Paddy Power Gold Cup weights and comments from connections





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




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

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