Notus and Rose the Early Value
Ben Linfoot goes through the Paddy Power Gold Cup weights and picks out 20/1 and 25/1 shots for the race.
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1pt win Notus De La Tour for the Paddy Power Gold Cup at 25/1 (General)
1pt win Pepite Rose for the Paddy Power Gold Cup at 20/1 (General).
The Paddy Power Gold Cup is the first big handicap of the National Hunt season and Paul Nicholls, Nicky Henderson and David Pipe dominate the entries for the race.
Pipe won the race last year with Great Endeavour and he houses the favourite this time around in Grands Crus, a general 3/1 chance after being allotted a weight of 11-6 for the Cheltenham contest.
He has the ideal profile being a classy, second-season chaser and you wouldn't think the drop back in trip will be a hindrance as he's always raced with plenty of zest - it could be ideal.
However, while very much one of the likelier winners he doesn't appeal as an ante-post bet at 3/1. Can you really see him being much shorter on the day itself?
I can't, but there could be some juice in the price of Pipe's other entry, NOTUS DE LA TOUR.
He's a 25/1 chance and while he's not absolutely guaranteed a run at present, he only needs four to come out and that looks highly likely given Nicholls isn't likely to run all of the big guns he has above him in the list.
Notus De La Tour was a very promising novice chaser last term. He was second and third in a couple of Grade One contests at Leopardstown after impressing with his jumping when winning novice chases at Carlisle and Plumpton.
His final start of the season came in the Byrne Group Plate at the Festival when he was sent off an 8/1 shot but fell at the third, his stablemate Salut Flo landing the spoils.
We didn't learn it that day but I'm sure a mark off 144 isn't the ceiling of his ability. He jumps very well and his second in a Grade One behind Blackstairmountain hints at potentially a greater level of form, with the step back up in trip to 2m4f and further set to unlock further improvement.
Also versatile regarding the ground and a horse that goes well fresh, this talented six-year-old could be a real plunger in the market if his trainer decides to go into the contest double-handed.
At 25/1, I think he's worth the risk.
The one other horse I think is worth backing at this stage is PEPITE ROSE at 20/1.
I'm sure the trends followers will be rolling around laughing at me for tipping up a five-year-old mare but this is an animal with serious talent and she's been given a chance at the weights.
Rated 150 after notching up four novice chases in a row earlier this year, she gets in here off 145 and is already guaranteed a run right at the bottom of the weights.
She struggled in the Grade 1 Manifesto Chase at Aintree at the end of last season but that was her eighth run of a busy campaign and I'm inclined to forgive her - she is a terrific jumper of a fence and could be dangerous off a lightweight if allowed to get into a good rhythm.
There was lots to like about her reappearance run at Ascot over an inadequate two miles and she may have well finished better than third had they not omitted the second last.
She got better after a few runs last season when stepped up in trip and this race looks to have been her target for some time.
At 20/1, she can go well for the excellent Venetia Williams.