Author: Will Smith
Published: 14:35 12/11/2013
If you have been reading the last few columns I have offered up, then you will know I am keen to back Nadiya De La Vega for the Paddy Power Gold Cup.
It just needed a few signs of confirmation that she was going to be turning up. Well, if Nicky Henderson is to be believed in the ever excellent Racing Post Stable Tours in this morning’s paper, then she will be in the final field.
What’s more, should the weights go up as a result of current top weight Finian’s Rainbow taking up his more likely engagement in Sunday’s Schloer Chase, then AP McCoy would be able to take the ride. That is if Nadiya was his choice above the undoubtedly well-handicapped but opposable Colour Squadron.
The market has seemingly forgotten the incredibly likable mare for a long time, but just recently there are signs that people are starting to cotton on to her chance, and so at 14/1 she should be backed now.
If as one of JP McManus’ possible runners, she gets the treatment on the day in the betting ring, then she could go off half the price – particularly if current favourite Dynaste diverts to the Betfair Chase.
Her chance on form is absolutely rock-solid, and on all three of her seasonal debuts for Nicky Henderson, she has not only won, but won in convincing fashion – including in the 2m 4f handicap at Cheltenham’s 2012 October meeting.
She then went on to run in the next three instalments of the 2m 4f handicap series that runs through Cheltenham’s jumping calendar. She was third in last year’s Paddy Power Gold Cup in heavy ground, and filled the same position in the January race behind Katenko, again in heavy ground.
She handles very soft ground but is undoubtedly a better horse on better ground, which it will be on Saturday.
The obvious danger is Jonjo O’Neill’s October Cheltenham winner John’s Spirit, and I wouldn’t put anyone of having a saver on him.
Nadiya De La Vega is only 3lbs higher than when winning here in October last year, and as the days go by, I am becoming more and more bullish about her chance – 14/1 is a lovely price.
Paddy Power Gold Cup: Nadiya De La Vega (each-way) – 14/1
(Bet365, Skybet, Boylesports, Betfred, 888Sport, William Hill)