Casey Top a 50/1 cracker
Ben Linfoot seeks out the value on Paddy Power Gold Cup day at Cheltenham.
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Is Grands Crus worth a bet for the Paddy Power Gold Cup at prices around the 5/2 mark at Cheltenham on Saturday?
That is the question most punters coming to Prestbury Park will be asking themselves and it's hard to get away from his credentials, especially when trainer David Pipe bangs in an opening day double courtesy of Dynaste and Swing Bill.
You all know why he can win, but I'll be swerving him at the prices. I'm convinced he'll be a stone better than a 157 horse in time, but so was Long Run and he only managed third.
It's a tough race to win no matter how well handicapped you might be and I'm just put off by his tendency to race with the choke out, esecially first time up in a heat like this.
I'm not convinced any of his main market rivals; Al Ferof, Walkon and Hunt Ball are particularly well handicapped with TRIOLO D'ALENE the one I'd be most interested in at the top of the market.
It's his effort at Market Rasen that highlights his credentials for this contest. He travelled really well that day but couldn't match the finishing effort of Zitenka once headed.
However, to me it showed he's got a handicap in him off this sort of mark (just 2lb higher on Saturday) and at 14/1 he rates a value poke to land the contest for Nicky Henderson and Barry Geraghty.
The ground will be perfect for him, he goes well fresh and could be primed to strike off his light weight.
I'm loathe to back another in the contest given I've already backed two non-runners for the race ante-post but I can't resist the claims of CASEY TOP each-way at 50/1.
The case for him is a simple one. If you include his jockey's claim he's only 8lb higher than when he hacked up at Killarney in May where he beat previous Paddy Power winner Tranquil Sea, and is actually 2lb better off than when a good second in the Galway Plate.
He failed to stay three miles in heavy ground when 11th in the Kerry National and perhaps that effort explains his 50/1 quotes.
However, 2m5f on better ground is perfect for him and this front-runner is usually a good jumper. When he gets into a rhythm, he's hard to peg back.
Certainly, there's enough in his favour to back him each-way to small stakes at such a big price.
For the bet of the day I can't ignore the David Pipe yard seen as they are in such good form and in the preceeding race to the feature PROBLEMA TIC looks a good value punt at 8/1.
He was trained to five successes by Nicky Henderson and won on his debut for Pipe in impressive style at Ayr's Scottish National meeting.
Just 7lb higher for that success, he looks the type who can kick on now he's had another summer on his back, especially now tried over such an extreme trip for the first time.
Up against many an old plodder in this contest, he's one of few with an exciting, progressive profile and I'll take 8/1 that he can win this before going on to bigger and better things.