Who wins the Paddy Power Gold Cup? Assessing the main contenders for the big race | Horse racing news

Saturday’s Paddy Power Gold Cup (2.20 Cheltenham) is the big race of the weekend, with French Dynamite the favorite to hand Ireland a rare victory in the prestigious handicap race. Here, we assess its claims, along with four other top contenders.

Form 161-31

Strengths The ante-post favorite was a Grade 3 winner in his Novice Pursuit campaign before ending his season with a solid third at the Punchestown Festival. He came back with a three-length victory over the hurdles at Thurles last month.

Weaknesses His credentials as well handicapped for that are solid, but the big concern is Ireland’s shocking record in the race, having won it just once this century with Tranquil Sea in 2009.

Odds 4-1

What they say

Mouse Morris, trainer (after his victory at Thurles): “You can’t fault that performance. He’s quite difficult to place because he’s maybe just a bit short of a ranked horse, so that could be a liability. He’ll come back to the fences and I think that he will go back on his trip by the end of the season.”

Form 1132/3

Strengths A winning hunter as a 2nd year in his Novice campaign and returned from a 603-day layoff when a solid third, beaten by a length and a half, in the Old Roan Chase at Aintree last month.

Weaknesses There is always a risk that the “rebound” factor will play its part when returning from such a long absence.

Odds 7-1

What they say

Jamie Snowden, Coach: “He took Aintree well and the plan was always prep and then the Paddy Power. I was hoping to use a race at Market Rasen which we won with Kiltealy Briggs the week before, but the ground was a bit lively. It would have been better to have that extra week, but he hasn’t missed a beat since.”

Form 24341-

Strengths Has been in fine form since coming under the care of Sam Thomas last year and finished last season with a big win in Year 2 Limited Handicap at the new Cheltenham course in April.

Weaknesses Rivals with a high rating of 150, having been raised 7 pounds by the handicapper for his on-track heroism last season. Was also held well by some re-entry rivals at the Cheltenham Festival in March.

Odds 7-1

Form 1P383

Strengths A year ago he easily won a handicap pursuit at Newbury and found his form when he was third in a Novice Year 2 pursuit at Ayr on the day of the Scottish Grand National.

Weaknesses Didn’t seem to improve on his win at Newbury and disappointed in his lone run at Cheltenham in an eighth length 31 in the Grand Annual at the festival.

Odds 10-1

What they say

Coach Paul Nicholls (in his Racing Post stable tour): “He needs to be held back in a fast two or two and a half mile race and is the type to go well into a big handicap when they go hard in front and he can come in late. The Paddy Power Gold Cup seems ideal and Cheltenham will be his first race. He underwent a respiratory operation this summer.

Form 71P3-1

Strengths Remains unexposed on the fences and put in a stunning performance on his handicap hunting bow winning easily by 25 lengths at Stratford late last month.

Weaknesses His form was hit and miss during his rookie-hunting campaign last season and will need to challenge a career-high 145 if he is to win.

Odds 10-1

What they say

Dan Skelton, Coach: “It would have taken rain and rain for this horse to run, but we always held him in high regard. He was always going to be a horse that came forward and I was happy to see what I saw back home when he won at Stratford last month If there wasn’t enough rain for Paddy Power we would wait for the Gold Cup in December at Cheltenham He is a good horse and it wouldn’t surprise me if he jumped grade 2 [this season].”

Other suitors

Gite Editor thrived around Cheltenham, winning two of his four starts on the track, but was unproven on this trip, while happygolucky is a high class handicapper but must defy a long absence if he lines up. Top weight Mr Fisher won another 2nd year last year, but stopped in 2020, while Cool Codythe winner that day, could be dangerous given his fantastic Cheltenham record.

Paddy Power Gold Cup (2.20 Cheltenham, Saturday)

Power of rice: 4 French Dynamite, 7 Ga Law, Stolen Silver, 10 Il Ridoto, Midnight River, 12 Editeur De Gite, Shakem Up’Arry, Nassalam, Coole Cody, 14 bar

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