Gold Cup - Cheltenham 17th March 2017 (Day 4)

Derbz87
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Re: Gold Cup - Cheltenham 17th March 2017 (Day 4)

Postby Derbz87 » Fri Mar 17, 2017 9:12 am

It was pretty wide open last year but we thought it was between three of them - Djakadam, Don Cossack and Cue Card. Take away the winner, the other two who would have finished 2nd (probably) and 3rd without question are entitled to take their chances again. Note that Cue Card almost certainly would have finished in front of Djakadam last year whichever way you dress it up. Relative to the rest of the market there are question marks over both for me on their form this season.

Djakadam isn't coming in off the back of a fall I'll grant you, but he underperformed behind Outlander in the Lexus when last seen and his John Durkan win over the same horse in the previous race was nowhere near as impressive as his 12 length win over Valseur Lido in last years renewal. We know on his Gold Cup form from the previous two years he is capable of a lot better but should he be that price relative to Outlander on what the two have shown this season? The horses in and around that Lexus and the Irish Gold Cup have to make you believe if Outlander has a chance then so does Sizing John. Both carry doubts but both are unexposed over 3 miles plus.

Cue Card - last year he entered this race unbeaten in the season, he won a Charlie Hall, Betfair Chase and a King George. That King George was jam packed full of talent unlike this one where without him and Thistlecrack it's barely Grade 2 standard. He's underperformed in the King George as we know and he also did the same in his Charlie Hall behind Irish Cavalier. Perhaps age is affecting his ability to consistently perform to the best of his ability? The only form we have to go off are wide margin wins over Coneygree - how much talent he retains we don't know, and he bolted up in the same Ascot Grade 2 that Silviniaco Conti was made to look back to his best in last season. On face value both wins look like a return to his best and I love the horse to bits and I'll be delighted if I'm wrong but you have to be concerned about that consistency, it was there last season.

Again whichever way you look at it Champagne West, Bristol De Mai and Native River are coming in as very impressive handicap winners and from that point of view should carry similar chances. I'd argue with his age Champagne West probably has less potential to be good enough (improvement wise) to win a Gold Cup than the other two but in fairness Henry De Bromhead has given him a new lease of life and he's only had a couple of goes at these sort of trips in his career, he's only a year older than Djakadam and he has some superb form at Cheltenham in the past. Draw a line completely under Native River's win over Bristol De Mai for me, I think he's better equipped of the three for this but that was a farce of a race. The ground is more than likely in Native River's favour of the three and he 'looks' the right horse for this race but again relatively speaking at the prices the other two look overpriced, certainly Bristol De Mai does.

I'm on one of the 'outsiders' in the pack in Minella Rocco but in truth he's had a torrid prep for this and I couldn't endorse his chances at the current odds even each-way, I'll be delighted if he gets round in one piece truth be told. I suspect the other outsiders are correctly priced, they'll run nice enough races and one of them may run into a place but they have little chance of winning this and I'd include More Of That in this bracket despite what he achieved over hurdles.

If I had a go again today Bristol De Mai looks really overpriced for a place but I'll stick with Minella Rocco and enjoy the spectacle.

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Re: Gold Cup - Cheltenham 17th March 2017 (Day 4)

Postby Gman84 » Fri Mar 17, 2017 4:05 pm

Minella Rocca did you proud there Derbz87, ran on really well.

To be honest, I never really considered Sizing John. I felt whilst he did well to win the Irish Gold Cup and did look better for the step up in trip that this might just be too stiff a test but he's been sat in the nice pocket by the jockey and finished well. He's only 7yo so could well be one to keep onside for years to come.

It was horrible to see Cue Card go down at the same fence again, I'm just glad he got up ok but he had been clusmy at a few beforehand and never looked comfortable. He's been a grand servant to the game and maybe they let him go to Aintree or Punchestown but at the same time no one would blame connections if he was retired.

But the trends stayed pretty true. A first time Gold Cup runner. The older horse never in it. Those that have placed before can't better that.

Well done to anyone who backed the winner.

Derbz87
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Re: Gold Cup - Cheltenham 17th March 2017 (Day 4)

Postby Derbz87 » Fri Mar 17, 2017 6:37 pm

Ay he did Gman I think Fehily gave him a cracking ride to pick up the pieces which was probably the plan all along. He's not got the tactical speed to win a Gold Cup I wouldn't have thought so that was as good as could be expected.

It's hard to tell with how Ruby rides how much he had under the bonnet with Djakadam but it looked a tired lunge and he didn't find much on the run in afterwards finishing out of the places. Not sure where Team Mullins go from here, I'd imagine they'd love to get a full season out of Killataugh Vic but it's a big ask after missing a whole season to aim him at a Gold Cup and Ruby seems to think Yorkhill would get the Gold Cup trip so wouldn't be suprised if this is Djakadam's last tilt at it as the head of the team at least. There's got to be a fair chance Cue Card will be bowing out honourably after Aintree/Punchestown.

Native River's ran his race and despite the record of returning horses he is young enough to keep improving. Bristol De Mai was in contention for the places before he belted the last. As you say Sizing John is only 7 himself. I'd imagine the proximity of Saphir Du Rheu who ran a massive PB means its probably a pretty average renewal ratings wise but a cracking race nonetheless.

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