Aso tops BetVictor weights | Greatwood hurdle weights also revealed

Aso leads Frodon over the last in the Ryanair
Aso leads Frodon over the last in the Ryanair

The weights have been revealed for both the BetVictor Gold Cup and the Greatwood Handicap Hurdle and Aso heads the weights for the former.

Ryanair Chase second Aso heads weights for BetVictor Gold Cup

The 168-rated Aso has been allotted top-weight of 11st 12lb for the £160,000 G3 BetVictor Gold Cup (42 entries) at Cheltenham on Saturday November 16.

Venetia Williams' horse defied top-weight to win a G3 handicap chase on Festival Trials Day in January and then ended the campaign with a gallant second in the G1 Ryanair Chase at the Festival, both over intermediate distances.

The 6/1 favourite Slate House (Colin Tizzard) has been given 10st 5lb, following a dominant 11-length victory in the Matchbook Best Value Betting Exchange Novices' Chase over the course and distance at The Showcase on October 26.

Saint Calvados (Harry Whittington, 11st 3lb) also triumphed at The Showcase, taking the two-mile Randox Health Handicap Chase in good style under top-weight. Three horses have won the Randox Health Handicap Chase, run over two and half miles until 2015, and the BetVictor Gold Cup in the same season - Johns Spirit (2013), Shooting Light (2001) and The Outback Way (1999).

Chris Gordon is eyeing a big run from second season chaser Highway One O One (10st 2lb), whose most recent start over fences saw him finish third in the G2 Cure Parkinson's And Hambo Foundation Silver Trophy Limited Handicap Chase at the April Meeting. Prior to that, his efforts included a good second in the Timeform Novices' Handicap Chase at Cheltenham on Festival Trials Day.

The seven-year-old, a 25/1 chance with the sponsor, warmed up for the BetVictor Gold Cup with an encouraging second in a handicap hurdle at Fontwell Park on 5 October.

Gordon said: "Highway One O One definitely goes for the BetVictor Gold Cup, provided nothing goes wrong between now and then.

"We know he handles the track well, having run a couple of solid races there last season, and it looks like he will have a lovely racing weight too.

"We thought about him starting him off Chepstow, but myself and the owner [Anthony Ward-Thomas] were due to go to the Czech Republic that weekend to watch the Velka Pardubice, so we decided to run a week earlier at Fontwell.

"I thought he ran a lovely race there and that should set us up nicely for Cheltenham a week on Saturday."

Cheltenham form is also held by rapid improver Siruh Du Lac (Nick Williams, 10st 8lb), who defeated Janika (Nicky Henderson, 11st 6lb ex 5lb penalty) and Spiritofthegames (Dan Skelton, 10st 8lb) in the G3 Brown Advisory & Merriebelle Stable Plate Handicap Chase at the Festival.

Janika has a 5lb penalty as a result of his victory in the G2 Haldon Gold Cup at Exeter on November 5. His trainer Nicky Henderson also has Casablanca Mix (10st 12lb) among his five entries, who impressed in winning a Listed handicap chase at Market Rasen in July.

The three Irish-trained entries are led by Us And Them (Joseph O'Brien, 10st 10lb) and Articulum (Terence O'Brien, 10st 7lb). Both horses contested the two-mile Arkle Trophy at the Festival, finishing second and third respectively behind impressive winner Duc Des Genievres.

Articulum returned from his summer break with a staying-on second behind stablemate Lakemilan in a grade B handicap chase over just shy of two and a quarter miles at Cork on 20 October.

O'Brien reported: "Articulum has a couple of entries at Navan and Naas this weekend, but I would say it is more than likely that he will go for the BetVictor Gold Cup.

"He is rated 148 over fences in Ireland, so I suppose 149 in England is OK. I would expect him to run up to his mark and if he could run a bit beyond it, he should be there or thereabouts - I think he can improve a bit.

"He has mainly run over two miles over fences, but he has won a couple of bumpers over two miles and three furlongs, as well as a point-to-point over three miles. I don't see the trip being a problem to be honest.

"I would like the ground to be on the easy side. I don't think the ground could be too soft for him."



Sebastopol given 10st 9lb as weights unveiled for Unibet Greatwood Handicap Hurdle

Leading fancy Sebastopol has been allotted 10st 9lb for the £100,000 G3 Unibet Greatwood Handicap Hurdle (42 entries) over two miles on Sunday November 17.

Trained by Tom Lacey, Sebastopol is the 10/1 joint-favourite alongside Fusil Raffles (11st 10lb) following an impressive seven-length success in a handicap hurdle at Wincanton on October 17.

French import Fusil Raffles, one of eight contenders for trainer Nicky Henderson, is unbeaten in 2019, landing the G2 Adonis Juvenile Hurdle at Kempton Park in February and G1 Champion Four Year Old Hurdle at the Punchestown Festival in May.

The weights are topped on 11st 12lb by the 154-rated Le Patriote (Dr Richard Newland), who has not raced since landing the G3 Pertemps Network Swinton Handicap Hurdle at Haydock Park in May.

Others to note include Benny's Bridge (Fergal O'Brien, 10st 9lb), successful over the course and distance The Showcase last month.

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