My first Saturday writing for the Race Advisor team and I have been given a real teaser as my opening gambit the Bet 365 Gold Cup over nearly three and three quarter miles of the tough but fair Sandown course.
You need to get every yard of this trip as having been to the Esher venue on many occasions I know that the stiff uphill finish can reduce a horse to a walk especially if the ground comes up on the soft side. Thankfully the ground will not be that desperate today and we should have near perfect racing conditions for this high quality chase in which a number of today’s runners can be given some kind of a chance!
Two of my fancies from the National are in the field today, firstly Rocky Creek who has a bit of an attitude and who clearly didn’t put his best foot forward in the Aintree marathon but who I feel possesses a little bit of class, is relatively lightly raced and could find a little bit more improvement over this type of trip.
Unioniste my other fancy was one that I noted to keep on the right side of when tried over longer distances after his staying on third behind Gold Cup winner Coneygree in the Denman Chase at Newbury. He fell early doors in the National so who knows what might have been with a clear round, however this Paul Nicholls trained grey is usually a sound jumper and would have been the selection if the ground had come up on the soft side and I could be sure that his Aintree fall had not dented is confidence in any way.
A mention for former Gold Cup winner Bobs Worth who has been dropped by the handicapper to a real tempting mark, in his pomp he would have picked up and carried this lot but sadly he isn’t the same horse that he was and has shown nothing to write home about this season so for that reason alone I couldn’t back him, however it would be no surprise to see him be there or thereabouts.
So who is going to be carrying my money?
Well after running my ratings last night the clear top rated is the probable favourite Le Reve who has been running with such consistency. He loves the course having won here twice already this season and his trainer has said that she has basically laid the horse out for this race which instils confidence further.
As a seven year old I think that there is more improvement to come, add to this that the underrated Leighton Aspell is on board today increases the positivity.
At around the 9/1 mark Le Reve is not the best value in the race (I will come to that in a moment) but is slightly better than my own market price of 8/1 and I therefore suggest an each way bet with Hills who are offering 9/1 best odds guaranteed as I write this as the order of the day.
For me the best value in the race based upon my own ratings and market is Roalco De Farges who I make to be a 12/1 shot not the 20/1 which is readily available and in my book has been priced up too generously!
Second in this race in 2012 Roalco De Farges ran his best race for a while last time out and remains on a workable mark and with Phillip Hobbs string in such fine form despite regular partner Richard Johnson jumping ship to Duke of Lucca I fancy this one to run a big race at a price.
Finally I would like to say a big thank you and wish Tony McCoy a very happy retirement, the greatest jockey ever? No doubt in my mind his record speaks for itself! I will never forget the ride that he gave Wichita Lineman at the Cheltenham festival not only because I had a fair bet on it but to this day I still don’t know how he got the horse up to win the race?
There will never be another Tony McCoy in my life time and he will be greatly missed.
Le Reve 1 point each way @ 9/1 Hills
Roalco De Farges 1 point each way @ 20/1 generally available