The Paddy Power Gold Cup, run over an extended 2 miles 4 furlongs on the Old Course at Cheltenham, is the first high-profile handicap chase of the jumps season and, as usual, is fiercely competitive (2.25pm on CH4 TV).
Sound Investment (16/1) heads the weights for this 22-strong field after recording a career-best effort in the Old Roan Chase at Aintree last month and, although another 4lb higher in the weights, could make a bold bid despite being lumbered with 11st 12lb. Paul Nicholls’ (pictured) seven-year-old has made steady progress over the last couple of seasons, seems versatile with regard to underfoot conditions and is chasing a hat-trick over fences, so is definitely one to keep on the right side.
Last year’s fifth, Buywise (16/1) finished third beaten 3¾ lengths in the Old Roan Chase on his first start since April so on 3lb better terms must have every chance of reversing the form with Sound Investment. He is closely handicapped with Darna (25/1) and Monetaire (12/1) on their running in the Brown Advisory & Merriebelle Stable Plate at the Cheltenham Festival but, unlike his old rivals, has the benefit of a recent run.
Johns Spirit (12/1), who had last year’s Paddy Power Gold Cup whisked away from him in the final stride by Caid Du Berlais, was pulled up in the Old Roan Chase after being badly hampered, but is feasibly weighted to make amends. Jonjo O’Neill’s eight-year-old ran respectably in Grade 1 company on three subsequent starts last season and is just 1lb higher in the weights this time around, so warrants close attention on a course where he has already won three times.
The favourite Kings Palace (7/1) won his first three starts over fences at or around 3 miles last season before having his limitations exposed when only sixth of eight, beaten 24 lengths, behind Don Poli in the RSA Chase at the Cheltenham Festival. Of course, that is Grade 1 form, but he is still inexperienced over fences and there must be a doubt about him dropping back half a mile in distance after an absence of 248 days. However David Pipe’s yard certainly knows how to ready one first time out and the ante-post support he has received could be significant.
Cheltenham Festival winner Irish Cavalier (10/1) at least demonstrated his well-being when winning a small intermediate chase at Newton Abbott last month, but he is now 19lb higher in the weights than when last winning a handicap and could be vulnerable.
The beautifully bred Oscar Rock (16/1) was always likely to make a better steeplechaser than a hurdler and was quite impressive when winning on his seasonal debut at Market Rasen in September, despite idling after the last. The Oscar gelding has been raised 8lb for that success, but was always going well and essentially won as he pleased, so he looks excellent value for money at the odds on offer.
- With slight question marks over a couple of those at the head of the market, our preview’s Paddy Power Gold Cup Chase betting tips advice is to get stuck into Oscar Rock each-way at a best price of 16/1 with Paddy Power, Coral or William Hill and those bookies are paying 1/4 odds the first five places.