The Mackeson Gold Cup and the Massey-Ferguson Gold Cup will be remembered by us old-timers as two highly anticipated Cheltenham handicap Chases back in the 60s and 70s. They’re now known as The Paddy Power Gold Cup and The Spinal Research The Atlantic 4 Gold Cup.
David Pipe won the Paddy Power with Great Endeavour who is one of his four runners in tomorrow’s Gold Cup. The biggest priced of those, Matuhi, is, I think the best value at 25/1 for an EW punt. Betfair’s win price will almost certainly be bigger than that unless Pricewise tips him.
Matuhi is an experienced ‘chaser with three wins a 2nd and three 3rds from 13 races over fences. The 8-y-o is a competent jumper who races enthusiastically and has a dose of tactical speed that could stand him in good stead tomorrow. He’s also a bit better than his form figures suggest which has, I think contributed to his big price. He was 6th over this trip at the Festival in March after being hampered by a faller four out – I don’t think that made a lot of difference but it knocked him off balance for a few strides when he was just trying to get into the race proper.
He dropped to Class 2 next time and won nicely enough at Haydock and after three months’ rest travelled over for the £100,000 Galway Plate where he was brought down at the last when only about two lengths off the leader and still very much in contention despite what the formbook says (“no extra in 6th”). Stable jockey Tom Scudamore rides though perhaps not too much should be read into this as Great Endeavour, owned by David Johnson, is Timmy Murphy’s ride.
Tom hasn’t ridden the horse in public for a year but has won on him before. If he could choose a track for this race, he’d probably opt for Newbury or Haydock rather than Cheltenham as the horse might be just a bit short on stamina. But I believe his price compensates for that and with just 10.3 to carry I think the risk is worth it. For Betfair players, the horse normally travels well and a back to lay could be an option.
The one I fear most is Quantititaveeasing. Ap McCoy has rejected this horse in favour of Sunnyhillboy but Barry Geraghty is a fine sub; the horse is game and consistent with plenty track experience – 2nd at the Festival and in the Paddy Power. He almost certainly has improvement in him and with 10.7 a saver bet is strongly recommended.
I like Divers too but think he needs further to be seen at his best, even though he’s won over course and distance.
Of the others, I believe Woolcombe Folly has had his season in the sun: Great Endeavour has gone up in the weights, makes the odd blunder and, I suspect hasn’t the heart for a battle: Medermit doesn’t jump well enough: Sunnyhillboy is too short a price given he’s been beaten in all four chases he’s run in at Cheltenham (he’s won just once in two years). If the well touted Roudoudou Ville were to have a strong chance here, he really should have won the Class 2 he ran in at Perth (2nd). Also, although he’s a fine jumper, at Sandown he got very low at a number of fences, as quite a few French-schooled horses tend to do.
Update: Matuhi made a bad mistake at the 6th and was never really in it after that. Thankfully, recommended saver on winner Quantititaveeasing at 7/1 ensured a profit on the day.
(My thoughts on the big hurdle race are here)