24 Horses remain in contention for Saturday’s Paddy Power Gold Cup at Cheltenham with Rajdhani Express and Uxizandre the new joint top weights for the extended 2m 4f handicap chase after the defection of Menorah, Double Ross, Wonderful Charm and Taquin Du Seuil at the six-day declaration stage with Present View ( one of our two ante-post selections at 8-1 ) heading the betting at a best price 7-1 with several bookmakers including the sponsor, Bet365 and Coral.
Just touched off in a novice hurdle at Prestbury Park on his reappearance the Jamie Snowden-trained six-year-old sustained a minor injury in the process from which the son of Presenting has fully recovered according to his handler, who explained: ” He struck into his front leg during that race and got a skin cut, but he’s absolutely fine now and the vet is very happy with him. He came out of the race fine and he’s done three bits of work and schooled well and he’s ready to do battle. I’m hoping he can progress further and if he does, the world is his oyster.”
Our second ante-post tip Colour Squadron ( advised at 16-1 and now a standout 14-1 with 888sport ) will attempt to go one better than when beaten three quarters of a length by John Spirit ( a top price 10-1 with 888sport to record back-to-back victories ) 12 months ago after suffering interference at the second last and now 4lb better off with the winner. Buywise, a recent winner over hurdles at Ludlow, finished fifth behind Present View at the Cheltenham Festival back in March and despite being 5lb worse off with that horse is no bigger than 10-1 with Boylesports on this occasion.
Uxizandre, Oscar Whisky, Attaglance and Shanpallas are other that are popular in the early betting exchanges for what is sure to be as competitive a renewal as we always expect for the first major handicap chase of the National Hunt season.