I’ve believed since last March that Vautour will win the Gold Cup, but value cannot be ignored and Smad Place has to be the value bet now at 14s NRNB (Betfair Sportsbook). He has never run a bad race in his life and since his breathing op, the King George has been his only blip – King continues to ‘protest too much’ about abandoning front-running tactics there: I doubt he would have won with them, but he might well have finished much closer.
He has exactly the same attributes as Coneygree had plus experience and, touch wood, soundness. Horses who can get into a rhythm in staying chases have a precious advantage, especially at Cheltenham.
I can only think he is such a big price due to bookies assuming he is a deep ground specialist. But he’s run some fine races on good ground, not least a neck 2nd in the RSA and a 3rd in the World Hurdle (not finishing his races either time, and his breathing might well have been the issue). Since his op, he’s run once on good, thrashing Fingal Bay on his seasonal debut. He then wins a Hennessy easily by 12l off 155, and yesterday, the Betbright in the same fashion and by the same distance off 168.
Why is he 14/1?