Trainer Nicky Richards is targeting another Cheltenham success with Guitar Pete in the £160,000 G3 BetVictor Gold Cup over two and half miles at Cheltenham on November 17, The November Meeting Saturday.
Guitar Pete, a G1 winner over hurdles for the late Dessie Hughes in 2014, enjoyed the biggest victory of his career over fences at Cheltenham when successful in the 2017 G3 Caspian Caviar Gold Cup over two miles and five furlongs at The International in December.
The eight-year-old grey had previously finished ninth in the 2017 BetVictor Gold Cup, after being badly hampered at the first fence, and returned to Cheltenham later in the season to finish a close sixth in the G3 Brown Advisory & Merriebelle Stable Plate at The Festival™ presented by Magners.
Guitar Pete came home second on his prep race for this year's BetVictor Gold Cup at Wetherby on Friday, November 2, when going down by three and a quarter lengths to Born Survivor (Dan Skelton) in a Listed handicap chase over just shy of two and a half miles.
Richards, who is based at Greystoke in Cumbria, said today: "Guitar Pete is grand after Wetherby and the BetVictor Gold Cup is very much the thinking now.
"I thought he ran great race at Wetherby in the circumstances, as the first thing you have to say about him is that he wants softer ground.
"He goes well at Cheltenham and should be right in the mix for the BetVictor Gold Cup - I would be very hopeful that he will run a good race."
Guitar Pete is a 25/1 chance with BetVictor.
Three horses have won the Caspian Caviar Gold Cup before going on to BetVictor Gold Cup glory later in their careers - Beau Ranger (1984 - 1987), Dublin Flyer (1994 - 1995) and Fondmort (2002 - 2003).
Mister Whitaker (Mick Channon) is the 8/1 joint-favourite with BetVictor for the the BetVictor Gold Cup alongside Rather Be (Nicky Henderson) after making a winning return in the Listed Colin Parker Memorial Chase at Carlisle yesterday, November 4.
Mister Whitaker won twice over fences at Cheltenham last season, most notably when denying Rather Be by a head in the Listed Close Brothers Novices' Handicap Chase over course and distance at The Festival™ presented by Magners in March.
Weights for the BetVictor Gold Cup will be published at noon on Wednesday, November 7, along with the weights for the £100,000 G3 Unibet Greatwood Handicap Hurdle, which takes place on The November Meeting Sunday, November 18.
BetVictor Gold Cup - BetVictor prices:
8/1 Mister Whitaker, Rather Be; 10/1 Baron Alco, Rene's Girl; 12/1 Romain De Senam, Thistlecrack; 14/1 Happy Diva, Ramses De Teillee, Aso; 16/1 Ballyandy, Benatar, Frodon, Full Glass, Kalondra, Kings Socks, Le Prezien, Sizing Granite, West Approach; 20/1 Adrien Du Pont, Copain De Classe, Janika, Javert, Magic Saint, Modus, Movewiththetimes, Shantou Village, Splash Of Ginge, Top Gamble; 25/1 Activial, Ballybolley, Beggars Wishes, Born Survivor, Casablanca Mix, Cloudy Dream, Dolos, Garde La Victoire, Guitar Pete, Shanahans Turn, Theinval, Zamdy Man; 33/1 Black Scorpion, Bouvreuil, Cepage, Cobra De Mai, Crievehill, Eamon An Cnoic, Geordie Des Champs, Willie Boy; 50/1 Henryville, Sister Sybil, Whoshotwho
Each-way ¼ odds, 1-2-3-4
The November Meeting at Cheltenham takes place over three days - Countryside Day, Friday, November 16; The November Meeting Saturday, November 17 and The November Meeting Sunday, November 18, and marks the start of the main part of the Jump season.