The Betvictor Gold Cup held at Cheltenham racecourse in early November is seen by many as the real start of the national hunt season.
Run since 1960 at Cheltenham over the old course this handicap chase is open to all horses over 4 years old.
Initially and perhaps best known as the Mackeson Gold Cup when it was sponsored by Mackeson, It has also been sponsored by Murphy's, Thomas Pink and Paddy Power up until 2015.
Run over a distance of 2 miles 4 1/2 furlongs this race attracts many high-class horses who run around this distance.
Kylemore Lough Is a good chaser who ran below par last season. Has moved stables since his last run and sometimes a horse shows improvement from any move. He is a past winner of the Ryanair chase at Fairyhouse so has ability. A good chance here off top weight.
Le Prezien from the Paul Nicholls yard is a good consistent sort. Ran well over two miles at this course last month only being narrowly beaten by Foxtail Hill and raised 6lbs for that run. Possibly better suited by 2 miles.
Double Treasure is a young 6-year-old rising star. Going up steadily in the ratings and comes here on the back of 4 wins. This is much tougher but he has been winning the lesser races by good margins and may look overpriced after the race.
Colin Tizzard sends Viconte Du Noyer to the race. A good horse who is a course winner but looks better over further these days.
Days of Heaven improved again last year but his two previous runs at Cheltenham have been poor. Probably better on flat galloping tracks.
A good festival novice chase winner last season Tully East looks progressive. He can run a bit in and out but likes the course and that’s a bonus.
Cheltenham regular Foxtail Hill always runs well here. He had the beating of Le Prezien last month over a shorter trip but 2 miles to 2miles 4+ seems to suit. Stable in cracking form. Sure to run well.
A consistent sort Theinval too often seems to find one or two too good in a race. Despite this not winning he continues to go up in the weights. He has plenty on his plate today.
Romain De Senamhas run well here without winning. He looks good at around this trip and comes in form, off two wins last month. Will be fit enough and could well be good enough here.
Starchitect is a good horse and who has won at around this trip. He is another who like a flat track and therefore this race may not suit.
Ballyalton loves this track and won a novice handicap over course and distance at the festival. Two poor runs this season however. Good weight and might improve again for Cheltenham.
Aqua Dude is a good young horse with plenty of improvement to come. More rain will help as his wins have been on soft.
Bentelimar is well exposed for an 8year old. Mainly runs in Ireland and improvement is needed here. Running first time for new yard today.
Plaisir D’Amour has good form but below this class, however, he is only 5 years old. Has plenty in his favor but has a stiff task first time out.
Guitar Pete put a string of seconds behind him when winning easily at around this trip last time out. Put up 7lbs for that and has been on the go all summer. Plenty of here.
Slash of Ginge has come down in the ratings. Like many from the Twiston-Davies stable he has plenty of runs here and did win a novice hurdle here a few years ago, but perhaps is another who prefers flatter tracks.
Mystifiable has very mixed for but the best is around this trip. He is another with plenty on his plate and would be a surprise winner.
Lake Takapuna has had all previous runs in Ireland. Form looks well below what is required here.
So an interesting race in prospect with a few stand out types. The race often goes to an unexposed horse. Tully East is interesting because of this good course form and the race looks very open. Le Prezien will be looking to reverse the form with Foxtail Hill but the latter gets the nod with course and trainer form being good.
RACE CONDITIONS: - For 4yo+ Minimum weights 10-0 Penalties after November 5th, 2017, a winner of a chase 5lb
|Position||Form / Type||Name||Age||Weight||Trainer||Jockey||Rating|
|1||11/2554- / D / GELDING||Kylemore Lough (GB) T||8||11st 12lbs||Harry Fry||Noel Fehily||154|
|2||1130P-2 / C / GELDING||Le Prezien (FR) T||6||11st 8lbs||Paul Nicholls||Barry Geraghty||150|
|3||051-111 / CD / GELDING||Double Treasure (GB) T||6||11st 8lbs||Jamie Snowden||Gavin Sheehan||150|
|4||10PP2-0 / C / GELDING||Viconte du Noyer (FR) T||8||11st 8lbs||Colin Tizzard||B. J. Cooper||150|
|5||31-1104 / D / GELDING||Days of Heaven (FR) H||7||11st 7lbs||Nicky Henderson||Nico de Boinville||149|
|6||1621P-4 / CD / GELDING||Tully East (IRE)||7||11st 6lbs||Alan Fleming||Denis O'Regan||148|
|7||11F02-1 / CD / GELDING||Foxtail Hill (IRE)||8||11st 5lbs||Nigel Twiston-Davies||Jamie Bargary(3)||147|
|8||32220-4 / D / GELDING||Theinval (FR) p||7||11st 4lbs||Nicky Henderson||Jeremiah McGrath||146|
|9||5052-11 / GELDING||Romain de Senam (FR) H T||5||11st 3lbs||Paul Nicholls||Harry Cobden||145|
|10||31535-1 / GELDING||Starchitect (IRE) B T||6||11st 2lbs||David Pipe||Tom Scudamore||144|
|11||62F15/-6 / CD / GELDING||Ballyalton (IRE) p||10||11st 1lbs||Ian Williams||Tom O'Brien||143|
|12||3F320-1 / D / GELDING||Aqua Dude (IRE)||7||10st 11lbs||Evan Williams||Adam Wedge||139|
|13||F-13U26 / GELDING||Bentelimar (IRE)||8||10st 11lbs||Charlie Longsdon||J. J. Burke||139|
|14||P11315- / CD / MARE||Plaisir d'Amour (FR)||5||10st 10lbs||Venetia Williams||Aidan Coleman||138|
|15||2-02221 / GELDING||Guitar Pete (IRE)||7||10st 6lbs||Nicky Richards||Ryan Day(3)||134|
|16||12500-4 / CD / GELDING||Splash of Ginge (GB)||9||10st 6lbs||Nigel Twiston-Davies||Tom Bellamy||134|
|17||1P/001-4 / D / GELDING||Mystifiable (GB) T||9||10st 2lbs||Fergal O'Brien||Miss L. M. Pinchin(7)||130|
|18||54210-0 / GELDING||Lake Takapuna (IRE)||6||10st 1lbs||J. Culloty||Paddy Brennan||129|
|Number||Form / Type||Name||Age||Weight||Trainer||Jockey||Rating|
|1||12500-4 / CD / GELDING||Splash of Ginge (GB)||9||10st 6lbs||Nigel Twiston-Davies||Tom Bellamy||134|
|2||31535-1 / GELDING||Starchitect (IRE) B T||6||11st 2lbs||David Pipe||Tom Scudamore||144|
|3||1130P-2 / C / GELDING||Le Prezien (FR) T||6||11st 8lbs||Paul Nicholls||Barry Geraghty||150|
|4||62F15/-6 / CD / GELDING||Ballyalton (IRE) p||10||11st 1lbs||Ian Williams||Tom O'Brien||143|
|5||5052-11 / GELDING||Romain de Senam (FR) H T||5||11st 3lbs||Paul Nicholls||Harry Cobden||145|
|6||1621P-4 / CD / GELDING||Tully East (IRE)||7||11st 6lbs||Alan Fleming||Denis O'Regan||148|
|7||051-111 / CD / GELDING||Double Treasure (GB) T||6||11st 8lbs||Jamie Snowden||Gavin Sheehan||150|
|8||11F02-1 / CD / GELDING||Foxtail Hill (IRE)||8||11st 5lbs||Nigel Twiston-Davies||Jamie Bargary(3)||147|
|9||2-02221 / GELDING||Guitar Pete (IRE)||7||10st 6lbs||Nicky Richards||Ryan Day(3)||134|
|10||F-13U26 / GELDING||Bentelimar (IRE)||8||10st 11lbs||Charlie Longsdon||J. J. Burke||139|
|11||10PP2-0 / C / GELDING||Viconte du Noyer (FR) T||8||11st 8lbs||Colin Tizzard||B. J. Cooper||150|
|F||32220-4 / D / GELDING||Theinval (FR) p||7||11st 4lbs||Nicky Henderson||Jeremiah McGrath||146|
|N/R||1P/001-4 / D / GELDING||Mystifiable (GB) T||9||10st 2lbs||Fergal O'Brien||Miss L. M. Pinchin(7)||130|
|P/U||11/2554- / D / GELDING||Kylemore Lough (GB) T||8||11st 12lbs||Harry Fry||Noel Fehily||154|
|P/U||31-1104 / D / GELDING||Days of Heaven (FR) H||7||11st 7lbs||Nicky Henderson||Nico de Boinville||149|
|P/U||3F320-1 / D / GELDING||Aqua Dude (IRE)||7||10st 11lbs||Evan Williams||Adam Wedge||139|
|P/U||P11315- / CD / MARE||Plaisir d'Amour (FR)||5||10st 10lbs||Venetia Williams||Aidan Coleman||138|
|P/U||54210-0 / GELDING||Lake Takapuna (IRE)||6||10st 1lbs||J. Culloty||Paddy Brennan||129|
The main talking point of the day today was the rain. It rained up to the event and the ground was changed during the meeting to Soft Heavy in places.
This did not suit many but the winner Splash of Ginge revealed in the conditions and showed much improved form. He ran a great race and but for a mistake at the 8th fence he looked good throughout. He took up the lead 3 from home and held on well when hard pressed by the second.
David Pipe trained Starchitect also ran well in the ground and but for pecking at the last may just have won as he was closing on the winner and just lost out by a neck.
Le Prezien make mistakes early on in the race but looked better later on, He made great strides in the run in and was catching the leaders if too late and finished 3rd 2 1/2l behind the 2nd.
Ballyalton ran well and jumped well but for a mistake at the 11th fence. Stayed on well for 4th 3 1/2l behind 3rd .
Romain De Senam was held up at the start and make good progress mid race but weakened at the end of the race. Finished 5th 6l behind 4th
Tully East was also in the rear at the start but made good ground but weakened at the end. Finished 6th by a neck.
Double Treasure was in behind but made progress but made a mistake at 11th and slipped back. Finished 7th by 10 lengths
Foxtail Hill was taken to the start early, and jumped off well and lead in early stages. Headed after 3 from home and weakened quickly to finish 8th by 2 lengths
Guitar Pete was badly hampered at the 1st fence and got left behind. Ran on to be 9th by a neck.
Bentelimar ran well until 3 out but weakened quickly and finished 10th by 2 lengths.
Viconte Du Noyer was in behind and made a mistake at the 8th. Always behind finished tailed off Last by 33l.
Theinval fell at the 1st fence.
Days of Heaven was taken to the start early and tracked leaders but weakened quickly 4 out and was pulled up 4 out.
Aqua Dude was in touch early on but weakened quickly and pulled up before 3 from home
Kylemore Lough started favourite and was with leaders. Made mistake at water but kept on until weakened quickly and pulled up 3 from home.
Plaisir D’Amour Chased leaders but fell behind and pulled up before 9th.
Lake Takapuna made mistakes and pulled up before 3 out.
Stewards Report on race.
Permission was given for DAYS OF HEAVEN (FR) to be mounted on the track and go early to post. FOXTAIL HILL (IRE) wore earplugs.
The winner, SPLASH OF GINGE, appeared to show improved form compared with its previous run at Wetherby on 3 November 2017 where the gelding finished fourth of the six runners, beaten 27 lengths on good to soft ground. Nigel Twiston-Davies’s explanation that SPLASH OF GINGE lost its confidence over fences last season and has improved for the softer ground, was noted. The gelding was routine tested.
Following the race Noel Fehilly reported that KYLEMORE LOUGH, which was pulled up, made a bad mistake and was never travelling thereafter. The Veterinary Officer reported that a post-race examination of KYLEMORE LOUGH failed to reveal any abnormalities. Nicky Henderson reported that DAYS OF HEAVEN (FR), which was pulled up, was unsuited by the soft, heavy in places ground and would prefer a sounder surface. Ryan Day reported that GUITAR PETE (IRE), unplaced, was badly hampered by a faller at the first fence. The Veterinary Officer reported that AQUA DUDE (IRE), which was pulled up, was lame left fore and that BALLYALTON (IRE), placed fourth, lost its left fore shoe. She also reported that PLAISIR D’AMOUR (FR), which was pulled up, lost its left hind shoe.