Nigel Twiston-Davies is the most successful current trainer in the Paddy Power Gold Cup with four victories and his representative is Al Dancer (Sam Twiston-Davies), fifth in last season’s G1 Arkle Novices’ Chase at The Festival™ and a winner on his reappearance in an intermediate chase at Newton Abbot last month.
Six horses have won the Paddy Power Gold Cup twice and 2019 scorer Happy Diva (Kerry Lee/Richard Patrick (3)) will be attempting to become the seventh. The nine-year-old mare returned to action when fifth in a Listed chase at Wetherby last month.
Other interesting contenders including Slate House (Colin Tizzard/Robbie Power), who started favourite a year ago and was travelling well when falling two fences from home. He subsequently went on to G1 success at Kempton Park. Top-weight Aso (Venetia Williams/Charlie Deutsch) defeated Happy Diva in a G3 handicap chase on New Year’s Day at Cheltenham in 2019 and has twice been placed in the G1 Ryanair Chase at The Festival™, most recently when runner-up to Frodon in 2019.
Paddy Power Gold Cup, Paddy Power odds: 9/2 Mister Fisher, Saint Sonnet, Simply The Betts, 15/2 Al Dancer, 9/1 Slate House, 11/1 Happy Diva, 12/1 Siruh Du Lac, Spiritofthegames, 16/1 Aso, Brelan D’As, 20/1 Coole Cody, Fidux, Kauto Riko, Sky Pirate, The Russian Doyen, 50/1 Domaine De L’Isle, 100/1 Pinson Du Rheu
Paddy Power himself said: “We are absolutely delighted to get a field of 17 for our return to sponsoring this highly-prestigious and always competitive race.
“Mister Fisher has been supported all week and we are now unable to separate him, Saint Sonnet, and Simply The Betts at the front end of the market.”
Saturday’s programme also features two G2 contests – the opening JCB Triumph Trial Juvenile Hurdle (12.30pm, eight runners, 2m 87y) and the From The Horse’s Mouth Podcast Novices’ Chase (1.40pm, six runners, 2m).
Duffle Coat (Gordon Elliott IRE/Robbie Power) looks the one to beat in the JCB Triumph Trial Juvenile Hurdle, having won all three of his starts over hurdles, most recently landing a Listed contest at Wetherby by seven lengths.
Fusil Raffles (Nicky Henderson/Nico de Boinville) was a G1 winner over hurdles and tops the six runners in the From The Horse’s Mouth Padcast Novices’ Chase having won both his starts over fences, most recently at Cheltenham on 23 October. Four-year-old filly Zarkareva (Henry de Bromhead IRE/Aidan Coleman) has also recorded two chasing wins and took a G3 contest at Punchestown last time out.
Le Patriote (Dr Richard Newland/Sam Twiston-Davies) showed very useful form over hurdles, headed by success in the G3 Swinton Handicap Hurdle at Haydock Park in 2019. He made the perfect start to his chasing career when the comfortable winner of a novices’ chase at Market Rasen on 17 October.
Worcestershire-based Newland said: “Le Patriote was a smart winner at Market Rasen last time out.
“He looks to be progressing all the time and jumped well last time."
Saturday’s action also includes three competitive handicaps - the South West Syndicate Handicap Chase (1.05pm, 12 runners, 3m 1f) for conditional and amateur riders, the Listed Paddy Power Games Handicap Hurdle (2.50pm, 12 runners, 3m) and the Paddy Power First Millionaire Qualifier Intermediate Handicap Hurdle (3.25pm, 10 runners, 2m 5f).
Dr Richard Newland is represented in the last-named by Captain Tom Cat (Cillin Leonard (7)), who will be attempting to follow up his success over the course and distance in the squareintheair.com Handicap Hurdle at The Showcase on 23 October. The seven-year-old is seeking a four-timer, having also landed two novices’ hurdles at Utttoxeter over the summer.
Newland said: “Captain Tom Cat is fine form at home and I am delighted with him.
“He completed his last piece of work on Wednesday and we couldn’t be happier with him.
“It is obviously a very tough ask for him to go and win and complete the four-timer.
“These Cheltenham races are obviously very hard to win. We have got to get the tactics right on him, but he is in great order.
“I’m really looking forward to running him and he is in great order."
Completing the action is the concluding Listed Karndean Designflooring Mares’ Standard Open National Hunt Flat Race (3.55pm, 10 runners, 2m 87y).
The going at Cheltenham is currently:
Chase and Hurdle: Good to Soft, Good in places.
Cross Country Course (in use on Friday): Good to Soft, Good in places
There was seven millimetres of rain overnight. Today is forecast to be dry with further showers expected tomorrow.
The November Meeting gets underway tomorrow, Friday, 13 November with Countryside Day and concludes on Sunday, 15 November.
If you need any information about racing at Cheltenham, please contact Meg Furse, Regional Marketing Executive - Communications on 07896 076579 firstname.lastname@example.org