We have a mammoth weekend of quality racing in-store, as Cheltenham’s November meeting rolls into town. For the Paddy Power Gold Cup itself, it looks as fiercely competitive as ever, but this year in particular, I think underfoot conditions will have a huge bearing on how this plays out.
The likes of Stolen Silver, Mister Fisher and Ga Law would have solid claims on a sound surface, whereas I do think the Ben Pauling trained Shakem Up’Arry would be a major player off a mark of 134 if the ground got really deep. I will keep my cards close to my chest for now as how the ground will be riding is anyone’s guess, with an unsettled forecast.
As of Monday evening, the ground was officially described as Good to Soft at Prestbury Park, with the rain bouncing off the ceiling of my conservatory (I am 5 mins from the track). However, most forecasts suggest the end of the week will be dry and bright, with temperatures getting as high as 17 degrees - so we are getting into proper Michael Fish territory here. In Friday’s Weekend Watch column, I will try and solve the puzzle!
As for a wager, one horse who I’m not too concerned about, in regards to how the ground will ride is I LIKE TO MOVE IT for Sunday’s Greatwood Hurdle. The Nigel Twiston-Davies trained individual has an excellent record when fresh, has good form on the Old Course (winning twice last season in small fields), and is still unexposed.
He raced too freely in the County Hurdle, where he then fell in a hole on the more stamina-demanding New Course, but this will be more his bag.
He showed that the big-field scenario holds no fears when beaten on the line in last season’s Betfair Hurdle, and I think he will be ready to rumble here. From an each-way perspective, he looks like a big player.
Also on the card on Sunday we have the scintillating prospect of Nube Negra and Edwardstone locking horns in the Shloer Chase and the Supreme Trial could be an absolute belter. There is lots to look forward to - enjoy the fun!
- I Like To Move It, Cheltenham, Greatwood Hurdle, Sunday, 2.55pm, 1pt e/w 8/1 (Betfred)
* Betting odds correct at the time of publication. All odds are subject to changes.