November 18 / 14.20 Cheltenham

14.20

Good To Soft

Paddy Power Gold Cup Handicap Chase (Premier Handicap) (GBB Race)

  • Prize money: £90032
  • 2m 4f 44y
  • Class 1
  • 14 runners
ITV
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Paddy Power Gold Cup Handicap Chase (Premier Handicap) (GBB Race)

Runners: 14 runners

Type: Chase Turf

Surface: Turf

Weather: Light rain

Form: /0111- C

Last run: 248 days

W: 12st 0lb

7 yo Gelding

OR: 162

Form & Verdict
Made all in three Cheltenham races (2m4f/3m, good/soft) switched to fences last term and he's the only horse to have beaten Gerri Colombe, having held on narrowly from that rival in the Grade 1 Brown Advisory when last seen; improving chaser who has earned top weight and commands respect.
Place /
No / Draw
Date / Going /
Distance / Class
Time + Course Horse + Weight
Jockey / Trainer
Verdict Starting price

2nd

5

27th Jan 2024

Good To Soft

3m 1f 56y

Class 1

13:50 Cheltenham

The Real Whacker

11st 7lb

J: Sam Twiston-Davies

T: Patrick Neville

Has a record of 3-4 over fences at Cheltenham, notably a narrow win in last season's Brown Advisory (3m, soft; Grade 1 novice); had an excuse (found to be lame) here on reappearance, then ran respectably in the King George; may well rate higher still and looks interesting back at this venue.

9/2

4th

6

26th Dec 2023

Good

3m 0f 0y

Class 1

14:30 Kempton

The Real Whacker

11st 10lb

J: Sam Twiston-Davies

T: Patrick Neville

All four chase starts have been at Cheltenham; won the first two (3m/2m4f, good/soft) before narrowly making all in the Grade 1 Brown Advisory Novices' Chase (3m, soft) in March; pulled up in the Paddy Power Gold Cup on last month's return but may have needed the run and he's well worth a second look now back up in trip, being the only horse to have beaten leading Gold Cup candidate Gerri Colombe (in the Brown Advisory).

9/1

1

18th Nov 2023

Good To Soft

2m 4f 44y

Class 1

14:20 Cheltenham

The Real Whacker

12st 0lb

J: Sam Twiston-Davies

T: Patrick Neville

Made all in three Cheltenham races (2m4f/3m, good/soft) switched to fences last term and he's the only horse to have beaten Gerri Colombe, having held on narrowly from that rival in the Grade 1 Brown Advisory when last seen; improving chaser who has earned top weight and commands respect.

7/1

OUR TIP

Form: 21115- C BF

Last run: 219 days

W: 11st 7lb

7 yo Gelding

OR: 155

Form & Verdict
Smart front-running novice chaser during a 2022-23 campaign that included two notable wins at Cheltenham (2m4f, soft), beating Notlongtillmay in Festival Grade 1 on second occasion; flopped at Aintree on final outing but that's not the form to judge him on; major contender back here.
Place /
No / Draw
Date / Going /
Distance / Class
Time + Course Horse + Weight
Jockey / Trainer
Verdict Starting price

0

1

1st Jan 2024

Soft

2m 4f 127y

Class 1

14:05 Cheltenham

Stage Star

12st 0lb

J: Harry Cobden

T: Paul Nicholls

disputed lead, raced in second after 2nd, not fluent 11th, mistake 12th, lost position 3 out, pulled up before 2 out

10/11

2

18th Nov 2023

Good To Soft

2m 4f 44y

Class 1

14:20 Cheltenham

Stage Star

11st 7lb

J: Harry Cobden

T: Paul Nicholls

Smart front-running novice chaser during a 2022-23 campaign that included two notable wins at Cheltenham (2m4f, soft), beating Notlongtillmay in Festival Grade 1 on second occasion; flopped at Aintree on final outing but that's not the form to judge him on; major contender back here.

11/2

5th

3

13th Apr 2023

Good To Soft

2m 3f 200y

Class 1

13:45 Aintree

Stage Star

11st 7lb

J: Harry Cobden

T: Paul Nicholls

led

6/4

Form: 21225- D

Last run: 218 days

W: 11st 5lb

8 yo Gelding

OR: 153

Form & Verdict
Came up short in Aintree Grade 1 in April; strong record in handicaps otherwise last term, winning at Chepstow once and finishing second at Cheltenham three times, most recently in the Plate (2m4f, soft); addition of cheekpieces may eke out further improvement from him; solid chance.
Place /
No / Draw
Date / Going /
Distance / Class
Time + Course Horse + Weight
Jockey / Trainer
Verdict Starting price

3

27th Jan 2024

Good To Soft

2m 0f 62y

Class 1

14:25 Cheltenham

Fugitif

11st 10lb

J: Gavin Sheehan

T: Richard Hobson

Has a consistent record in handicaps at Cheltenham, mainly over 2m4f; the cards dropped perfectly in the December Gold Cup (soft) most recently, coming off a good pace to nose ahead in the final strides; has plenty of ability but doesn't appear to be crying out for the return to 2m, and this race isn't sure to pan out so favourably.

14/1

1st

2

16th Dec 2023

Soft

2m 4f 127y

Class 1

13:50 Cheltenham

Fugitif

11st 3lb

J: Gavin Sheehan

T: Richard Hobson

Second in three Cheltenham handicaps last term, including major C&D races in January and March; his mark has crept up as a consequence but he ran creditably when fourth in the Paddy Power here last month considering he appeared to overrace (then weakened late on having challenged strongly) in the first-time cheekpieces, which are now discarded; major player.

15/2

3

18th Nov 2023

Good To Soft

2m 4f 44y

Class 1

14:20 Cheltenham

Fugitif

11st 5lb

J: Gavin Sheehan

T: Richard Hobson

Came up short in Aintree Grade 1 in April; strong record in handicaps otherwise last term, winning at Chepstow once and finishing second at Cheltenham three times, most recently in the Plate (2m4f, soft); addition of cheekpieces may eke out further improvement from him; solid chance.

9/1

Form: 456-24 D

Last run: 59 days

W: 11st 5lb

8 yo Gelding

OR: 153

Form & Verdict
In good form in major handicaps at Galway (2m6f) and Listowel (3m) the last twice; could go well again but doesn't look the likely winner, being more exposed than many of these rivals; his progress stopped a while ago.
Place /
No / Draw
Date / Going /
Distance / Class
Time + Course Horse + Weight
Jockey / Trainer
Verdict Starting price

4

18th Nov 2023

Good To Soft

2m 4f 44y

Class 1

14:20 Cheltenham

Authorized Art

11st 5lb

J: Danny Mullins

T: W P Mullins

In good form in major handicaps at Galway (2m6f) and Listowel (3m) the last twice; could go well again but doesn't look the likely winner, being more exposed than many of these rivals; his progress stopped a while ago.

20/1

4th

2

20th Sep 2023

Good

3m 0f 0y

16:25 Listowel

Authorized Art

11st 8lb

J: Paul Townend

T: W P Mullins

Won three in a row as a novice in the first half of last season, including 9l defeat of Ash Tree Meadow in Grade 3 event at Tipperary; struggled when raised in class later on; comprehensively reversed Punchestown festival form with disappointing stablemate Kilcruit when second to Ash Tree Meadow in the Galway Plate; leading chance on revised terms.

7/1

2nd

12

2nd Aug 2023

Soft

2m 6f 111y

18:40 Galway

Authorized Art

10st 5lb

J: Danny Mullins

T: W P Mullins

prominent, soon went second

25/1

Form: 1112-4 D

Last run: 21 days

W: 11st 4lb

7 yo Gelding

OR: 152

Form & Verdict
Very progressive last season, winning three novice handicaps then good second to Stage Star in 2m4f Festival Grade 1; posted another sound Cheltenham effort (2m, good) on reappearance, which tees him up nicely for this prize; clear possibilities with the return to 2m4f a likely plus.
Place /
No / Draw
Date / Going /
Distance / Class
Time + Course Horse + Weight
Jockey / Trainer
Verdict Starting price

0

5

13th Jan 2024

Good To Soft

2m 4f 110y

Class 1

14:07 Kempton

Notlongtillmay

11st 2lb

J: David Noonan

T: L J Morgan

Very solid record (form figures 111242) since joining Laura Morgan and switched to fences; good second in major 2m4f handicap at Cheltenham most recently and filled same position in Grade 1 novice there last March; versatile ground-wise; has progressive RPRs and should go well again.

5/1

5

18th Nov 2023

Good To Soft

2m 4f 44y

Class 1

14:20 Cheltenham

Notlongtillmay

11st 4lb

J: Adam Wedge

T: L J Morgan

Very progressive last season, winning three novice handicaps then good second to Stage Star in 2m4f Festival Grade 1; posted another sound Cheltenham effort (2m, good) on reappearance, which tees him up nicely for this prize; clear possibilities with the return to 2m4f a likely plus.

7/1

4th

1

28th Oct 2023

Good To Soft

1m 7f 199y

Class 2

13:15 Cheltenham

Notlongtillmay

12st 0lb

J: Adam Wedge

T: L J Morgan

Has not looked back since joining this progressive yard, winning three Class 3 handicaps (1m7f-2m4f; from soft to good) before excelling himself when second at 40-1 in the 2m4f Grade 1 here in March (soft); raised 10lb but there was no obvious reason to believe that improved effort flattered him; his jumping should be an asset over this sharper test; respected.

9/1

Form: 5F-014 D

Last run: 35 days

W: 11st 0lb

7 yo Gelding

OR: 148

Form & Verdict
Recorded Flat/hurdles wins in the summer; failed to shine in last two chase attempts but may raise his game with tongue-tie now fitted; ran respectably in the Grand Annual here in March and his major Irish trainer had three winners at the Showcase meeting here last month.
Place /
No / Draw
Date / Going /
Distance / Class
Time + Course Horse + Weight
Jockey / Trainer
Verdict Starting price

6

18th Nov 2023

Good To Soft

2m 4f 44y

Class 1

14:20 Cheltenham

Final Orders

11st 0lb

J: Danny Gilligan

T: Gavin Cromwell

Recorded Flat/hurdles wins in the summer; failed to shine in last two chase attempts but may raise his game with tongue-tie now fitted; ran respectably in the Grand Annual here in March and his major Irish trainer had three winners at the Showcase meeting here last month.

20/1

4th

1

14th Oct 2023

Good To Soft

2m 3f 98y

Class 2

15:40 Chepstow

Final Orders

12st 0lb

J: Keith Donoghue

T: Gavin Cromwell

Exploited his much lower hurdle mark with a facile success at Bellewstown in August, having also won on the Flat prior to struggling in the Galway Plate; has made giant strides over fences over the past year or so and was only 14-1 to defy this mark in Aintree's Topham in April; not the biggest but loves his jumping and soft ground holds no fears.

6/1

Form: 2353-1 D

Last run: 35 days

W: 10st 12lb

8 yo Gelding

OR: 146

Form & Verdict
Some useful efforts last season, including in the two Cheltenham races won by Stage Star (he now meets that rival on better terms); opened his chase account in Listed novice event at Chepstow (2m3f, soft) on reappearance and should build on that success; form stacks up well; big player.
Place /
No / Draw
Date / Going /
Distance / Class
Time + Course Horse + Weight
Jockey / Trainer
Verdict Starting price

9th

3

27th Jan 2024

Good To Soft

2m 4f 127y

Class 2

12:40 Cheltenham

Unexpected Party

11st 8lb

J: Fergus Gillard

T: Dan Skelton

Has been chasing since November 2022, sole win coming in 2m3f Listed race (soft) in October this term; often highly tried but he never seriously threatened when third off much the same mark in this race last year, his only previous handicap chase, and he wasn't in peak form last two outings.

14/1

1

27th Dec 2023

Good

2m 0f 0y

Class 1

13:55 Kempton

Unexpected Party

11st 9lb

T: Dan Skelton

Form: 4416P- C

Last run: 218 days

W: 10st 10lb

6 yo Gelding

OR: 144

Form & Verdict
Failed to complete in the Topham at Aintree in April; respectable form in major 2m4f handicaps at Cheltenham otherwise last term, notably winning from Fugitif in January; fourth (off 4lb lower) in this race 12 months ago and Freddie Gingell now takes off a valuable 5lb; should go well again.
Place /
No / Draw
Date / Going /
Distance / Class
Time + Course Horse + Weight
Jockey / Trainer
Verdict Starting price

10th

3

24th Feb 2024

Soft

3m 0f 0y

Class 1

15:37 Kempton

Il Ridoto

11st 9lb

J: Harry Cobden

T: Paul Nicholls

Campaigned mostly in 2m4f handicaps at Cheltenham since the start of last season, proving consistent in the main; goes into unknown territory over this new trip on first visit to Kempton.

8/1

3rd

4

27th Jan 2024

Good To Soft

2m 4f 127y

Class 1

13:15 Cheltenham

Il Ridoto

11st 6lb

J: Harry Cobden

T: Paul Nicholls

pressed leader, prominent 10th

7/2

2nd

5

16th Dec 2023

Soft

2m 4f 127y

Class 1

13:50 Cheltenham

Il Ridoto

10st 9lb

J: Bryony Frost

T: Paul Nicholls

set good pace, went clear before 2 out, 5 lengths ahead approaching last, ridden run-in, faced challenge final 110yds, headed final strides

13/2

Form: 21111- D

Last run: 205 days

W: 10st 10lb

8 yo Gelding

OR: 144

Form & Verdict
One of two progressive contenders for Laura Morgan; 4-4 since switched to chasing, most recently winning by 6l in small field at Perth (2m4f, good to soft) in April; faces a harder task off new mark at this level but could improve further the way he's going; hard to dismiss.
Place /
No / Draw
Date / Going /
Distance / Class
Time + Course Horse + Weight
Jockey / Trainer
Verdict Starting price

8th

3

27th Jan 2024

Good

2m 7f 214y

Class 1

15:15 Doncaster

Whistleinthedark

11st 8lb

J: Kevin Brogan

T: L J Morgan

Hit the ground running over fences last season when winning his first four chase starts (2m2f-2m5f, good/good to soft); made too many mistakes in the Paddy Power Gold Cup (2m4f, soft) but was better here in December (3m) when close up behind three of today's rivals; each-way claims.

20/1

4th

4

16th Dec 2023

Good To Soft

2m 7f 214y

Class 2

15:15 Doncaster

Whistleinthedark

11st 11lb

J: Kevin Brogan

T: L J Morgan

Won last season on his first four chase starts (2m2f-2m5f, good/good to soft); made mistakes when well beaten at 33-1 in the Paddy Power Gold Cup (2m4f, soft) on reappearance but that was a very tough comeback assignment and he retains potential; bred to stay and on the shortlist.

6/1

9

18th Nov 2023

Good To Soft

2m 4f 44y

Class 1

14:20 Cheltenham

Whistleinthedark

10st 10lb

J: Kevin Brogan

T: L J Morgan

One of two progressive contenders for Laura Morgan; 4-4 since switched to chasing, most recently winning by 6l in small field at Perth (2m4f, good to soft) in April; faces a harder task off new mark at this level but could improve further the way he's going; hard to dismiss.

25/1

Form: 1/P2-2 D

Last run: 22 days

W: 10st 10lb

9 yo Gelding

OR: 144

Form & Verdict
Lightly raced 9yo; steadily finding his feet since returning this year from a long absence, runner-up over hurdles here (2m4f, good) most recently; well treated on his useful novice chase wins (including Grade 2) at Ascot in 2019 and looks interesting back in this sphere.
Place /
No / Draw
Date / Going /
Distance / Class
Time + Course Horse + Weight
Jockey / Trainer
Verdict Starting price

5th

5

11th Feb 2024

Heavy

2m 7f 25y

Class 2

15:35 Exeter

Angels Breath

11st 1lb

J: Charlie Deutsch

T: Sam Thomas

Smart in 2019 (acted on heavy going) before a long absence; way below that standard nowadays, nevertheless taking second of 16 in a 2m4f handicap hurdle at Cheltenham in October but he's not quite matched that since in two chases or a handicap hurdle; others preferred.

8/1

4th

3

21st Jan 2024

Good To Soft

2m 7f 0y

Class 2

14:25 Lingfield

Angels Breath

11st 9lb

J: Dylan Johnston

T: Sam Thomas

Back from yet another absence to finish second of 16 in a 2m4f handicap hurdle at Cheltenham in October, since when he's come up short in two handicap chases (2m4f/3m1f); he's not without a squeak on that comeback effort and Dylan Johnston's 7lb claim is something for nothing.

14/1

4th

3

1st Jan 2024

Soft

3m 1f 56y

Class 2

13:30 Cheltenham

Angels Breath

11st 8lb

J: Sam Twiston-Davies

T: Sam Thomas

held up in last, headway 14th, mistake 16th, mistake 3 out

9/2

Form: 1PP11- D

Last run: 222 days

W: 10st 8lb

8 yo Gelding

OR: 142

Form & Verdict
Back in top form to win at Ascot (2m1f, good to soft) and Plumpton (2m3f, soft) in April, taking chase record to 5-10; can't knock that strike-rate but further progress is required, as he faces a stiffer assignment off new mark in this higher grade.
Place /
No / Draw
Date / Going /
Distance / Class
Time + Course Horse + Weight
Jockey / Trainer
Verdict Starting price

1

3rd Mar 2024

Soft

2m 3f 189y

Class 3

15:40 Huntingdon

Black Gerry

12st 0lb

J: Mr Freddie Mitchell

T: Gary Moore

Five-time chase winner, including two quite valuable events last April (2m1f/2m3f); back on a good mark now and will be fine on today's ground but has looked out of sorts this season (three runs) and needs a revival.

12/1

1

9th Feb 2024

Good To Soft

3m 0f 0y

Class 3

15:40 Kempton

Black Gerry

12st 2lb

J: Niall Houlihan

T: Gary Moore

Has a question mark over current form but now drops back in grade off 2lb below last winning mark; however, has something to prove back up in distance, having never won beyond 2m3f.

9/1

Form: /2115- D BF

Last run: 252 days

W: 10st 7lb

8 yo Gelding

OR: 141

Form & Verdict
Record of 2-4 switched to fences last season, the wins gained in emphatic style at Haydock (2m5f, soft) and Newcastle (2m4f, good to soft); disappointing on final start but could well resume his progress, especially with his yard in such great form at present; remains of interest.
Place /
No / Draw
Date / Going /
Distance / Class
Time + Course Horse + Weight
Jockey / Trainer
Verdict Starting price

12th

9

27th Jan 2024

Good To Soft

2m 4f 127y

Class 1

13:15 Cheltenham

Easy As That

10st 9lb

J: Shane Quinlan

T: Venetia Williams

prominent, lost position and midfield after 3rd, dropped to last 10th, mistake 11th, bad mistake 5 out

9/1

6th

8

16th Dec 2023

Soft

3m 2f 0y

Class 1

14:25 Cheltenham

Easy As That

10st 2lb

J: Charlie Deutsch

T: Venetia Williams

Won emphatically at Haydock (2m5f, soft) and Newcastle (2m4f, good to soft) last season and looked ready for a step up in distance when a never-nearer sixth of 14 to Stage Star in the 2m4f Paddy Power here on reappearance; bred to relish today's extra yardage (he's out of a half-sister to the high-class staying jumper Time For Rupert) and looks a fascinating candidate at the bottom of the weights.

9/2

12

18th Nov 2023

Good To Soft

2m 4f 44y

Class 1

14:20 Cheltenham

Easy As That

10st 7lb

J: Charlie Deutsch

T: Venetia Williams

Record of 2-4 switched to fences last season, the wins gained in emphatic style at Haydock (2m5f, soft) and Newcastle (2m4f, good to soft); disappointing on final start but could well resume his progress, especially with his yard in such great form at present; remains of interest.

9/1

Form: 322P1/ C

Last run: 658 days

W: 10st 2lb

9 yo Gelding

OR: 135

Form & Verdict
Absent since his 6l success in similar event here (2m4f, good; off 5lb lower) in January 2022 when opening his chase account at the fifth attempt; likely player if returning in similar form but the market signals should prove the best guide to expectations.
Place /
No / Draw
Date / Going /
Distance / Class
Time + Course Horse + Weight
Jockey / Trainer
Verdict Starting price

6th

10

17th Feb 2024

Good To Soft

2m 7f 180y

Class 1

15:00 Ascot

Torn And Frayed

10st 8lb

J: Sam Twiston-Davies

T: Nigel Twiston-Davies

held up in last

12/1

5th

6

1st Jan 2024

Soft

2m 4f 127y

Class 1

14:05 Cheltenham

Torn And Frayed

10st 2lb

J: Sam Twiston-Davies

T: Nigel Twiston-Davies

raced in last, not fluent 6th, mistake 8th, not fluent 10th, mistake 12th, struggling 4 out, soon weakened

25/1

6th

11

16th Dec 2023

Soft

2m 4f 127y

Class 1

13:50 Cheltenham

Torn And Frayed

10st 2lb

J: Sam Twiston-Davies

T: Nigel Twiston-Davies

Won a hurdle race on soft; scored by 6l in major handicap here (C&D, good) in January 2022 when opening his chase account at the fifth attempt; then not seen until last month's Paddy Power here, where he was 20-1 and chased leaders long way but was held in sixth when falling two out; showed enough to be of interest today but is 3lb out of the handicap.

18/1

Form: 215P2- D BF

Last run: 203 days

W: 10st 2lb

7 yo Gelding

OR: 134

Form & Verdict
Second-season chaser who isn't fully exposed and is quite interesting off a low weight; however, comes with risk having snatched defeat from the jaws of victory at Sandown (2m4f, good to soft) in April on last appearance, idling badly and pulling himself up on the run-in.
Place /
No / Draw
Date / Going /
Distance / Class
Time + Course Horse + Weight
Jockey / Trainer
Verdict Starting price

1st

2

3rd Feb 2024

Good To Soft

1m 7f 99y

Class 2

14:00 Sandown

Harpers Brook

11st 6lb

J: Ben Jones

T: Ben Pauling

raced in second, challenging when hampered by loose horse 3 out, led before 2 out, not fluent and pecked on landing 2 out, joined when left clear last

7/2

2nd

5

23rd Dec 2023

Good To Soft

2m 2f 175y

Class 2

13:50 Ascot

Harpers Brook

10st 13lb

J: Kielan Woods

T: Ben Pauling

Hurdle/chase wins at 2m4f on soft, good and heavy; talented but found himself in front too soon at Sandown in April and all but ground to a halt on the run-in; well back on return to action in a warm Cheltenham handicap but this less demanding company and finish can suit; not ruled out.

11/2

14

18th Nov 2023

Good To Soft

2m 4f 44y

Class 1

14:20 Cheltenham

Harpers Brook

10st 2lb

J: Kielan Woods

T: Ben Pauling

Second-season chaser who isn't fully exposed and is quite interesting off a low weight; however, comes with risk having snatched defeat from the jaws of victory at Sandown (2m4f, good to soft) in April on last appearance, idling badly and pulling himself up on the run-in.

14/1

Selections

RP RATINGS:

Il Ridoto

SPOTLIGHT:

Unexpected Party

POSTDATA:

Notlongtillmay

Telegraph:

Stage Star

WEST COUNTRY:

Harper's Brook

Daily Mail:

Fugitif

D Express:

Angels Breath

Daily Record:

Notlongtillmay

TOPSPEED:

Il Ridoto

The Guardian:

Il Ridoto

Daily Mirror:

Il Ridoto

The Star:

Stage Star

The Times:

Unexpected Party

The Sun:

Unexpected Party