Top jock and Paddy Power Blog columnist Ruby Walsh – who rode a double on the opening day at Cheltenham yesterday (Dodging Bullets 5/4, Shooters Wood 7/1) – gives Paddy Power punters the lowdown on the Paddy Power Gold Cup and the rest of Saturday’s Cheltenham card.
A good start to the weekend yesterday and Far West has a good chance in the opener for the Paul Nicholls’ stable. It’s a competitive race and mine was quite green at Chepstow and we’re hoping he’ll improve for the run and that he’ll go close.
Sire Collognes jumps well and gallops along. Won well the last day when he beat Sea of Thunder but Charles Byrnes’ runner is 3lbs better off now. But we’re happy with Sire Collognes, we think he’s improved and that he’ll take a lot of beating.
Harry the Viking is fit and well and this 3m 3f trip will take some getting for all the runners in the rain-softened ground. He stays very well and that’s important with a lot of experienced stayers in the race. Was placed in the four-miler at the festival here.
Al Ferof was always going a stride faster than he wanted in the Arkle Chase behind Sprinter Sacre at Cheltenham and was over the top at Aintree so that run can be ignored. We’re hoping that the extra distance will help him and he’s in great form. He’s 11-8 on his back but I think the class horses are going to count and you could easily see Al Ferof, Grands Crus and one or two others lining up in a Grade One race.
I’ve always been impressed with Grands Crus and he looks the one to beat. Hunt Ball did nothing but improve last season and has to have a live chance. Alan King’s Walkon looks well handicapped and carries just 10-6 and Alan King’s horses are in good form . Triolo D’Alene for Barry Geraghty and Nicky Henderson is in with a shout also.
Paddy Power are paying 1/4 the odds the first FIVE places in the Paddy Power Gold Cup.
I’m not sure the six millimetres of rain overnight will help TheMilanHorse’s cause. The trip will suit but his form last year was better on a sounder surface so the rain-softened ground may inconvenience him.
Roger Beantown is progressive but got caught the last time when I dropped him on of a slow pace and he couldn’t quite get up at Chepstow last time. He should improve and although it’s a competitive handicap and even with top-weight we think he has a good shout.