Sunday 18 March 2018

Pinstickers guide to the Gold Cup


Your guide to the horses of the Gold Cup

Leading fancy for the Arkle Trophy 12 months ago but disappointed and it has taken him a while to recover. Made impressive return to form in a Doncaster handicap in December but that is way short of what is required here. 4

Admirable performer who wears his heart on his sleeve, but really needed to win the Argento Chase here in January to be given any realistic chance. Deserves his place in the field but difficult to see him getting involved unless it turns up a bog. 5

Showed little on his first few starts since moving from Paul Nicholls but ran an astonishing race to finish fifth in last year's Grand National with a fractured skull. Still no chance in this, though. 1

Showed his class when annihilating his RSA Chase rivals 12 months ago and although he disappointed in the Lexus, his staying-on second in the Irish Hennessy was much more like it. Improvement needed to challenge the big two, but huge prospects of grabbing a place. 9

Another brilliant weight-carrying performance in the Hennessy Gold Cup suggested he was back to his best, but he was a tired horse when falling in the Aon last time. Not the ideal preparation for Cheltenham, but he should not be written off. 8

Bare form indicates he has a chance, having been beaten just a nose by Kauto Star in the Betfair Chase, but he was miles behind in the King George. He should get closer on a track that suits but hard to see him troubling a fully fit champion. 7

Already a dual winner of steeplechasing's blue riband and looked better than ever when winning a remarkable fourth King George. He comes here fresh, which seems to suit nowadays, and with a clear round he should complete the hat-trick. 10

Last year's Grand National winner has run well a couple of times this season but will be way out of his depth here unless we get monsoon conditions. 2

Looked a leading Aintree contender a couple of years ago but his form tailed off and is likely to be fighting it out for last place if he completes. 1

Fine third in last year's National and a return to Aintree is likely to be high on his agenda. Was fifth in this 12 months ago and connections will be thrilled if he runs a similar race. 5

Made the most of Denman's disappointing display to win the Aon Chase and clearly has a degree of class. Could run into the money but would be a big surprise if he were to come home in front. 6

It would be very dangerous to dismiss Denman as Paul Nicholls should have him back to his best -- but that still may not be good enough. KAUTO STAR really has looked better than ever this season and Nicholls has clearly learned not to over-race his French import.

It is going to take a below-par performance from the champion for anything else to win, but Cooldine could be the one to chase him home.


1. Kauto Star

2. Cooldine

3. Denman

4. Tricky Trickster

Irish Independent

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