Many Clouds first came to my attention when he won the Hennessy. I had missed his seasonal debut at Carlisle, but reviewing it, I was struck with the precision of his jumping, echoed today in his BetBright Chase win.
What impressed me in the Hennessy was his will to win, despite being very tired. He did not jump so well at Newbury as he’d done at Carlisle and perhaps they went a bit quick for him early.
Today I was hugely impressed with everything about him. He jumped beautifully, ears pricked some way from take-off and jumping with precision and efficiency. I prefer horses who jump like that. Sprinter Sacre and a few others can take the breath away at times, but you’re safer with horses who measure every fence confidently and spend little time in the air.
His ears never stopped flicking, showing he was always listening to his fine jockey Leighton Aspell. Between fences he just relaxed and his raking stride did the work naturally, saving much energy. Come battle time, he stretched his neck and they were never going to pass him, and I thought he won with quite a bit in hand.
His trainer Oliver Sherwood does not want fast ground for him in the Gold Cup, but perhaps too much has been made of his disappointing run at Aintree in April. That very tight track would not suit him at all, with the long stride he has. His galloping action does not suggest that he needs deep ground, and they won’t allow it to be faster than genuine good ground at worst in March.
He has everything going for him: jumps soundly, stays, battles, is now close to top class and still improving. His attitude and jumping ability are precious assets. I thought it remarkable how well balanced he was after each jump. For such a big horse, he’s entitled to look awkward at times, but far from it. He took the downhill fence with elan and composure.
I haven’t been so confident I’ve just seen a Gold Cup winner since I watched Denman win his RSA. Many Clouds reminds me of Denman, not least in the way he just lowers his head at the business end and rams his way past the post.
10/1 non runner no bet is available with Paddy Power, and I strongly advise you to take it.