The Paddy Power Gold Cup is the first big race of the National Hunt season, with the showcase race taking place at Cheltenham on Saturday in what looks to be a hot renewal.
Many punters like the look of Mon Parrain, who was an impressive winner at Sandown last season before finishing in the Topham Chase at Aintree. The French import is expected to continue his fine form on Saturday, with Paul Nicholls reporting the horse is in good condition.
He told At The Races: “He’s fine, and I was pleased to get a racecourse gallop into him at Exeter last week as he’s been quite slow to come to hand and has had a few minor niggling problems.
“He hasn’t had a breathing operation over the summer but we felt we were running out of time slightly so it was nice to get to Exeter.”
The Paddy Power Gold Cup represents a drop back in trip for a horse accustomed to racing three miles rather than two and a half, although Nicholls still feels the handicap is fine.
“He won really well over three miles at Sandown but he was so well-handicapped that day that he would have won over any trip.
“He’s only five but he looks a stronger horse this year and he still looks fairly handicapped.”