Buywise looks value bet in Paddy Power
Moloney can upset old order to strike Gold for Williams
No handicap defies its hypothetical essence as an equal opportunity contest quite like the Paddy Power Gold Cup.
Every year, the £160,000 Cheltenham handicap somehow wends its way back to high-profile stables that are synonymous with Prestbury Park success.
Of course, the ability of trainers like Paul Nicholls, Jonjo O'Neill, Nigel Twiston-Davies, the Pipe family or Edward O'Grady to produce their horses in peak form for valuable targets in the Cotswolds is what makes them such revered handlers.
Still, even the elite Festival in March produces a greater spread of spoils among the handicaps. The last time that today's feature event went the way of a relatively small stable was 1997, when Senor El Betrutti scored for Susan Nock.
It remains to be seen whether that trend will be bucked here. All the big names have live contenders, with the likes of Kings Palace, Sound Investment, Double Ross, Art Mauresque, Cocktails At Dawn and Johns Spirit all live players.
Rebecca Curtis is a rising star of the training ranks that has a chance with Irish Cavalier, although Paul Townend's mount doesn't appeal as being well handicapped. While Charles Byrnes' Shanpallas has an each-way squeak, he was held in sixth last year off a pound higher rating and that may be his level. Boondooma is a fascinating runner for Dr Richard Newlands, a shrewd operator who masterminded the ultimate fairytale triumph with Pineau De Re in last year's Grand National.
Unexposed over fences, Boondooma was resilient on his reappearance here over two miles last month. He steps up in trip now, and this won't be easy if his usual front-running tactics are adopted. In short, there seems to be an abundance of early pace in the race, which could play into the hands of hold-up horses. With that in mind, it might be worth keeping Buywise on side at 16/1. Trained in Wales by Evan Williams, Buywise won four of his first five chasing starts as a novice. He then made a successful return over flights last term, before running on to be fifth in this off a rating of 146.
That was a decent turn, albeit his chance was hindered a little by his jumping, which is less than fluent at times. His technique can improve, and he fenced well on his Aintree return, when he finished with a characteristic flourish to be third off 147 to Sound Investment, which he is three pounds better off with here.
Buywise's tendency to flash home late can be frustrating, but Williams has placed him carefully over the past 12 months, possibly with an eye on coming back here.
He was third to Darna off 146 at the Festival in March, and he is also three pounds better off with him now. All told, under a manageable 11st 1lb, Buywise has the scope to progress sufficiency to collect at generous odds for Williams and Paul Moloney.
In the novices' chase, Un Temps Pour Tout may take some stopping on his first stab at the bigger obstacles. However, Twelve Roses warrants a speculative foray for the in-form Kim Bailey team. Having run well behind both More Of That and Faugheen as a novice hurdler, Twelve Roses missed last season due to injury.
On his comeback at Wetherby last month, he made a fine fencing bow, beating three subsequent facile winners in Southfield Royale, Kilgefin Star and The Grey Taylor. That form is not to be sniffed at, so, if Twelve Roses can build on it here, he could cause a minor upset under David Bass.