worry about that too much. He has been around Haydock, he has been around Wetherby, he went around Aintree and he is fine.

“I thought if he won today then he will definitely go to the Gold Cup. If we run before is an issue but I would not be worried if he did not run before. I certainly won’t run him over Christmas. He is not a great horse in the middle of the winter and if we leave him now and then just tick him over and try and get him at his very best for Cheltenham.

“It is very exciting. The young horses have been amazing this year – we have lost the older lads who have retired. It is a dream come true to have the young horses come through. I am thrilled for everybody. Good horses are versatile and can win on any ground.”

Runner-up Quotes

“NO EXCUSES” FOR BEATEN LONG RUN 

Former Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Long Run could only finish second on his seasonal reappearance after failing to reel back the front-running Silviniaco Conti in the Betfair Chase.

The 11/8 favourite struggled with his jumping on the first circuit and once again occupied the runner-up berth – the same position he filled in the race 12 months ago when second behind Kauto Star.

Jockey Sam Waley-Cohen said: “He’s run his race but we’ve been beaten fair and square. The ground was a bit soft for him but it was the same for all the others and we’ve got no excuses. Hopefully this will put him spot on for the King George and that’s where he’ll head next.”

Owner Robert Waley-Cohen was happy enough with his horse but felt the pace of the race could have been his undoing. He said: “It’s always disappointing to be beaten when you’re favourite and maybe the pace of the race was to blame. He’d have preferred a more even pace as he seems to jump better when that is the case.

“His jumping was a bit sticky to begin with but when the pace picked up, so did his jumping.  It didn’t help that he was a bit keen on the first circuit and he’s never been the quickest finisher.

“Given the pace, I’m not sure we’ve learned an awful lot from the race. He should come on for the run though and will now head straight for the King George.” 

 

Placed quotes

 

 

PLACE IN THE GOLD CUP NO FLUKE

After a game seven-length third to Silviniaco Conti and Long Run on testing ground in the Grade One Betfair Chase David Bridgwater who trains the Gold Cup runner-up, The Giant Bolster, said: “He’s bound to come on for that, they all will – apart from the winner. We’ve got a lot of improvement. The winner is a good horse but the winner is very fit and has had the run of the race.

“It was a bloody good run by our horse. The class horse of the race is the second horse (Long Run). The winner has won because he is fit and we have finished not far behind – and Mr Henderson (Long Run’s trainer) has got better gallops than I have!

“There’s the King George at Kempton and the Lexus at Leopardstown in Ireland so we will see what happens.”

Asked if this proved that his charge’s Cheltenham Gold Cup second last season was no fluke, Bridgwater replied “Absolutely! He’s jumped beautifully and the top three have finished where they should have so we are happy.”

Tom Scudamore, who rode the Black Sam Bellamy gelding, added: “I think he has run an outstanding race, he has made a couple of mistakes but I put that down purely to the ground, he will come on so much for the run. It was our first run of the season and he just got tired at the end on less than ideal ground.

“This proves that he is a Grade One horse”

Content courtesy of my friends at Racenews

Imperial Commander will miss Betfair Chase

Imperial Commander will miss the Betfair Chase after suffering a setback when schooling yesterday. Despite completing the routine session in good fashion, he was discovered to have a small cut on his back leg which was sore to touch.

Syndicate head Ian Robinson said

When he pulled out this morning he had a small swelling over the outside of the cannon bone, which was warm to touch and has been diagnosed as a stress fracture in the splint bone. It is a freak injury which was caused by an impact as he struck into himself whilst schooling, it doesn’t look a lot but it is enough to require a break from his training program.

He will need a period of box rest to recover, before he can return to any exercise. It is a relatively common injury it is a waiting game and he won’t be rushed, in any event he won’t be returning to any sort of exercise before the middle of December. 

It is obviously disappointing as he has shown a lot of the old sparkle in his last few pieces of work. More importantly he is fine in himself and given a suitable break will fully recover. We are not making any plans at this stage, he has given us so much he will only be asked to do what he wants to do.

Here’s some footage of the gallop that did the damage  

 

 

100/1 Olofi worth a fiver for Champion Hurdle

Saturday’s Racing Post Hurdle (formerly The Greatwood) has proved a decent fishing ground for Champion Hurdle contenders. Olofi was 2nd in it last year and 5th in 2010. Although he carried only 10st 11lb when winning on Saturday, I think it was a pretty good performance. Very soft ground obviously suits him well and it’s far from impossible that we will get those conditions come March and the Cheltenham festival.

His trainer and jockey have called Olofi an unlucky horse and he does seem to find more than his fair share of trouble. A difficult ride (he wears cheekpieces and has his tongue tied down to aid breathing) he was, as usual, quite keen throughout the race on Saturday. One noticeable difference from an ‘unlucky’ race last season was the way he reacted to being baulked.

In the Betfair Hurdle at Newbury, he took a bump approaching the last and he then seemed to want to get as far away from the bumper (Get Me Out Of Here) as possible, veering badly right and having to be switched round another horse before resuming his challenge. In the end he was beaten under 5 lengths by Zarkandar although he was in receipt of 15 lbs.

On Saturday, he was badly blocked (though legally, imo) by Bothy as he tried to get to the running rail approaching the last; this time, he regained his momentum very quickly and surged past – no mean feat at a crucial point in a hot race. He kept on well to win and there might be a chance that the penny has finally dropped with him. He is still only 6 and could well have a fair bit of improvement to come.

But it’s likely to be a hot Champion Hurdle this year; I fancy Zarkandar strongly and Rock On Ruby, last year’s winner, looks the type who will improve. Hurricane Fly could be back to his best too. Anyway, I wouldn’t risk more than fiver but 100/1 about any winner of Saturday’s race, given its history, for the Champion Hurdle is probably worth a small bet.

William Hill offer 100/1

Good luck

Joe

20/1 Back In Focus worth taking for RSA Chase

The odds compilers at Coral sometimes ‘take a view’ (follow their own opinions rather than the market’s) on a big race and it looks like they are doing so with the RSA next March. They offer 20/1 about Saturday’s Punchestown winner, Back In Focus. Big mistake, I think.

He is just half that price with Bet 365 and is generally a 14/1 chance.  He’s won both his steeplechases; Saturday’s race was a pretty strong one and although the ground was heavy, he had the smoothest action of the four runners suggesting that he will go at least as well if not better on good ground (a high knee action usually suggests that a horse will go well on soft ground). I suspect it’s not so much soft ground he needs as a true stamina test.

On that front, my only reservation on the ante-post front is that he might end up in the 4m National Hunt Chase, although his trainer, Willie Mullins, said after Saturday’s race that the RSA trip would suit him well.  If he ends up in the four-miler, well you can back him to recover your lost stake for the RSA (ante-post bets are lost if the horse does not run).

In action, he looks a proper stayer: a head-down rhythmic galloper and an economical relaxed jumper. He made one error on Saturday, otherwise he fenced like an old handicapper and better ground should only help his technique. He reminded me a bit of Denman. Like that horse, he seems to give a lot in his races without any driving and I suspect he would want a fair rest between runs.

But take the 20/1 before Coral realise they’ve made a bloomer.

Good luck

Joe

Take 16/1 Al Ferof now for the Ryanair

I believe Al Ferof has a fine chance of winning the Paddy Power on Saturday. If he does he’ll be close to favourite for the Ryanair over half a furlong farther in March.

His Cheltenham record has been blotted only by his poor run behind Sprinter Sacre in this year’s Arkle when he made a horrendous mistake four out (sweated up beforehand too). Mr Nicholls can rarely resist the temptation of taking his Cheltenham runners to Aintree when  in my opinion, many should be rested (he’s not the only trainer whose common sense is holed below the waterline by the lure of huge prize money).

Anyway, he boxed up Al Ferof  and took him there where he ran a lifeless race. Prior to his festival outing, he’d run a really good race for a novice in the Victor Chandler; he lined up there with just two fencing runs behind him and ended the race with his best ever RPR of 163 for finishing 3rd.

He won a very good Supreme last year beating Spirit Son, Sprinter Sacre and Cue Card and is a high class horse with a strong liking for this track and an excellent record on good to soft which looks likely for Saturday and is always favourite for the festival in March.

I like Grand Crus but I suspect he is a wee bit soft. Al Ferof could come late and battle him out of it in the Paddy Power. Take the 16s now for the Ryanair. If you get the ante-post yips over the winter, you can always lay it off at half the price!

Good luck

Cue Card at 10/1 looks big in King George VI Chase

I suspect I’m doomed never to make my fortune on Cue Card but I just can’t resist getting back off the canvas and reaching for my wallet again. His chase debut last October was one of the most impressive I’ve seen and I started backing him then, with considerable confidence, for the Arkle.

On Nov 11th he turned out at Cheltenham against Grands Crus and I had a big bet on him. He tipped Joe Tizzard out of the saddle at the 11th fence. JT had, I decided, made the error of trying to restrain the horse who seemed, to my eye, to be desperate to be allowed his head so he could take the fences in his stride.

A measure of my mania . . . for the first time in my life I wrote  to a trainer, emailing Colin Tizzard to say the horse plainly needed to be given his head and not interfered with. Mr Tizzard wisely hit the delete button.

I decided to get my cash back, and more, at Newbury on Nov 25th by which time the Tizzards had figured out for themselves that the horse should not be restrained. He led throughout and jumped well bar one blunder, only to be caught and beaten on the nod by Bobsworth to whom he was conceding half a stone. Now, Cue Card’s head carriage isn’t the loveliest thing but his jockey’s that day was even worse. Joe Tizzard has a habit of looking round after the last and he did so here when two lengths clear. That look round must unbalance a horse to some degree (try doing it on a bike) and it might well have cost him the race.

Nonetheless, given his natural speed and the speculation that he hadn’t quite seen out the twenty furlongs at Newbury (tosh, in my opinion) I backed him again for the Arkle.

On December 9th a big black party pooper called Sprinter Sacre jumped his way to the top of the Arkle market and I settled for cursing him and having a saver at 7s just in case.

On the last day of the year Cue Card gave For Non Stop half a stone and a four length beating at Newbury, refilling my bank account in the process.  The Black Aeroplane, as Nicky Henderson calls Sprinter Sacre, left Cue Card behind at Cheltenham. CC had failed honourably and I ended up with a small profit thanks to the early season saver on SS.

You might have seen Cue Card’s seasonal debut at Exeter the other day when he hammered Menorah, Edgardo Sol (who, by the way, I think will win a nice race one day). He was reported as jumping slickly; that’s not the way I saw it. Yes he made some nice jumps, but he was far from slick at every one due to his habit of screwing when JT tries to organise him.

I’m convinced that what this horse needs is a strong even pace throughout and the chance to attack his fences: restraint upsets his rhythm. I’ve little doubt that the King George trip will suit him perfectly if his jockey sets that spot-on pace from the outset. The others will simply melt away as their power fades. If I could be guaranteed he’d get that kind of ride, I’d back him with a huge amount of confidence. As it is, I’ll have a decent bet at 10/1 and hope for the best. I suspect he will be half this price come the day.

Of the others I respect Grands Crus, though my confidence that CC would have beaten him at Cheltenham had he stood up compels me to stay with the Tizzard horse. Long Run is well over-rated due to his Gold Cup success and he has trouble bending his back properly under pressure.

Riverside Theatre is a good horse though he managed only three outings in each of the past two seasons and is far from certain to turn up.

Silvianaco Conti has met Cue Card twice and lost each time. On his Aintree showing, Finian’s Rainbow has a good chance of getting the trip here and I’d rate him the main danger.

Good luck

Betfair Chase entries and comments

WALEY-COHEN EXCITED BY LONG RUN AHEAD OF BETFAIR CHASE AT HAYDOCK PARK

A fantastic entry of 19 has been received for the £200,000 Grade One Betfair Chase, the highlight of the two-day Betfair Chase Festival at Haydock Park on Friday and Saturday, November 23 and 24.

The three-mile contest is the first big test for the best British and Irish staying chasers and the entries for this year’s renewal are headed by 2011 Cheltenham Gold Cup hero Long Run.

Robert Waley-Cohen’s seven-year-old, who is one of three entries for trainer Nicky Henderson, found life tougher behind a rejuvenated Kauto Star last season, chasing him home in the Betfair Chase and the King George VI Chase at Kempton over Christmas.

However, Long Run gained a decisive half-length victory over stablemate Burton Portin the Grade Two Betfair Denman Chase at Newbury in February before a good third in the Cheltenham Gold Cup.

His regular rider Sam Waley-Cohen said: “We are pleased with Long Run. He has developed into a big, strong racehorse which we are all very excited about. He seems to have had a good summer and looks great.

“I think you would have to say he didn’t achieve the heights last season that he achieved the year before. You always set your aspirations by what you have done in the past, but in many ways you can’t be disappointed about being beaten by arguably the greatest horse of all time.

“We were never out of the first three, having run in top-class company, and although we did not get the results we wanted, you can’t be too disappointed either.

“It’s very hard to tell the difference in a horse from one year to another until you get to the sharp end of a race. The results clearly stand for themselves in that he didn’t run to the same mark as he did the year before but, in terms of how Long Run felt through his races, I thought his jumping was significantly better than the year before and he was much more mature.

“All these things bode well for the coming season. I think there is an incredibly exciting group of horses out there at the moment and every year a new star is born and everyone will be trying to lay claims for the title of Kauto Star’s successor.

“All being well, Long Run will follow a similar plan to last season as you are a bit limited with options at this level. I can’t wait to race ride him again – riding him in work is a pleasure and riding him in races is a real joy for me.”

As well as Long Run and Burton Port, Nicky Henderson could saddle Bobs Worth, who remained unbeaten around left-handed courses following a gutsy success in the Grade One RSA Chase at the Cheltenham Festival in March.

Another exciting entry is David Pipe’s Grands Crus, who disappointed connections in the RSA Chase, but had previously won the Grade One Feltham Novices’ Chase over three miles in great style. He could be joined by stablemate Dynaste, successful on Betfair Chase Day 12 months ago in the Betfair Don’t Settle For Less “Fixed Brush” Handicap Hurdle.

Grade One Arkle Challenge Trophy runner-up Cue Card is one of two entries for Colin Tizzard and made an exceptional reappearance in the Grade Two Haldon Gold Cup at Exeter yesterday (Tuesday, November 6), sauntering home for a 26-length success.

Nigel Twiston-Davies confirmed last week that 2010 Betfair Chase and Cheltenham Gold Cup victor Imperial Commander is on course for the Betfair Chase after being off the track for 20 months, while last season’s Cheltenham Gold Cup runner-up The Giant Bolster is a likely starter for David Bridgwater.

Champion trainer Paul Nicholls will be without Kauto Star this season, who has won four of the seven renewals, but he has four possible representatives headed recent exciting Grade Two Charlie Hall Chase scorer Silviniaco Conti.

The Ditcheat-handler may also saddle Cristal Bonus, who made a fine start to his second season over fences with a nine-length romp in the Grade Two Ladbrokes Chase at Down Royal on November 3, the enigmatic but very talented Tidal Bay and Grade One winning novice chaser and hurdler Al Ferof.

Last season’s Grade Two Argento Chase winner Midnight Chase could represent Neil Mulholland, while Weird Al may bid to improve on his third last season.

Three-time Cheltenham Festival winner Albertas Run could attempt three miles for the first time since the 2011 King George VI Chase, while Wayward Prince returned to form when second for new handler Hilary Parrott in Wetherby’s Charlie Hall Chase, with Midnight Chase third, at the weekend.

The entries are completed by course and distance winner Cappa Bleu, Cannington Brook and the classy Calgary Bay, who could have his first start for Mick Channon.

Kauto Star, whose retirement was announced last week, will parade at Haydock Park on Betfair Chase Day, Saturday, November 24. A statue will also be unveiled to commemorate one of the greatest chases ever, who won 16 Grade One contests including four Betfair Chases (2006, 2007, 2009 and 2011), five King George VI Chases (2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 & 2011) and two Cheltenham Gold Cups (2007 & 2009).

Betfair spokesman Tony Calvin commented: “We look to have a tremendous line-up in store for the Betfair Chase once again, with all the best domestic staying chasers entered in the race.

“There may be no Kauto Star this year – though the other horses will, no doubt, get apprehensive if and when they see the four-time winner of the race parading before racing! – but it is packed full of Gold Cup winners and Grade One quality.

“And it will be great if Imperial Commander makes this his comeback race from injury. He won the Betfair Chase in 2010, having been beaten a nose by a certain Kauto Star 12 months earlier. In fact, I remember Imperial Commander trading as the odds-on favourite in the photo finish betting that year.”

BIG BUCK’S AMONG 50 FOR BETFAIR “FIXED BRUSH” HANDICAP HURDLE

Betfair Chase Day also features the £80,000 Grade Three Betfair. Don’t Settle For Less Handicap Hurdle over three miles.

First run in 2005, the contest has been over Fixed Brush hurdles since 2007. Fixed Brush hurdles offer a unique challenge, as they are more like mini-fences than the traditional hurdles seen at the majority of British racecourses.

The 50 entries for the 2012 renewal are headed by the mighty Big Buck’s, one of five entries for champion trainer Paul Nicholls. The nine-year-old is the greatest staying hurdler of all time and has won the last four renewals of the Grade One World Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival. His latest victory came in the Grade One Liverpool Hurdle at Aintree in April, when he created a new record of 17 consecutive wins in Jump races.

Paul Nicholls recently revealed on his Betfair column: “Big Buck’s has been given an entry in the Betfair Fixed Brush Handicap Hurdle on Betfair Chase Day. It is a very valuable race, worth more than the Newbury race that is normally his reappearance, but money isn’t everything and we will do what is best for the horse.

“But, at this stage, Haydock is only a tentative entry for him, so don’t get carried away yet.”

Also among the entries is the 2011 John Smith’s Grand National hero Ballabriggs, trained by Donald McCain.

The past two renewals of the Betfair. Don’t Settle For Less Handicap Hurdle have been won by horses trained by David Pipe – Grands Crus in 2010 and Dynaste in 2011 – and this year there are eight entries from Pond House – Bakbenscher, Our Father, Poole Master, The Package, Close House, Knight Pass, Katkeau, Problema Tic and Goulanes.

For further information, please contact:

John Baker, Regional Director North West, Jockey Club Racecourses, on 01942 402609 or 07900 244248, email – john.baker@thejockeyclub.co.uk
Tony Calvin, Betfair, 07881 508 999, email tony.calvin@betfair.com

THE BETFAIR CHASE
Class 1, Grade 1, £200,000 Total Prize Fund. 3.05pm, Haydock Park, Saturday, November 24, 2012. For five-year-olds & upwards, three miles. Weights: 11st 7lb. Allowances: mares, 7lb. Entries closed November 6, entries revealed November 7 (19 entries). Five-day confirmation & £10,000 supplementary entry stage Monday, November 19. Final declaration stage, 10.00am, Thursday, November 22. Form figures supplied by Weatherbys and are correct up to and including the racing of Monday, November 5.

Form Horse Age Owner Trainer
1/11343- AL FEROF (FR) 7 John Hales Paul Nicholls
P12/123- ALBERTAS RUN (IRE) 11 Trevor Hemmings Jonjo O’Neill
11/1321- BOBS WORTH (IRE) 7 The Not Afraid Partnership Nicky Henderson
21/2/242- BURTON PORT (IRE) 8 Trevor Hemmings Nicky Henderson
F/05110- CALGARY BAY (IRE) 9 Camilla Radford Mick Channon
15105-6 CANNINGTON BROOK (IRE) 8 Sara Biggins & Celia Djivanovic Colin Tizzard
2P//1334- CAPPA BLEU (IRE) 10 William & Angela Rucker Evan Williams
0/11P2-1 CRISTAL BONUS (FR) 6 Robin Geffen Paul Nicholls
2/1U212- CUE CARD 6 Jean Bishop Colin Tizzard
16/1420- DYNASTE (FR) 6 John White David Pipe
2/61114- GRANDS CRUS (FR) 7 Roger Stanley & Yvonne Reynolds III David Pipe
251U/1P/- IMPERIAL COMMANDER (IRE) 11 Our Friends in the North Nigel Twiston-Davies
11/2213- LONG RUN (FR) 7 Robert Waley-Cohen Nicky Henderson
5/F310-3 MIDNIGHT CHASE 10 Lady Clarke Neil Mulholland
31241-1 SILVINIACO CONTI (FR) 6 Chris Giles & Potensis Limited Paul Nicholls
U02142- THE GIANT BOLSTER 7 Simon Hunt David Bridgwater
32541-1 TIDAL BAY (IRE) 11 Andrea & Graham Wylie Paul Nicholls
4/P40P-2 WAYWARD PRINCE 8 John & Hilary Parrott Hilary Parrott
0P/13PF- WEIRD AL (IRE) 9 Brannon Dick Holden Donald McCain

19 entries

THE BETFAIR. DON’T SETTLE FOR LESS “FIXED BRUSH” HANDICAP HURDLE
Class 1, Grade 3, £80,000 Total Prize Fund. 2.30pm, Haydock Park, Saturday, November 24, 2012. For four-year-olds & upwards, three miles.: Entries closed November 6, entries revealed November 7 (50 entries), weights revealed November 14. Penalties: after November 11, a winner of a hurdle 5lb. Five-day confirmation stage Monday, November 19. Final declaration stage, 10.00am, Thursday, November 22. Form figures supplied by Weatherbys and are correct up to and including the racing of Monday, November 5.

Form Horse Age Owner Trainer
1/11P- ALAND ISLANDS (IRE) 6 J P McManus Tim Vaughan
PF0513- ALFIE SHERRIN 9 J P McManus Jonjo O’Neill
46013-1 ALPHA VICTOR (IRE) 7 Denton,Kinsey,Osborne Hse,Wesley,Yates William Kinsey
23P2-10 AMERICAN SPIN 8 G Collacott & R Gadd Luke Dace
44620-0 ARCTIC COURT (IRE) 8 Ray & Anita Anderson Green Jim Goldie
1/531U/-5 BAKBENSCHER 9 Three Line Whip Alan King
1121/46- BALLABRIGGS (IRE) 11 Trevor Hemmings Donald McCain
10/2210/- BARAFUNDLE (IRE) 8 Judith Ratcliff Jennie Candlish
1300-12 BAT MASTERSON (IRE) 4 Queen Maeve Racing Club Noel Meade IRE
11/4U21- BEAR’S AFFAIR (IRE) 6 G B Barlow Nicky Henderson
1/11111- BIG BUCK’S (FR) 9 The Stewart Family Paul Nicholls
36/1220/- BOUGGLER 7 Axom (XXI) Emma Lavelle
2F211-6 CAPTAIN SUNSHINE 6 Mrs Julien Turner Emma Lavelle
312/150- CEDRE BLEU (FR) 5 Paul Barber & David Johnson Paul Nicholls
212/314- CLOSE HOUSE 5 Roger Brookhouse David Pipe
21F01-0 CUCUMBER RUN (IRE) 7 The Goblyns Nicky Henderson
0450-21 EL DANCER (GER) 8 Ron Davies Lucy Wadham
15F3F-0 EXMOOR RANGER (IRE) 10 The Rangers Partnership Victor Dartnall
3110-01 FOX APPEAL (IRE) 5 Fox Inn Syndicate 3 Emma Lavelle
1- GOULANES (IRE) 6 Roger Brookhouse David Pipe
31-22 HOLYWELL (IRE) 5 Gay Smith Jonjo O’Neill
10/3112- KAFFIE 7 D H Morgan Kim Bailey
2P004-F KATENKO (FR) 6 A Brooks Venetia Williams
F0-2321 KATKEAU (FR) 5 Prof C Tisdall, J A Gent, R Wilkin David Pipe
02250P- KAYF ARAMIS 10 Isobel Phipps Coltman Nigel Twiston-Davies
1316P0- KNIGHT PASS (IRE) 6 Malcolm Denmark David Pipe
PP312-3 LACKAMON 7 Sue Smith Sue Smith
3232-00 LOS NADIS (GER) 8 Ian Dalgleish Jim Goldie
1F141-5 LOVCEN (GER) 7 The Barbury Apes Alan King
0001-R3 MAD MOOSE (IRE) 8 Middleham Park Racing XXXV & Partner Nigel Twiston-Davies
3500-23 MR MOONSHINE (IRE) 8 Sue Smith Sue Smith
P2P-010 OGEE 9 Sir Evelyn De Rothschild Renee Robeson
122/10P- OUR FATHER (IRE) 6 The Ives & Johnson Families David Pipe
4/1110F- POOLE MASTER 7 G Thompson David Pipe
40/1211- PROBLEMA TIC (FR) 6 Jo Tracey David Pipe
31/11F-0 RANGITOTO (IRE) 7 Charles Whittaker & Paul Barber Paul Nicholls
33/4053- REVE DE SIVOLA (FR) 7 Paul Duffy Diamond Partnership Nick Williams
F4060-2 ROYAL CHARM (FR) 7 Angela & Mark Tincknell Paul Nicholls
32U4-P1 SAPHIR RIVER (FR) 6 Sandy Seymour Lucinda Russell
0424/-11 SIMARIAN (IRE) 7 Peter Conway Evan Williams
012PP-1 SIR DU BEARN (FR) 6 Nic Allen & Carl Mason Robin Dickin
15140-4 SIVOLA DE SIVOLA (FR) 6 D O’Donohoe, S & P Nelson & D Silvester Tom George
062FP-1 SIXTY SOMETHING (FR) 6 Mrs A Timpson Paul Webber
0001F-0 SON OF FLICKA 8 Twenty Four Seven Recruitment Donald McCain
30P012- SUNNYHILLBOY (IRE) 9 J P McManus Jonjo O’Neill
12U5/5/4- THE PACKAGE 9 David Johnson David Pipe
31111-2 THEMILANHORSE (IRE) 6 John Hales Paul Nicholls
3P13P-1 TOP SMART 6 The Calvera Partnership No 2 Seamus Mullins
33236-1 TRUSTAN TIMES (IRE) 6 Mrs M E & Peter Armitage Tim Easterby
U20PP-U TULLAMORE DEW (IRE) 10 Give Every Man His Due Nick Gifford

50 entries
1 Irish-trained

My thanks to Racenews for the content

 

Paddy Power Gold Cup weights and comments from connections

 

 

 

WEIGHTS REVEALED FOR PADDY POWER GOLD CUP

The following courtesy of my friends at Racenews

 

Grands Crus has been allotted 11st 6lb for the £160,000 Paddy Power Gold Cup following the publication of the weights for the highlight of The Open at Cheltenham on Saturday, November 17.

 

David Pipe’s charge, Paddy Power’s 3/1 favourite for the extended two and a half mile Grade Three handicap chase, enjoyed a superb first season over fences last term that included a facile victory in the Grade One Feltham Novices’ Chase at Kempton.

 

The Keiran Burke-trained Hunt Ball, second favourite with Paddy Power at 6/1, has also been given 11st 6lb following a stunning novice campaign that culminated with an emphatic win in the Listed Pulteney Land Investments Novices’ Handicap Chase at The Festival.

 

Fellow second-season chaser Micheal Flips (10st 8lb) was cut to 14/1 from 20/1 by Paddy Power last week after being recommended in the Racing Post’s Pricewise column. The eight-year-old is set for the Paddy Power Gold Cup after coming home fifth under top-weight on his seasonal return for trainer Andy Turnell in a two mile, one furlong handicap chase at Ascot on Saturday (November 3).

 

Micheal Flips went down by two lengths to For Non Stop (11st 11lb & 10/1) in a Grade One novices’ chase at Newbury in February and came home fourth behind the current favourite for the Betfred Cheltenham Gold Cup, Sir Des Champs, in the Grade Two Jewson Novices’ Chase at The Festival in March.

 

Turnell revealed: “Micheal Flips is a definite runner for the Paddy Power Gold Cup, all being well. I thought that he ran all right at Ascot on Saturday – he was carrying a lot of weight and the trip was a bit sharp for him. He will be better for the run and it should put him spot on for Cheltenham.

 

“His good form last season was very good. His second to For Non Stop looks very good now and he seemed to run consistently well without setting the world alight.

 

“He made one error with his jumping on Saturday but he jumped pretty well otherwise and he seems more confident over his fences now.”

 

Poquelin (11st 12lb & 25/1) heads the weights for the Paddy Power Gold Cup for a third successive year. The Paul Nicholls-trained nine-year-old has won five times at Cheltenham and was second to The Giant Bolster on his latest appearance at the home of Jump Racing in the Grade Three Murphy Group Handicap Chase in January.

 

A total of eight entries from Nicholls also features Cristal Bonus (11st 6lb & 16/1), who was an easy winner of a Grade Two Chase at Down Royal on November 3, recent Kempton graduation chase scorer Ghizao (10st 13lb & 14/1),Aerial (11st 4lb & 20/1) and Grade One winner Al Ferof (11st 8lb & 16/1).

 

Other notable contenders include the Nicky Henderson-trained pair of course and distance scorer Nadiya De La Vega (10st 8lb & 12/1) and the 2011 secondQuantitativeeasing (11st 4lb & 20/1), last season’s RSA Chase fifth Walkon(10st 6lb & 10/1) and Jewson Novices’ Chase runner-up Champion Court(11st 4lb & 10/1).

 

Paddy Power Gold Cup, Paddy Power bet: 3/1 Grand Crus; 6/1 Hunt Ball; 10/1 Champion Court, For Non Stop, Walkon; 12/1 Nadiya De La Vega; 14/1 Micheal Flips, Ghizao; 16/1 Cristal Bonus, Divers, Al Ferof; 20/1 Aerial, Menorah, Quantitativeeasing, Notus De La Tour, The Disengager, Havingotascoobydo, Edgardo Sol, Time For Rupert, Tanks For That, The Knoxs, Triolo d’Alene, Pepite Rose; 25/1 Poquelin, Solix, Tartak, Wishfull Thinking, Kingsmere; 33/1 Gilbarry, Calgary Bay, Forpadydeplasterer, Giorgio Quercus, Darna, Torphichen, Fosters Cross, Tiptoeaway, Criqtonic, Questions Answered, Jamsie Hall, Casey Top; 50/1 Finger On the Pulse, Vino Griego, Ordinary Man

 

OLOFI ON SONG AHEAD OF RACING POST HURDLE

 

Trainer Tom George is hoping that Olofi can make it third time lucky in the £100,000 Racing Post Hurdle after the six-year-old was allotted 10st 7lb for the feature race of the third and final day of Cheltenham’s Open meeting on Sunday, November 18.

 

A 16/1 chance with Paddy Power, Olofi was fifth behind Menorah in the extended two-mile contest in 2010 and found only Brampour two and a half lengths too strong in the same race last season.

 

He subsequently fell when bang in contention at Newbury in December and was fifth in a valuable Grade Three handicap hurdle at the same course in February before ending his campaign with a disappointing effort in the Grade Three Vincent O’Brien County Handicap Hurdle at The Festival.

 

George revealed: “Olofi is set for the Racing Post Hurdle. I took him away to Lambourn on Tuesday morning to work him over a mile and a half on grass, just to give him a trip away, and he did a good, strong piece of work.

 

“He ran a very solid race last year – he won his race on the stands’ rail whereas Brampour came up the middle. He’s rated 136 now but he was competitive off the same mark last season – he fell at Newbury when he was going to run a big race and then his season fell apart.

 

“Everything went wrong at The Festival – he got a bad start, was badly hampered and I don’t think he was quite the same after he fell at Newbury, although he’s fine now. He has schooled over fences since he was three and we have chasing at the back of our minds with him.

 

 

“We always planned to give him one start over hurdles before going chasing and we hope that we have got him straight enough to do himself justice on his first start of the season.

 

“He could have easily been one of the high-profile horses of last season but things didn’t go his way and hopefully we can get him back on song.”

 

Raya Star (12/1 with Paddy Power) heads the weights for the Racing Post Hurdle with 11st 12lb following a game victory over It’s A Gimme (10st 11lb & 7/1) in a competitive handicap hurdle at Ascot on November 3.

 

Darlan (11st 8lb & 5/1 favourite) could return to Cheltenham after filling the runner-up spot in last season’s William Hill Supreme Novices’ Hurdle and the five-year-old’s trainer Nicky Henderson may also be represented by Irish Grade One scorer Cash And Go (10st 12lb & 8/1) and Une Artiste (10st 12lb & 14/1), who won the Grade Three Fred Winter Juvenile Handicap Hurdle at The Festival in March.

 

Irish raider Domination (10/1) has been allotted 10st 7lb, while other entries include the Fred Winter Juvenile Handicap Hurdle fourth Kazlian (10st 7lb & 10/1), the lightly-raced Ranjaan (10st 12lb & 12/1) plus course and distance winner Dark Lover (10st 2lb & 12/1).

 

Racing Post Hurdle, Paddy Power bet: 5/1 Darlan; 7/1 It’s A Gimme; 8/1 Cash And Go; 10/1 Domination, Kazlian; 12/1 Ranjaan, Dark Lover, Raya Star; 14/1 Prospect Wells, Staying Article, Lexi’s Boy, Une Artiste; 16/1 Ile de Re, Dodging Bullets, Hinterland, Edgardo Sol, Snap Tie, Vendor, Olofi, Ted Spread; 20/1 Moon Dice, Cause of Causes, Maller Tree; 25/1 Starluck, Bothy, Desert Cry, Constant Contact, Conquisto, Hi Dancer, Rattan, King Of Queens; 33/1 Changing The Guard, Star of Aragon, Blue Bajan, Alasi, One Cool Shabra, Hunters Belt, Glam Gerry, Albert Hall; 50/1 Grey Soldier, The Tiddly Tadpole, Akula