Author: Alan Kelly
Published: 09:29 17/11/2012
Saturday sees the first major handicap of the 2012/2013 national hunt season in Cheltenham's Paddy Power Gold Cup, for which the David Pipe-trained Grands Crus is a best price 5/2 to follow up Great Endeavour's victory in last year's contest.
The mount of Tom Scudamore was one of last season's leading novices and but for a disappointing performance in the RSA Chase at the Festival hardly put a foot wrong, recording three impressive victories including Kempton's Feltham Novices' Chase in which the grey beat two high-class rivals in Silviniaco Conti and Bobs Worth.
Connections are adamant that the 7 year-old did not run his race in the RSA and if that is the case then he is without doubt the one to beat in the race worth over £90k to the winner, but whether the son of Dom Alco represents value at such a short price is open to question.
In the event that Grands Crus fails to produce the goods it could be worth taking a chance with the well handicapped Divers, the mount of last years' winning jockey Timmy Murphy and available at 20/1 with Stan James,William Hill and Coral. Trainer Ferdy Murphy likes nothing better than plundering Cheltenham's big handicaps and Divers was successful for the stable in the 2011 Centenary Novices' Handicap Chase beating one of his Paddy Power rivals, Quantitativeeasing, by just under three lengths in receipt of 7lb. Murphy's grey meets that rival on 10lb better terms on this occasion and can improve on last years' third place in the Paddy Power when racing off a 6lb higher mark.
The 8 year-old finished fourth in this years' Byrne Group Plate at the Festival and is sure to strip much fitter than when unplaced behind Nadiya De La Vega on his first run of the season last month.