Only five horses have won the Paddy Power Gold Cup twice since its inception in 1960 but Johns Spirit could become the sixth in the 2014 renewal of the Grade Three handicap chase, for which 45 were unveiled last week.
Run over an extended two and a half miles, the £160,000 Paddy Power Gold Cup takes place at Cheltenham on Saturday, November 15th, day two of The Open.
Johns Spirit (12/1 with Paddy Power) prevailed by three quarters of a length from Colour Squadron (Philip Hobbs, 12/1) in 2013 and won the two and a half-mile Marie Curie Handicap Chase for the second year running at The Showcase on October 18th, scoring by a length from Persian Snow (Philip Hobbs, 16/1).
Jonjo O’Neill, trainer of Johns Spirit, could also be represented by last season’s Grade One JLT Novices’ Chase hero Taquin Du Seuil (12/1) plus the J P McManus-owned pair of Eastlake (25/1), successful over an extended two miles at Cheltenham last season, and Festive Affair (33/1).
Three-time champion Jump trainer Nicky Henderson is responsible for five entries including Paddy Power’s current 7/1 joint-favourite Oscar Whisky. The nine-year-old is a six-time winner at Cheltenham, including when getting the better of Taquin Du Seuil in the Grade Two Cheltenham Pony Club Raceday Novices’ Chase on New Year’s Day, 2014. Completing the Seven Barrows quintet are Rajdhani Express, fifth last season, Hunt Ball, Bear’s Affair and Ericht.
The best-supported horse so far with Paddy Power in the ante-post market has been Present View (Jamie Snowden), the other 7/1 joint-favourite. The six-year-old has already scooped a big prize at the Home of Jump Racing when successful in the Listed Rewards4Racing Novices’ Handicap Chase at The Festival last season.
Its been a very sad week for us in the press room with a good friend of our’s Alec Baker dieing at the age of 64, for the past 13 years Alec had been a starting price validator for the Press Association and a good pal to stay away with when racing RIP Alec.
Down Time looked the winner turning for home at Down Royal last Friday in the 2m6f handicap hurdle and was trading on betfair at 1/5 jumping the second last only to come under pressure between the last two dropping back to third in the end to keep the place money safe for us, still a great run one to keep a close eye on for the future over a trip of 2m4f.
Diamond Dave (7/1) stayed on well to land a gamble for us on at Clonmel last week, Shark Hanlon has entered her to run again this week at Thurles I’ll keep you up-dated.
Hurricane Fly has been backed this week (10/11 from evens) for the Morgiana Hurdle at Punchestown later this month.
Back next Thursday.
Yours in sport