A Clean Slate at Cheltenham
The Paddy Power Gold Cup is one of my favourite races of the season. Today, we have 17 runners declared and the ground will be soft come racetime with heavy rain forecast this morning.
Plenty with chances so fingers crossed we enjoy some good luck!
Slate House stumbled and fell on the landing side of the second last fence in this race last year. He had travelled well down the hill into contention and looked the most likely winner. He backed up that view with a winning the Grade 1 Kauto Star Novices Chase at Kempton on boxing day. Trainer Colin Tizzard tested him over an extended three miles in the Cotswold chase on trials day, but he failed to get home.
At the festival he ran no race in the RSA when clearly not right. The Tizzard horses are coming good with two winners on Wednesday and Sizing at Midnight might have won the Badger Beers chase last Saturday but for falling. Slate house goes well fresh, is a Group 1 winner and is not harshly treated off a mark of 152. He handles soft going which looks likely as rain is forecast Saturday morning.
Happy Diva is just preferred to Simply The Betts off revised terms. The latter beat Happy Diva at the festival in the Brown Advisory Handicap Chase but boy did the mare make him work hard. Happy Diva passed him after the last but tired late up the hill on the new course. This meeting is run on the old course which his sharper and does as galloping so will suit Happy Diva well. She is 6lbs better off against Simply The Betts and has already had a prep run this season at Wetherby.
Kerri Lee will have her mare proper ready for this race and Richard Patrick rides her well and claims a valuable 3lbs. Happy Diva loves Cheltenham and has finished 1st or 2nd on four of her five chasing runs at the course. The other time she was travelling well when unlucky to get brought down. There is no way she should be over double the price of Simply The Betts off a 6lb better mark.
Cheltenham - 2:15
0.5 Point EACH WAY Slate House (10/1 Skybet, Paddy Power & William Hill, paying 6 places)
0.5 Point EACH WAY Happy Diva (14/1 Skybet, Paddy Power & William Hill, paying 6 places)