The Paddy Power Gold Cup is the first major handicap chase of the National Hunt season and what a cracking race to try and work out. There are plenty of angles that we can come from but following yesterday’s “breath taking” chasing debut win from Champagne West, I think progeny of Westerner is a good angle. Last weekend in Ireland Gilgamboa won on his chasing debut jumping like an old pro and yesterday Champagne West put in a similar round of jumping. Maybe, today it’s the turn of Caid Du Berlais to deliver on ground that Westerner progeny just love.
Caid Du Berlais caught my eye jumping fences in January at Doncaster in a Novices Grade 2 behind Valdez. He was badly outpaced that day which was not a surprise in a very fast run race on a flat track and over the minimum trip. He entered my notebook then as having a big chance in a Cheltenham handicap chase upped in trip. Low and behold Nicholls reverts to hurdles and he runs a cracker to finish third behind Don Poli in the Martin Pipe Handicap Hurdle under a big weight before following that up with a massive run to finish second at the Aintree Festival.
Caid Du Berlais finished the season rated 151 over hurdles and that makes his chasing rating of 143 look “workable” as Paul Nicholls might say. We can ignore his run in the Galway Plate as that race was won from the front and there was plenty of trouble in behind on the tight Galway circuit. Caid du Berlais has placed twice at Cheltenham festivals and today might be the day he gets his head in front.
Sam Twiston-Davies takes the mount and won the last yesterday for Nicholls so we know trainer, jockey and horses are in fine fettle. It’s a brave move running a five year old with just the three chase starts in such a competitive race but Nicholls would not do so unless he believes he has a well handicapped horse on his hands. This afternoon we will find out for sure!
With Bet365, Paddy Power, Betfair Sports book, Sky bet & William Hill all paying out 5 places & just the 18 runners this is a good opportunity to back a second horse. By the way race sponsors Paddy Power will refund your stake on all fallers at Cheltenham today so back with them if you can especially as Caid Du Berlais is so inexperienced. All these little concessions add up and give us the punter that crucial edge in our battle to make betting profits.
Right, back to our second selection Buywise who is a horse with question marks regarding his jumping. If this horse jumps reasonably well then he is the most likely winner and deserves to be favourite. So long as he does not make a massive mistake like back at the festival when really unlucky not to win, I cannot see this horse finishing outside the first three let alone first five.
Buywise has proven track form, won well over hurdles recently, has an engine that looked special considering how he finished so strongly having made a hash of the second last back in March, coming to a near standstill and then powering up the hill to finish better than any other runner in that race, including winner and second favourite today Present View. He will love the soft ground and winning a Paddy Power Gold Cup would be a huge win in the training career of Evan Williams.
Selection A – 1 Point *EW Caid Du Berlais Cheltenham 14:30 14/1 William Hill else 12/1 generally, use bookie paying 5 places
Selection B –1 Point *EW Buywise Cheltenham 14:30 7/1 generally, use bookie paying 5 places
Best of luck,