The Bet365 Gold Cup (or in its previous guise of the Whitbread Gold Cup) is the last big chase handicap of the season and a traditional send-off to National Hunt racing’s year
The spotlight on the meeting is all the more magnified by it being the final day of riding for 20 time champion AP McCoy. I’m sure coverage will be monopolised by this and not a sentence will go by without some reference to the great jockey.
He has two rides at the meeting but none in the showpiece event.
Here’s a quick rundown of my thoughts for the day’s tv races with some recommendations:
Ground could become a major issue tomorrow and prevents me from getting too heavily involved with this card. On the flat track today the ground was ‘good’ but it was suggested that watering this week had left it on the dead side. We have to assume the jumps track is similar but if some forecasted heavy rain arrives tomorrow afternoon this watered ground could deteriorate quite quickly
2.00 Alzammaar is the early fav and really appreciated a step up in trip last time at Newbury. He’s back to 2 miles here and although the finishing hill is stiff he could need a bit more of a test. Top weight Old Guard interests me more. Paul Nicholls seemed quite sweet on his chances for a longshot in the Triumph Hurdle at Cheltenham until rain came to get rid of the good ground. He’s big enough to carry his weight and ground should be much better if it stays rain free before 2pm. I was hoping for a bit better than the early show of 6/1 however so refrain from putting him up as a recommended bet
2.35 Al Ferof and Menorah have the best form but both have something to prove here. I don’t tfind this a particularly attractive heat for betting but with Jack Sherwood reunited on Rebel Rebellion he makes best appeal of the outsiders with Paddy Power’s early 16/1 quote (as low as 8s with Ladbrokes and Hills)
3.05 McCoy’s mount Mr Mole likely to see support with him on board but the horse remains a bit of an enigmatic customer (although 10x better than he used to be!) Sprinter Sacre would dot up in this on his old form but he’s got a lot to prove now after his Cheltenham failure. His presence in the field does rule out the race as a betting medium for me – it would be great to see him return to past glories but impossible to know what form he will turn up in here.
3.50 The main event the Bet365 Gold Cup.
Former Gold Cup here Bobs Worth has slipped down the weights considerably and I can understand why he was backed for this midweek. At his height he won races by being a supreme trier but I’ve seen several like him where the efforts eventually catch up and then it’s a downhill curve. I think he too may have been ‘broken’
This is often a race for young horses and Le Reve is my ideal type having skipped Cheltenham and Aintree to purposefully wait for this race..
He must be one of the biggest horses in training so it’s no surprise he has taken time to realise his potential and this season has seen him start to do just that. He has already won over the course twice this season (it’s a place that takes some jumping so course experience is important) and this place will suit him much more than Kempton where he was beaten behind Rocky Creek last time (that one has to come back from a very disappointing effort in the Grand National).
Ground shouldn’t be a problem even if some rain falls and the one question mark is stamina – but he shapes like he can handle a test.
With some firms offering 5 places he has to be the recommendation
1pt ew Le Reve 9/1 (Betfair Sportsbook and Paddy Power offering 5 places)
4.25 Box Office is AP McCoy’s last ever ride and while he does hold a good chance he will undoubtedly be overbet to leave him at unattractive odds.
This will increase the odds of the others and I’m siding with Dan Skelton’s Go Odee Go who looks to be an improving type and a bit too big for me at 12/1
Rayvin Black also gets a mention as he gets on very well with Thomas Garner and will put them all to the sword with his front running style. It’s just that I think 2 miles is his trip and he may falter on the uphill finish here
1pt ew Go Odee Go 12/1 (365, Boyles, BetVictor, Hills)
Thanks for reading once more
Enjoy the day and good luck!
Saturday recommendations 4pts staked
1pt ew Le Reve 9/1
1pt ew Go Odee Go 12/1
Le Reve did very little wrong jumping the last in the lead only to be outstayed on the run in finishing 3rd (+1.25 pts)
Go Oee Go might have preferred a bit quicker ground but travelled well out the back and came through late to get 4th and place money – as he returned 14/1 and all mentioned firms are Best Ods Guaranteed I’ll be claiming that price (+2.5 pts)
Profit for the day +3.75 pts
Running balance 67.23 pts from the initial bank of 50 pts (17.23 pts profit and this does not include the 4pts staked on the 2,000 Guineas next weekend)
(prices correct at 1830 UK time 24 Apr – see http://www.oddschecker.com for current quotes)