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BJG
27 Nov 13 10:29
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The December Gold Cup
Class 1, Grade 3, £100,000 Total Prize Fund. 2.25pm, Cheltenham, Saturday, December 14, 2013. For 4yo+, 2m 5f. Penalties: after December 1, a winner of a chase 5lb (no penalty to increase a horse's weight above 11st 12lb). Entries closed November 26, entries revealed November 27 (35 entries), weights revealed December 4. Five-day confirmation stage December 9, final 48-hour declaration stage 10am, December 12. Form figures supplied by Weatherbys and are correct up to and including the racing on Monday, November 25.

Form  Horse    Age Owner    Trainer
330-P24 ATTAGLANCE  7 H Young, G Eifert, R Snyder  Malcolm Jefferson
1/0P10-P BALLYNAGOUR (IRE) 7 Allan Stennett    David Pipe
22110-0 CANTLOW (IRE)  8 J P McManus    Paul Webber
2/11151- CAPTAIN CONAN (FR) 6 Triermore Stud   Nicky Henderson
24251-0 CHAMPION COURT (IRE) 8 Mark Boothright   Martin Keighley
2/2425-2 COLOUR SQUADRON (IRE) 7 J P McManus    Philip Hobbs
3P-6132 DOUBLE ROSS (IRE) 7 Options O Syndicate   Nigel Twiston-Davies
214-P0F EASTER METEOR  7 Mr & Mrs S C Willes   Emma Lavelle
6/U-0426 GAUVAIN (GER)  11 The Spoofers    Philip Hobbs
13336P- GHIZAO (GER)  9 The Johnson & Stewart Families Paul Nicholls
1/51211- GRANDIOSO (IRE)  6 Andrea & Graham Wylie  Paul Nicholls
5P513-3 HOME FARM (IRE)  6 Chris Jones    Arthur Moore IRE
6033-11 JOHNS SPIRIT (IRE) 6 Christopher Johnston   Jonjo O'Neill
311PB-1 KAPGA DE CERISY (FR) 5 Andrew Brooks   Venetia Williams
4/F0211- KATENKO (FR)  7 Andrew Brooks   Venetia Williams
5/4520-1 KID CASSIDY (IRE) 7 J P McManus    Nicky Henderson
22102-3 MA FILLEULE (FR)  5 Simon Munir    Nicky Henderson
1//4/563-4 MAIL DE BIEVRE (FR) 8 P E Atkinson    Tom George
P5114-5 MCMURROUGH (IRE) 9 Mrs D W Davenport   Malcolm Jefferson
3/103-04 NATIVE GALLERY (IRE) 8 William Tyrer    Ben De Haan
444-541 NOBLE PRINCE (GER) 9 Des Sharkey    Paul Nolan IRE
5F23-04 PEPITE ROSE (FR)  6 Falcon's Line Ltd   Venetia Williams
F1011-5 RAJDHANI EXPRESS 6 Robert Waley-Cohen   Nicky Henderson
43112-1 ROLLING ACES (IRE) 7 Paul Barber, Ian Fogg & David Martin Paul Nicholls
0112//01/- SALUT FLO (FR)  8 Allan Stennett    David Pipe
614-232 SEW ON TARGET (IRE) 8 A Selway    Colin Tizzard
23100-1 SILVER ROQUE (FR) 7 Lord Vestey    Fergal O'Brien
6P0F-04 SOLIX (FR)   7 Paul Vogt    Ian Williams
1522-20 TAP NIGHT (USA)  6 J P McManus    Lucinda Russell
U/606F0- TATENEN (FR)  9 The Stewart Family   Richard Rowe
3P240-0 THE GIANT BOLSTER 8 Simon Hunt    David Bridgwater
P11-030 THEATRICAL STAR  7 Brocade Racing   Colin Tizzard
P301-13 TRIOLO D'ALENE (FR) 6 Mr & Mrs Sandy Orr   Nicky Henderson
13114-3 UNIONISTE (FR)  5 John Hales    Paul Nicholls
4133-66 WISHFULL THINKING 10 Diana Whateley   Philip Hobbs

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Replies: 137
By:
sintonian
When: 27 Nov 13 11:53
Obvious pick but Colour Squadron for me. Felt he was unlucky last time out and is 2lb better off with John's Spirit. The negative is that he is still a maiden over fences and Sarah Hobbs described him as ''soft'' last time out. Probably needs good ground over fences to help him jump. Guessing AP McCoy will take over, not that Tom O'Brien did anything wrong lto just that AP could not do the weight.

Noble Prince is an interesting entry, would need Good ground also.
By:
deepingfox
When: 27 Nov 13 19:33
Watched PP race back again, and I am really sweet on ATTAGLANCE to break his duck over fences, for Malcolm Jefferson, and be the next "Cape Tribulation" - already a Festival Winner (same time Cape Trib won, in March 12)over the trip in a big handicap and finished best of all in PP race LTO.
By:
brandyontherocks
When: 27 Nov 13 20:33
I'm keen on Ataglance too. Hoping Double Ross runs as think he is well handicapped.
By:
deepingfox
When: 27 Nov 13 20:50
Yep, like the ATTAGLANCE and DOUBLE ROSS form, but since they clashed Double Ross has had 2 more runs, and is entered on Friday, and therefore I prefer the Jefferson/Cheltenham form, the lower profile season so far. and the Paddy Power run.  All I need is Good/Good to Soft ground, and I think 20/1 will look a very big price.
By:
judorick
When: 28 Nov 13 00:48
20/1 Radjhani Express at 365 = massive odds
By:
judorick
When: 28 Nov 13 08:46
John's Spirit going for a unique C&D treble. Jonjo won this race with Legal Right and Exotic Dancer and they both turned out to be about 2 stone well in. I'm not saying John's Spirit is in that calibre but he did win very well in the Paddy Power. Might he really be a Grade 2 chaser masquerading as a handicapper? 8/1 to find out?
By:
knot in wood
When: 30 Nov 13 13:57
attaglance might be a doubtful runner if the ground comes up soft,malcolm jefferson always states the horse needs good or faster to show his best form.
just be careful if you thinking of investing ante post.
By:
SOULDANCER
When: 30 Nov 13 19:04
Raj Express for me too. Impressed with how he travelled and jumped last time. Think he needed that, way he finished.
By:
Can't Catch Me
When: 30 Nov 13 19:37
Was impressed with Cantlow yesterday, think he could be one to follow.

He makes my shortlist at this stage, along with Colour Squadron and Rajdhani Express who should be spot on for this. Will find it hard not to have a few quid on Johns Spirit, but think this is a huge ask for him.
By:
sageform
When: 01 Dec 13 08:57
I backed Attaglance for the PP at long odds and he shortened up a lot on the day. He is still quite inexperienced over fences and has taken longer to get the hang of it than some hurdlers but I thought he ran really well to finish fifth there and he will do for me again.
By:
judorick
When: 01 Dec 13 13:03
just for interest, this was my write up:

Eliminations Using Key Trends

It is essential to have had a run so all seasonal debutants get eliminated. I guess this is because so many of the field will have had a run to bring them to top form so first time out is even more difficult than normal

Horses aged older than 8 have a truly terrible record and they all get the chop immediately

Although it may be tempting to back horses that have run well without winning a chase  that is not a strategy likely to pay long term. In fact, any runner that has not won at least 2 chases got the dismissal. This includes strongly fancied horses Colour Squadron and Attaglance who both ran well in the Paddy Power

Classy horses win this race and ideally you want a Graded chase winner or at least placed. I made the test more generous by making it a requirement to have made the places in a class 1 chase. All that fail this get the elbow at this point. I may later make use of the requirement to have won a class 1 chase if that seems a sensible way to divide qualifiers

At this stage we are now left with these 12 entries:

24251-0 CHAMPION COURT (IRE) 8 Mark Boothright   Martin Keighley
214-P0F EASTER METEOR  7 Mr & Mrs S C Willes   Emma Lavelle
6033-11 JOHNS SPIRIT (IRE) 6 Christopher Johnston   Jonjo O'Neill
5/4520-1 KID CASSIDY (IRE) 7 J P McManus    Nicky Henderson
22102-3 MA FILLEULE (FR)  5 Simon Munir    Nicky Henderson
1//4/563-4 MAIL DE BIEVRE (FR) 8 P E Atkinson    Tom George
5F23-04 PEPITE ROSE (FR)  6 Falcon's Line Ltd   Venetia Williams
F1011-5 RAJDHANI EXPRESS 6 Robert Waley-Cohen   Nicky Henderson
43112-1 ROLLING ACES (IRE) 7 Paul Barber, Ian Fogg & David Martin Paul Nicholls
1522-20 TAP NIGHT (USA)  6 J P McManus    Lucinda Russell
P301-13 TRIOLO D'ALENE (FR) 6 Mr & Mrs Sandy Orr   Nicky Henderson
13114-3 UNIONISTE (FR)  5 John Hales    Paul Nicholls

There are some other strong trends which I will combine with careful value judgements and interpretation.  Firstly, you need to arrive here in decent form, reaching at least a top 5 finish and achieving an RPR of, say, 145 on your final start. I'll widen that to 140 for now and see what happens:

6033-11 JOHNS SPIRIT (IRE) 6 Christopher Johnston   Jonjo O'Neill
5/4520-1 KID CASSIDY (IRE) 7 J P McManus    Nicky Henderson
F1011-5 RAJDHANI EXPRESS 6 Robert Waley-Cohen   Nicky Henderson
43112-1 ROLLING ACES (IRE) 7 Paul Barber, Ian Fogg & David Martin Paul Nicholls
P301-13 TRIOLO D'ALENE (FR) 6 Mr & Mrs Sandy Orr   Nicky Henderson
13114-3 UNIONISTE (FR)  5 John Hales    Paul Nicholls

There you have it. A short list of 6 horses representing just 3 yards and there can be no accident to this. These trainers have the most firepower and the best records in races like this. Nicholls has had a runner placed in 5 of the last 6 renewals and whatever he runs needs careful attention. Henderson has won 3 of the last 10 and his runners need watching. Normally I would dismiss Kid Cassidy for not having won at any trips even close to 2 miles 4 furlongs but he is prominent in the betting, won a class 1 on his last start at Cheltenham and is reported to have benefited from a wind operation. Jonjo does not have a great record in this but it is hard to dismiss a horse that has won nicely twice over C&D.
I do suspect some of these might not run and that will make the betting decisions much easier. However, there are yet more strong traits that can help. Achieving a placing in a Class 1 chase at Cheltenham is a substantial advantage and is a useful way to separate them. Both Triolo D'Alene and Rolling Aces fail this test and I chose to eliminate them at this stage when they are faced with 4 rivals that have all won Class 1 chases at the track

6033-11 JOHNS SPIRIT (IRE) 6 Christopher Johnston   Jonjo O'Neill
5/4520-1 KID CASSIDY (IRE) 7 J P McManus    Nicky Henderson
F1011-5 RAJDHANI EXPRESS 6 Robert Waley-Cohen   Nicky Henderson
13114-3 UNIONISTE (FR)  5 John Hales    Paul Nicholls

5 of the last 10 winners ran in the Paddy Power Gold Cup and all 5 finished in the top 5 places. Although Unioniste managed to win this last year as a 4 year old, no 5 year old has won this since 1966 so I am happy to swerve him this year. Kid Cassidy has not won at the trip and did not run in the Paddy Power, he is also a rather fragile individual that has suffered some bad experiences including being electrocuted at Newbury. He is also running off a mark of 160 and although that is not totally insurmountable it is a stiff mark from which to win a handicap.

Therefore our final short list is:

6033-11 JOHNS SPIRIT (IRE) 6 Christopher Johnston   Jonjo O'Neill
F1011-5 RAJDHANI EXPRESS 6 Robert Waley-Cohen   Nicky Henderson

These two are familiar names to us as we backed John's Spirit when he won on seasonal début and Radjhani Express when he was 5th in the Paddy Power Gold Cup on seasonal début This will be the third time these two have met over C&D in top handicap chases. On the first occasion Radjhani beat John's Spirit 16.5 lengths giving him 2lbs then got beat 8.5 lengths giving him 11 lbs. Clearly, John's Spirit improved significantly since getting beaten the first time. This time Radjhani Express will be 9lbs better off than in the Paddy Power Gold Cup which should bring them closer together

Conclusion

The current best prices for John's Spirit and Radjhani Express are 8/1 and 20/1 respectively and that alone should be enough to make the final betting decision. However, we also know that some Henderson horses have definitely needed their first start of the season quite badly and Radjhani Express may well have been one of those. I do know the horse very well and he travelled and jumped as well as I expected in the Paddy Power. He was well positioned for the final stages of that race but did not produce any kind of finishing effort and there is a good chance he blew up 2 fences from home. I am certainly expecting him to come on for the run and with the 9lb pull to have a very good shot at beating John's Spirit. Plus Nicky Henderson has had 3 winners of this race in the last 10 years. Jonjo won it in 1999 with Legal Right  who turned out to be about 30lbs well in and with Exotic Dancer in 2006. Could John's Spirit be far enough in front to win again? Possibly, so I don't see any problem in having a saver on him just in case he actually has another 10 lbs to come

Bet 365 are best priced 20/1 on Radjhani Express and that is a stand out price. I suggest taking as much as you can get on at that price for now. There may be offers involving 5 places or other stuff as we get nearer to the day. There is no way he can line up at anywhere near that price on the day. The next best are a couple of firms going 16/1 and I suggest topping up there too.

John's Spirit is 8/1 generally so have a half a unit for every unit on Radjhani

Betting Advice

Back RADJHANI EXPRESS Bet365 @ 20/1,  Betfred and Totesport @ 16/1

Back JOHN'S SPIRIT saver bet win only @ 8/1 generally
By:
ReaseHeath
When: 01 Dec 13 13:17
Rajdhani Express also entered in Grand Sefton at Aintree next week, stable also has Roberto Goldback for that but you know what old chemical is like...

just saying...
By:
judorick
When: 01 Dec 13 14:33
nah
By:
shockster
When: 02 Dec 13 11:37
You'll like this from Willie Mullins:

Twitter about to blow up with this quote from Willie Mullins on Marito "He is not going
to be easy to place as he is rated 147 over fences."

Not entered here?????
By:
ReaseHeath
When: 02 Dec 13 12:38
think I was getting Sefton and Becher mixed up, anyway Rajdhani Express taken out of that now so full steam ahead for this presumably.
By:
judorick
When: 02 Dec 13 13:08
yup, all systems go

similar improvement for his first run to that which  Triolo showed would be nice
By:
BJG
When: 02 Dec 13 14:07
Hope so, the only one i love for this too! Nt in Sefton so surely has to rock up here - 20s massive, goes off single figs imo
By:
judorick
When: 02 Dec 13 14:09
already on!!
By:
shockster
When: 02 Dec 13 14:20
Still 20/1 B365 and just had some of that. Weighted to be thereabouts with no improvement. Great price.
By:
duffy
When: 02 Dec 13 14:48
Don't know if he's a real intended runner but I'll be giving ballynagour another chance, I thought he'd just got himself into the pp and then seemed to blow up badly, he went from going well to getting very tired quickly so I'm hoping they got it wrong and he was left short, anyway, worth it at 30+.Just found a piece where pipe stated pre pp that he's gone very easy on the horse in the lead up to that race as they were under the impression that he doesn't take a lot of getting fit, so that may explain the way he went out so quickly.
By:
sintonian
When: 02 Dec 13 15:22
Really can't see why you lot fancy Rajdhani so much. Think he has hit the ceiling of his ability tbh. Could see him making the frame but there must be something better handicapped in here imo.
By:
sintonian
When: 02 Dec 13 15:26
What is the current going? Think it is due to be a dry week mostly so even with modest rainfall the week after it might be just Good to Soft ground..
By:
brandyontherocks
When: 02 Dec 13 15:33
Agree with you Sint regarding Rajdhani. Think he ran well in the PP, but ran to his mark and is where he is.
By:
sintonian
When: 02 Dec 13 15:57
I have just taken some 8/1 Colour Squadron. He is the one horse, imo, who has potential to still have 7lb plus in hand. His OR is only 3lb higher than his hurdles rating, which was achieved over inadequate trips, 2 miles. Over middle distances he is a 150+ horse. He got beat a short-head by Captain Conan after hanging badly in the Tolworth and that horse is now 159 over fences. Ofcourse it was a hurdle race, but like I said, it was an inadequate trip. His novice chase form with the likes of Module who is now rated 157 is strong form. Quantitativeeasing placed 2nd in the PP off 144 then won this 4 weeks later off 145. Colour Squadron can do the same off 146.
By:
judorick
When: 02 Dec 13 16:43
maiden chasers in Graded races at single figure prices not for me
By:
buddeliea
When: 02 Dec 13 17:05
he was rather unlucky in the PP though,and may well not be a maiden had he not lost 6 lengths at the 2nd last.
By:
judorick
When: 02 Dec 13 17:14
but now he's up 7lbs, price reflects his chance and I can find better 7/1 shots than this
By:
buddeliea
When: 02 Dec 13 17:47
fair enough judo, just saying hes unlucky to still be a maiden.
By:
judorick
When: 02 Dec 13 17:56
wish you'd call me Rick
By:
buddeliea
When: 02 Dec 13 18:03
okey doke
By:
judorick
When: 02 Dec 13 18:04
Cool
By:
sintonian
When: 03 Dec 13 07:38
Being a maiden is the only thing against him and it's on paper. In reality terms he has a fantastic chance.
By:
unclepuncle
When: 03 Dec 13 08:44
Really think Johns Spirit and Colour Squadron @ 8/1 look fair enough - 7/2 coupled. Really don't fancy anything else.

I agree with Sint that Rajdhani simply looks to be held by the handicapper off 155 but 20/1 is fair enough so I'll have a little bit e/w with 4 places just in case Judo is right.Wink
By:
festivalfanatic
When: 03 Dec 13 09:23
Having backed RE in the Paddy Power, I'm on a retrieval mission. It may be that the handicapper has grabbed RE but he travelled and jumped like the best horse for much of the race. On a pre Paddy Power thread, I think it was Cant Catch Me was insistent that the horse always needs his first run of the season. If this proves correct - and a few of hendos have run like they needed the race anyway - then I think he will go very close next week.
By:
sintonian
When: 03 Dec 13 11:01
Rick, have you placed any ante-post bets for the festival yet?
By:
judorick
When: 03 Dec 13 11:11
Cue Card of course, took the 25s and 33s, been mopping up all the 8s before Boxing Day

Grandouet, Arkle

TNO Champion straight after Neptune

That's all so far, you?

BTW done Johns Spirit and RE for this race
By:
sintonian
When: 03 Dec 13 16:08
Taquin Du Seiul for the Arkle and Just A Par for the RSA, saver on Wonderful Charm. Also like Many Clouds for it. Think he is far too big at 25s.
By:
judorick
When: 03 Dec 13 16:20
I do like Taquin, will not be playing RSA until after the P.J Moriarty
By:
ReaseHeath
When: 03 Dec 13 21:13
yep, another Taquin admirer here...

Anyway, with regards to this race - I'm struggling to find a contrary view to those already expressed.

Kapga De Cerisy is a progressive 5yo but all his best form is at Sandown and his two efforts on the track do not inspire confidence.

I still think Kid Cassidy may even find some improvement when he steps up in trip and Noble Prince would have a chance if close to his best form (encouraging signs lto).

Don't expect Rolling Aces will run here? He's in at Sandown on Friday.

Weights out tomorrow.
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