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cyclops
25 Jan 18 11:50
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Date Joined: 11 Apr 02
| Topic/replies: 917 | Blogger: cyclops's blog
I'm looking at the Gold Cup a bit differently this year. Normally, I try to find one that is, or might become, a great chaser. But now and again, the race is won by a horse of lesser class, like Lord Windermere or Synchronised, the first in a freakish renewal and the second through bad ground. I suspect that this year there is only one horse, on the evidence so far, who could approach the "great" class, i.e. Might Bite, and a host of others of similar ability. (I maybe failing to give due credit here to Sizing John).

Just look at those prominent in the betting.

Of the first eight, we find:

Three that were tailed off in their last outing (Sizing, Bristol, Our Duke)

One yet to appear this season (Native)

One whose only run this season was against two runners, one of whom ran himself to a standstill and the other who was tailed off in a cross-country race the time before (Coney)

One who has won one of his 12 chase starts (Minella)

The only two who ran well in their most recent start (this season) are Might Bite and Road to Respect. I'm a big fan of the former but was rather underwhelmed by his KG win. A diminishing half length over a horse who had never achieved a 160 rating, closely followed by another thoroughly exposed as below top class would not normally propel a horse into 4/1 favouritism.

Road to Respect is consistent and improving but those he narrowly beat are 80/1 and 220/1 for the Gold Cup.

In the earlier part of the season the market, extraordinarily, had Thistlecrack as favourite and then, incomprehensibly, a horse who struggles to jump (Yorkhill) was backed down to very nearly market leader before his disastrous effort.

So what can be concluded? Firstly, that a contender may yet emerge strongly. But, in the absence of one, perhaps 4/1 is not that bad a price for Might Bite. While the KG raised questions, he has at least provided far more answers than any of his rivals. My abiding memory of the RSA (other than the obvious one) was how the field could simply not stay with him. The pace he set had them all in trouble from an incredibly early stage. With the likely spring ground he may be a class apart. Charitably, you could argue he was idling at Kempton and, yes, you have to believe that otherwise he won't be winning a Gold Cup. But he's with the right stable, who do appear to believe he's the real thing and, while a win by an outsider is probably more likely this year than ever, putting one horse up to beat Might Bite is beyond me at present. I'm sure we won't see him again until the big day and could see him halving in price before the off. I would certainly be concerned, though, if wet weather came in.

But one of the strangest years for this great race. Anyone who has a strong view on this, other than the favourite, will be relying on gut feeling rather than the form book. A more inconsistent bunch of horses may never have been seen at the top level.
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Report Desmond Orchard January 25, 2018 1:03 PM GMT
I agree Cyclops, usually it's a very difficult puzzle, but this year it all points one way.
Given the difficulty of finding an alternative, I think the 4/1 available is a great price.
Report FOYLESWAR January 25, 2018 1:26 PM GMT
it is difficult for the assessors to to rate this horse as his tendancy to idle gives a false impression, hence his low rating pre king george, whisper was rated about 7 pound higher than mite bite ,  go figga that one , i too was taken by the rsa win when he had everything in trouble a good way out and his change of gear approaching the final bend was spectacular and to win the race after seemingly throwing it away was amazing, considering he had led almost all the way ,as a poster said "could be a monster "
Report buddeliea January 25, 2018 2:03 PM GMT
Could well do a Denman
Report Desmond Orchard January 25, 2018 5:00 PM GMT
I'd be happy with a Lord Windermere, Bud! But yeah, if any horse is going to crush them a long way from home it'll be this fella (or BDM in the unlikely event of a bog).
Report duffy January 25, 2018 5:03 PM GMT
I'd be more than happy to give SJ another chance at the moment, what he has done since stepping up in trip entitles him to that IMO, I'm not convinced by the standard of MB's wins.
Report impossible123 January 25, 2018 5:09 PM GMT
Good write-up 'cyclops'.

I'd tend to concur with your take ie those that had been out only Might Bite (MB) had delivered; the race Road to Respect won just had too many question marks about the merit of his victory given the well below par run of the principal runners ie Sizing John (SJ) and Djakadam.

Unless Native River - not been out this season - improves more than 10lbs which I believe is very unlikely given his performances last season eg he did not improve progressively, and my suspicion of too taxing a Gold Cup trip on Coney Island it'd be prudent to stick with the front two ie SJ and MB.

With the exit of Yorkhill, the only unknown horse with the greatest potential on last season's showing is Our Duke, I firmly believe.
Report That is all January 25, 2018 6:36 PM GMT
Superb write up. Agree with some of the above in that  Might Bite’s RSA run last year had me thinking we could have another Denman for the GC this year & there certainly are v.few in this line up that could trouble him if he gets his own way up front. The only one that interests me of the field (and this is v.speculative) would be the Gigginstown Empire of Dirt, huge price currently & has previous Festival form, given all the question marks over the others if he turns up on the day is no 80/1 ****.
Report impossible123 January 25, 2018 7:19 PM GMT
Empire Of Dirt? Not a smidgen of news about him,... is he ok? Entered and scratched in races aplenty. Big price here!
Report buddeliea January 25, 2018 8:27 PM GMT
One who has won one of his 12 chase starts (Minella)

Yeh,good write up. But would not worry about that stat too much.
His win was at Cheltenham,and his best run was in this race last year.
Think the way the race will be run this year will suit Rocco.......big player imo.
Report lucky22 January 25, 2018 9:25 PM GMT
I am fully in the Might Bite camp - he surely has the least amount of questions to answer. Having seen his run in the RSA from the track, and the ridiculous distance he put between himself and the rest of the field coming down the hill, connections may well try to replicate such tactics on March 16th.
MB has done it at the track before, and there is a good record of RSA winners and a good Gold Cup run (Lord Windemere won both and Don Poli won then placed).

The one I would take against the field is Minella Rocco...winner of the four miler and finishing like a train last year when I didn't think the pace was that hot. With Might Bite trailblazing along I feel the Rocco will be the one to chase him home, and if MB doesn't quite get up the hill i think MR will scoot past him.

Cannot wait for the Fez!!!!

Best of luck lads.
Report cyclops January 26, 2018 9:25 AM GMT
budd, I have to disagree about Minella.
Yes, his win was at Cheltenham, but it was over 4 miles. (Don't believe any horse has come back from winning at that distance to win a Gold Cup).
He has two fatal flaws, above and beyond his moodiness and inconsistency.
Firstly, his jumping is frequently appalling.
Secondly, even when his jumping holds up, his lack of speed finds him out. If you watch his last run, he actually jumped better than usual and was in a perfect position two out, at which point the frontrunners, some of whom would not be winning any speedster contests, simply ran away from him, before he plugged on again at the end. I appreciate that he finished fast in last year's Gold Cup, but he was picking up the pieces and never in with a winning shout.
Of all the principals, I'd have him down as the least likely to win. it would rather devalue the renewal should he do so.
Report lucky22 January 26, 2018 10:52 AM GMT
Cyclops, I understand the points with regards to his jumping and his effort, which is why my main objective of the post was to highlight how highly I rate MB for this race and will be punting him.

With regards to MR, given the likely pace, I expect him to be staying on when those that are up with (or try to stay close to) the pace will have cried enough. He is a galloper, yes a lazy one, and he has won over 4m but with the speed at which MB travels it will be a well run race. He is a long shot and I am thinking of it as an ew bet rather than one to actually beat Might Bite, at least you know he will stay every yard.
Report impossible123 January 26, 2018 12:00 PM GMT
Minella Rocco reminds me of Don Poli. Was Don Poli not found out when he tried to go the pace with Smad Place, Djakadam and Don Cossack earlier on in the Cheltenham and Irish Gold Cup and the Lexus? I'd like to see him in the Grand National carrying about 11st then he'd be a serious contender.
Report buddeliea January 26, 2018 12:16 PM GMT
Cyclops
A good run race where you have horses paying the price for taking on Might Bite,which is what I think will happen,will give a horse coming from off the pace a fair chance of being there at the finish when others have cried enough.
And given Might Bite is not a definite stayer,that horse could win the race.
Of course he has to jump well enough,like he did last year will do,and previously at the festival as well.
He was 2nd last year,is this years race much better? Might Bite this year, ok fair enough,and i think he will win, but any chink in his staying power and Rocco is the sort of horse that can take advantage.
Report cyclops January 26, 2018 1:10 PM GMT
Well, we will have to disagree, while respecting your opinions.
As I mentioned at the top of the thread, yes, an outsider could well win. However, I think the ability to hold your place is crucial in a Gold Cup and I can't remember any horse being outpaced and staying on to win, although quite a few have been placed that way.
It would also be remarkable if a horse who can't find a way to win does so in the Gold Cup. Has that ever happened?
Good luck if you support him but, as they say on Dragon's Den, I won't be investing.
Report Desmond Orchard January 26, 2018 1:15 PM GMT
Jonjo gets em ready for the festival. Added to which the festival is very much a case of 'horses for courses', it's a unique experience. MR has done it twice before and I'd expect him to be thereabouts for a place, no doubt.
Empire of Dirt is a huge price for a reason, he's an 11 yo and the greatest horses of our generation couldn't win the race at that age (or even a year younger). I doubt he'll be bucking that trend. But at the price, it's cheap to find out I suppose.
Report FOYLESWAR January 26, 2018 1:15 PM GMT
think mite bite will win but as said we cannot be sure he stays the full gold cup trip ,dont think it will be a problem but no harm having one that will stay ,very similar to synchronised who was a dodgy jumper and regarded as a bit of  plodder (didnt he win the midlands grand national uttoxeter  the season before he won the gold cup ?) my memorys not what it was so correct me if wrong .minella rocco and aniblae fly are my 2 other bets in the race just in case mitey bitey dont stay !
Report shockster January 26, 2018 1:32 PM GMT
Our Duke can probably be forgiven his comeback run and has now had an operation on his back.  On last years form and especially his Irish Grand National win a case can certainly be made for him.  However, I think NRNB or Hills concession at 11/1 would be a good choice as a lot will depend on next weeks Irish Gold Cup.  I'd also have given a sniff to Disko, but looks unlikely to make it. Road To Respect is progressive and Might Bite is the one to beat IMO.
Report buddeliea January 26, 2018 1:43 PM GMT
Absolutely agree re Our Duke.
Massive player if over his problems.
Looks tailor made for the Gold Cup imo.
Report cyclops January 26, 2018 2:46 PM GMT
Not sure his jumping would stand up to fast run race, or whether he would have the pace either (ditto my comments on Minella).

In hindsight, his Irish National was not much of a race. All to prove imo and short enough to do so.
Report FOYLESWAR January 26, 2018 3:02 PM GMT
back problems can be a big negative ,more of that never the same horse after suffering back probs !no expert just sayin !
Report shockster January 26, 2018 3:15 PM GMT
Agree Fouled and that's why it's got to be nrnb. I thought his jumping was fine last season, so that wouldn't worry me if he is sound
Report shockster January 26, 2018 3:16 PM GMT
"Foyles" ffs predictive.
Report duffy January 26, 2018 6:00 PM GMT
I like Rocco at a big price too, he has that quirkiness about him too but we get the impression there is more to come from him if they can just find that missing ingredient to get it all to click, encouragingly Jonjo is apparently very bullish about his prospects!!

MB definitely has an issue around Cheltenham and the RSA was not an isolated case

http://www.skysports.com/racing/results/video/666383/cheltenham/15-04-2015/citipost-novices-hurdle?token=50302826-f1fa-447e-9881-9eb44267555b
Report duffy January 26, 2018 6:05 PM GMT
Every race he has run at Cheltenham he sticks his head in the air up the straight, that would worry me if I was a supporter.
Report maelduin January 26, 2018 6:38 PM GMT
Hoping Anibale Fly turns into a GC prospect. Traveled and jumped great in the PP Chase and was going away at the finish so looks a real stayer. Still a bit inexperienced but if he puts in a solid performance next weekend i think he'd have a decent e/w chance. If not then i'll be all over MR to pick up the pieces yet again.

MB scares me after the RSA last year. He got away with it cause he had a bit left in the tank but if he did it again in the GC probably a different outcome.
Report wellchief January 26, 2018 7:47 PM GMT
Very surprised at the lack of support for Road to Respect who has gone from a boy to a man in the last 12 months.  Very progressive, festival winner, with the talked and talked about again, Yorkhill, behind last year.

We know he handles the track and if we get better ground, all the better because he has a good cruising speed (he's got a Sir Des Champs feel about him).

I get the respect Might Bite has - lets see how well Tea For Two does tomorrow at Cheltenham for the KG form.  I personally couldn't back him for this at 7/2 - 4/1. 'Opposing the favourite is down to gut feeling' may be true, but sometimes that's part of the skill, otherwise the favourite will always win?

Sizing John definitely deserves another chance - cannot be written off after one run after all he has achieved.  Same goes for Whisper too in my opinion - has a mixed Festival record; one win and a narrow defeat, but also two sizeable defeats.  He put up a fantastic weight carrying performance in the Hennessey, and again, is a player in this on a track he knows well.

I can see those three definitely put it up to Might Bite - this is by no means a one horse race - one of the most intriguing of the festival.  I would give Disko a shout too, but I think he'll be Ryanair bound.
Report wellchief January 26, 2018 7:47 PM GMT
Very surprised at the lack of support for Road to Respect who has gone from a boy to a man in the last 12 months.  Very progressive, festival winner, with the talked and talked about again, Yorkhill, behind last year.

We know he handles the track and if we get better ground, all the better because he has a good cruising speed (he's got a Sir Des Champs feel about him).

I get the respect Might Bite has - lets see how well Tea For Two does tomorrow at Cheltenham for the KG form.  I personally couldn't back him for this at 7/2 - 4/1. 'Opposing the favourite is down to gut feeling' may be true, but sometimes that's part of the skill, otherwise the favourite will always win?

Sizing John definitely deserves another chance - cannot be written off after one run after all he has achieved.  Same goes for Whisper too in my opinion - has a mixed Festival record; one win and a narrow defeat, but also two sizeable defeats.  He put up a fantastic weight carrying performance in the Hennessey, and again, is a player in this on a track he knows well.

I can see those three definitely put it up to Might Bite - this is by no means a one horse race - one of the most intriguing of the festival.  I would give Disko a shout too, but I think he'll be Ryanair bound.
Report the bloob January 26, 2018 10:54 PM GMT
I think the extra 2 furlongs compared to the RSA and KG will not help Might Bite, I can see him going out up front and getting caught late on. I still agree that 4/1 is tempting though, got to be a fair price for him hanging on at the end
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