The Bet365 Gold Cup scheduled for Saturday is the last of the valuable steeplechases to be staged during the national hunt season and the 3 miles 5 furlong distance usually requires a horse needing pace with an abundant supply of stamina to win the race.
Formerly known as the ‘Whitbread’, it is expected that underfoot conditions will generally be good with the odd April shower forecast for the remainder of the week.
Ante-post favourite on most lists is Same Difference who was beaten into second position in this race last season by Quentin Collonges. However, his form this campaign has been rather indifferent and he could only finish fifth in the Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Chase at Cheltenham, a race which the eight year old won last season. The Nigel Twiston-Davies horse can still be backed at 10/1 with Ladbrokes to go one better than last year.
Both Godsmejudge and Roalco de Farges participated in last week’s Scottish Grand National with the former belying his poor seasonal form by finishing a close second to Al Co, whereas the latter pulled up before the final few fences. Asking both horses to feature prominently in this race, so soon after their exploits last weekend, would be a difficult task but 888Sport are offering 14/1 for each horse.
In contrast, BURY PARADE and Ardkilly Witness may be fresher horses. Bury Parade can be an unreliable character but dubious riding tactics may have contributed to his unlucky second in the Betbright Chase at Kempton. He has yet to race beyond three miles but his running that day suggested that a further test of stamina should be with his capabilities. Odds of 14/1 at Boylesports are offered for his chances.
Bury Parade winning at Ascot in January
Grand National winning trainer Dr Richard Newland may saddle Ardkilly Witness who bypassed Cheltenham but landed a minor event at Market Rasen in early April in preparation for this race. Set to carry only 10st 4lb, the eight year old is quoted at 12/1 with Paddy Power.
Jim Culloty, who trained Lord Windermere to win the Cheltenham Gold Cup, may be represented by Spring Heeled. A rather fortunate winner of the Kim Muir at the Cheltenham Festival, when Cause Of Causes sacrificed his chances at the final fence, Spring Heeled has yet to really prove that he is true stayer but can be backed at 16/1 with BetVictor to win this contest.
The Nicky Henderson trained HADRIAN’S APPROACH was a late withdrawal from the Scottish Grand National in the hope that finding better ground at Sandown.
A lighter campaign has been followed this season after decent placed efforts behind
Lord Windermere and Dynaste during a busy novice schedule last year. The effects of those difficult races may have contributed to his fifth position in the 2013 Bet365 chase, and with less weight allocated in the coming renewal, the 20/1 offered by 888Sport represents good each way value.
An outsider with equally valid each way claims is ANY CURRENCY who has been placed in each of the Cheltenham cross country races this season and should have no stamina issues. He is becoming an old stager at eleven years old but prefers good ground and is priced at 25/1 with Skybet.