Run on the Old Course at Cheltenham over a distance of 2 miles and 4 furlongs, the Paddy Power Gold Cup is a Grade 3 National Hunt handicap chase open to horses aged four years or older. With fifteen fences to jump and some decent entrants on the card it’s a race to test the nerve and desire of some up and coming jumpers.
Mon Parrain currently heads the betting as the 4/1 favourite (Betfred – £50 Free Bets). The French five-year-old looked impressive when running in second behind Always Waining in the Topham Chase back in April, but a five-year-old hasn’t won this race since 1998, and we fancy some of the more experienced horses here.
Wishfull Thinking, for instance, looks a solid bet at around 7/1 (Boylesports). The eight-year-old has posted fine wins at Aintree and Punchestown earlier in 2011 and has four wins and two seconds from his last six races.
Noble Prince, third favourite at around the 10/1 mark looks a tad on the heavy side, carrying 11st2lb, though Exotic Dancer won at that weight in 2006 with Tony McCoy in the saddle, so it’s not beyond the realms of possibility.
There is plenty of each-way value to be had in this race, with bookies paying out ¼ odds for a top-four finish. We like the look of Tullamore Dew who was fifth in the Silver Trophy Handicap Hurdle at Chepstow in October but had some good places last season and has a favourable weight here. The Irish nine-year-old may not have quite enough to win, but a place is well within reach.
Another option we fancy is the seven-year-old French gelding, Araldur. He ran in second behind Fistral Beach in the bet365 Handicap Chase at Wetherby at the end of October when priced 16/1 and has been first or second in each of his last eight races. Priced around 16/1 (bet365 – £200 free betting) we think Araldur is certainly worth a bet.