George hopeful God's Own can strike Gold for third time
Tom George reports God's Own is as enthusiastic as ever at the age of 11, as he bids to win Exeter's Coral Haldon Gold Cup for the third time.
Only Travado has achieved the feat previously - in consecutive years (1993-'95) - while the two victories by God's Own were wide apart, 2014 and 2018, with a third place in 2015 thrown in for good measure.
"Let's hope he's the same as he was last year," said George, looking forward to his yard favourite's high-profile seasonal return today.
"One thing he's always got is tremendous enthusiasm for the job. His heart's in it - let's hope his body can do what his heart wants him to."
Charbel warms up for his bid to repeat last year's win in next month's Peterborough Chase at Huntingdon - where he got home by eight lengths from God's Own. Trainer Kim Bailey reports his stable stalwart to be refreshed following a wind operation.
"We're very happy with him. He needed his races last year, so this is a start," said Bailey.
"He should go well now he's had his wind fixed - his season is all geared around the Peterborough."
French import Janika had a frustrating first season for Nicky Henderson, running well four times without getting his head in front.
He was placed at both Cheltenham and Aintree in the spring, and connections believe this is a good race for him to start the campaign.
Trainer Paul Nicholls put Dolos away specifically for this contest, after he won at Kempton in May.
Dan Skelton sends Destrier into the fray for what will be only the six-year-old's fourth start over fences.
After winning the first two at Southwell and Ayr, Destrier put up a creditable display on tackling Grade One company when beaten three lengths in third place by Ornua in the Maghull Novices' Chase at Aintree. Kayley Woollacott's Lalor, well behind Destrier in sixth place at Aintree, completes the sextet.
Robbie Power doesn't have a mount in the big race, but jets across the Irish Sea for five rides - all for Colin Tizzard - on a decent midweek card.
The most interesting of the quintet is Padleyourowncanoe which bids to maintain his unbeaten record over the larger obstacles in the three-mile novices' chase. Power guided the six-year-old to a smooth success over course and distance last month and should have an edge in fitness over seasonal debutant Commodore Barry.
Elsewhere, former Cheltenham Gold Cup runner-up Minella Rocco may be sent hunter chasing if he fails to return to form on his next outing.
Trainer Jonjo O'Neill will wait before making a final decision as he's convinced that the JP McManus-owned grey - pulled up at Cheltenham first time out this season - is not past his best.