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Fiddlerontheroof ready to put Cheltenham Gold Cup claims to the test

Fiddlerontheroof bids for Gold Cup glory

Colin Tizzard won the Cheltenham Gold Cup in 2018 and also went agonisingly close with Cue Card in 2016. He has two entries in this year’s race with Fiddlerontheroof and Lostintranslation. The latter finished a close third in 2020 but Tizzard believes Fiddlerontheroof could prove the pick of his pair next month. He is expected to run at either Ascot or Kempton before a final decision is made. We take a look at the prospects of these two Gold Cup outsiders as the festival approaches.

Consistent Fiddlerontheroof a fine second in Ladbrokes Trophy

Fiddlerontheroof has always had the potential to go right to the top. A bumper winner in Ieland, he joined Tizzard in 2019 and won the Grade 1 Tolworth Novices’ Hurdle at Sandown Park by 6 lengths. He ran poorly when fancied for the Supreme at the Cheltenham Festival and was immediately put away for a chasing career in 2020-21.

The son of Stowaway was consistent as a novice but came up against some very smart prospects. He finished runner-up in five of his first six races over fences, most notably when chasing home Monkfish in the RSA Chase at Cheltenham. Monkfish was being touted as a future Gold Cup winner at the time so it was a great effort to finish just over six lengths behind him.

Fiddlerontheroof began the 2021-22 season with victory at Carlisle, a race notable for the departure of exciting novice Ahoy Senor at the second last. Tizzard’s gelding seemed to have his measure when he unseated Derek Fox. That was the perfect prep for the valuable Ladbrokes Trophy at Newbury in November. Racing off a mark of 150, Fiddlerontheroof was beaten only half a length by Cloudy Glen. He may even have won but for having to side-step the fallen Remastered at the fourth last.

Lostintranslation has Ryanair Chase as Cheltenham alternative

Tizzard believes Fiddlerontheroof could be attractively weighted in the Aintree Grand National with a rating of 157. His Newbury form suggests he may still be a few pounds below Gold Cup class but he could book his place at Cheltenham in the coming weeks. He is entered in the Ascot Chase on 19th February and the Coral Trophy Handicap Chase at Kempton on 26th.

Stable companion Lostintranslation went very close in the 2020 Cheltenham Gold Cup, beaten only a length and a half in third behind Al Boum Photo. He had won the Betfair Chase at Haydock earlier in the season but pulled up in the King George. The Kempton race has proved something of a nightmare for the gelding, pulling up again in December 2020 and finishing a remote fifth this season.

He did spark hopes of a revival when winning by four lengths at Ascot in November over two miles and five furlongs. The Ryanair could prove a viable alternative for the ten-year-old. He is also entered for the Ascot Chase over the same trip later this month. It would be no surprise to see him take up the Ascot engagement with Fiddlerontheroof waiting for Kempton the following weekend. The way he finished at Newbury suggests the longer trip at Kempton would suit him better. The Tizzards may not have the fire power of previous years when they had Cue Card, Thistlecrack and Native River, but they are still a force to be reckoned with.