The Paddy Power Gold Cup is a prestigious handicap run at Cheltenham and is the showpiece of the November meeting. It is run over two-and-a-half miles on an undulating and galloping left hand track with a stiff uphill finish. It takes an emphasis on speed, accuracy and of course jumping in order to win it and second season chasers have a great record in the race. Only two five-year-olds have won the race as novices since 1960 when the race had its inaugral running.
Mister Fisher hasn’t been seen on the track since April where he chased home Saint Calvados in the Oaskey Chase. The eight-year-old has always been held in high regard and proved his worth at a top level when landing the Silviniaco Conti Chase at Kempton back in January. He is twice a course winner here at Cheltenham and handles this trip well. He has always tended to need his first run back and shouldering twelve stone around here is far from ideal. He will improve for the outing but it is best to look elsewhere for the winner today.
Editeur Du Gite
Editor Du Gite is a likeable sort and there was absolutely nothing wrong with his seasonal reappearance when third to Dads Lad at this track just a couple of weeks ago. He has been tried at trips as far as this on multiple occasions in the past without success. If the race was over two miles he would command a lot more respect especially as he is trained by Gary Moore. The heart says he will run well to a point before tiring. This just isn’t his trip and he will do well to make the frame.
Simply The Betts
Simply The Betts has gone well fresh in the past and has a good record at Cheltenham. He was last seen separating Coole Cody and Stolen Silver here in the Silver Trophy Handicap Chase back in April. Two-and-a-half miles on soft ground is exactly what he wants and needs. He is owned and ridden by David Maxwell who is able to claim three pounds here and the pair have to be respected despite trying to win off a career-high mark. Still only a nine-year-old and he should have more to offer.
Coole Cody is a four-time course winner and the most recent of those successes came over the course and distance in a Grade 3 handicap at the Festival back in March. He dispatched a couple of todays’ rivals in no uncertain terms including Stolen Silver and Slate House. His seasonal reappearance again here over this course and distance should have left him pretty much spot on for todays’ race. He loves to get his toe in so if it comes up soft, his chances increase all the more. Trying to defy a career-high mark, but his affinity with this place should see him go close.
Happygolucky has been off the track for around eighteen months. He was a model of consistency prior to sustaining an injury and even managed to finish first and second here in his last two races at this track. Connections are hoping to get him back on his preferred soft ground to see him right back to his very best. His best form is over three miles so this may well be being used as a prep run back. I can see him running on all to late in the day and may well sneak a place if the ground turns in his favour.
Stolen Silver got the better of the re-opposing Coole Cody and Simply The Betts here back in April when winning the Silver Trophy Handicap Chase. This is his first run back since and having won first time out previously and with his yard in such good form, it would be completely foolish to write him off. He has proven to be a revelation for Sam Thomas since joining his yard from that of Nigel Twiston-Davies and another big run is likely. He is quite lightly raced and with further improvement to come, he has to be considered a threat here.
French Dynamite seems to be going places in a hurry and was last seen winning on his seasonal reappearance for Mouse Morris. The slight step back in trip shouldn’t really bother him now that he is fully race fit. He has proven that he handles an undulating track in the past by coming up trumps at Thurles and has won going this way round too as he previously won at Leopardstown when going left handed. No Irish trained horse has won this since Tranquil Sea back in 2009, but he could well be the type to break the mould.
Midnight River took the step from novice company in his stride as he displayed when running away with a good little race at Stratford a couple of weeks ago for team Skelton. He pulled right away from his rivals to record a twenty-five-length success. If he turns up in the same mood he will take some stopping particularly as he has a good record going left handed and ran well at this track last year. Seven-year-olds have a good record in this race and he is clearly going places.
Umbrigado has a lot of negatives about him as he seems to prefer flatter tracks so question marks have to hang over him. He also stays a lot further than this these days so hard to see him being able to cope with the dramatic step back in trip and now that he is back chasing. He is without a win in this sphere since March 2021 where he got the better of Killer Clown over two-and-a-half miles at Ascot. This is a very different task and he may well struggle.
Nassalam is another horse who seems to prefer tracks that are not as undulating. His successes have come at the likes of Fontwell, Newbury and Ascot, but never at a track like this. The Grade 2 chase that he won was only a four-runner affair where he beat the likes of Tea Clipper and Pic D’Orhy. Needs a career best to get involved here and other look to have far more serious credentials.
GA Law looks a natural chaser and although he has only had a short career he is clearly on an upward curve. There was a lot to like about his seasonal reappearance behind Riders On The Storm at Aintree a couple of weeks ago and he looks sure to build upon that. The only question hanging over him is as to whether he has the ability to win on a left-handed track such as this. He got a bit of practice at Aintree last time and if progressing should be right in the mix.
Il Rodoto looks a little too inexperienced for a race of this nature. The Paul Nicholls trained five-year-old was last seen finishing third of five in a listed novice’ event at Ayr back in April. The Champion trainer won this race with a similar type in Caid Du Berlais back in 2014 but prior to that it was sixteen years earlier when a horse so young landed this race. History is against him and his previous visit here didn’t exactly cover him in glory.
Slate House looked absolutely lifeless on what was his seasonal reappearance at Kempton last month. Despite being sent off at just 4/1 in the market, he was almost statuesque as he tried to give weight away all around and trundled home in his own time for Joe Tizzard and Brendan Powell. Asides from one previous win at this track, his record around here is atrocious. Others are far more reliable.
Storm Control has it all to do to reverse recent form with Midnight River based on their recent meeting at Stratford last month. Kerry Lee’s nine-year-old gelding put together a few good runs last year most notably when landing a Newbury Handicap and then he chased home Windsor Avenue in the Skybet Chase at Doncaster. His last two visits to this track have caused him issues though as he pulled up on both occasions. He needs to come right back to his best in order to figure.
Galahad Quest has made the frame in five out of his eleven career starts over the larger obstacles but has only secured one win. He ran fairly well on his seasonal reappearance at Chepstow last month where he finished runner-up to Flic Ou Voyou. He needs to improve again upon that and is now without a win since his novice days. A return to this track could help as he ran very well here back in January. Not out of it but not jumping with joy over his chances either.
Deyrann De Carjac
Deyrann De Carjac has not won going left-handed since winning a small race at Cartmel back in May 2019. Despite a reasonable enough reappearance at Wetherby a fortnight ago, he looks to have it all to do here in order to get himself involved. He is dropping through the handicap like a stone through water, but you would have to have a lot of faith to see him home in front here.
Paddy Power Gold Cup Tips
With the relatively poor record of Irish raiders in this race French Dynamite looks a bit on the skinny side. For all that the promise that he has shown, you really need a horse with a proven liking for this track and with him there are obvious question marks.
Sam Thomas won a feature handicap last week so he clearly has his yard in fine shape and Stolen Silver looks to have a more solid claim than most whilst GA Law is improving at a rate of knots and commands respect.
It was hard not to be taken with the style and the manner of victory created by Midnight River on his seasonal reappearance at Stratford a couple of weeks ago. He has gone well at this track in the past and appeals as a decent each-way selection.
Midnight River (E/W) 14/1 @ Bet365
Stolen Silver 6/1 @ Bet365