Twenty-two horses stood their ground yesterday at the five-day stage for Saturday’s BetVictor Gold Cup the highlight of Cheltenham’s three-day November meeting. Kylemore Lough is BetVictor’s 7/1 favourite although it should be noted that top-weight Top Gamble from the Kerry Lee yard is not a confirmed runner with Sunday’s Schloer Chase at the minimum trip also under consideration.
If Top Gamble bypasses the BetVictor Gold Cup, the weights will rise 5lbs and Kylemore Lough will carry 11st 12lbs – the money over the weekend has come for Irish raider Tully East who is 8s from 10s.
Cause Toujours (1.10) travelled like a decent horse when fourth at Uttoxeter on his hurdles debut and is taken to recoup losses at Huntingdon having been sent off a well-backed favourite. The selection went off market leader for the Festival Bumper back in March but faded into ninth behind the ill-fated Fayonagh.
Call Me Lord (2.10) made a winning British debut at Sandown for Nicky Henderson from an 8lbs lower mark and he is taken to follow up in the valuable Handicap Hurdle. The selection has the scope to jump a fence but this doesn’t look the strongest of races for the grade and Henderson has his string in cracking form.
Cheltenam De Vaige (3.10) was raised 4lbs for finishing runner-up at Plumpton having his first start for Fergal O’Brien over the minimum trip and today’s extra half-mile will suit this lightly-raced maiden. Xhale is having his first start for Ian Williams and a market move would be worth noting for the five-year-old who ran well at Wetherby for Caroline Bailey back in February.
Perfect Timing is likely to be all the rage for Neil Mulholland and Noel Fehily at Worcester as he chases a four-timer but I thought Song Saa (1.30) would come on for her seasonal reappearance and she gets a narrow vote for Tom George. The selection pulled hard on her reappearance but she travelled and jumped well over today’s C&D and is entitled to come on for the run. Red Hanrahan is another to consider in a good little race.
Arthur’s Gift (2.30) has been raised 6lbs for finishing runner-up over C&D last time but talented conditional Tom Humphries takes off a valuable 7lbs and he can go one better for Nigel Twiston-Davies.
Kim Bailey’s Blazon (3.00) is fitted with cheek-pieces for the first time and looks potentially well treated for his handicap debut. The selection finished second at Stratford last time over timber and he would have every chance off this mark on the best of his bumper form.
Boyhood (3.20) makes his seasonal reappearance for Tom George at Lingfield and the selection might not have got home at Bangor when last seen over three miles. Dropping back in trip, he could still be ahead of the handicapper although he will be going chasing sooner rather than later.