We concentrate on the BetVictor Gold Cup Handicap Chase today, a race that has been very kind to us down the years with the likes of Baron Alco, Taquin De Seuil and Cad Du Berlais. Our two against the field are EAMON AN CNOIC and SPRINGTOWN LAKE.
While the extremely heavy ground could upset all calculations today, generally I like to go with runners proven at the track and still with youth on their side. The very sticky ground will make this a real stamina test and could help the older runners. Eamon An Cnoic (translates Edward of the hill) has had eleven chasing starts for David Pipe and the word is that his owners, the Angove Family, have travelled over from the US. Now they are hardly here just to take in the scenery - superb and all that the Cotswold surroundings are - so clearly a prominent showing from Pipe's horse can be anticipated.
Pipe - who has a fair strike rate at this November Festival - has two runners in this and Tom Scudamore has opted for this one. In the Plate at the Festival he looked a big threat when travelling well behind Siruh Du Lac but didn't get home on the new course over an extra half furlong. While all ground comes alike for this eight year old he has won twice on heavy ground at Plumpton and Haydock. He carries 3 lbs. more than when fifth in this last year but his proven ability on very heavy ground should bring him a lot closer this time.
We backed Springtown Lake at the Festival when he was fifth to A Plus Tard. The winner was the best handicapped horse of the week winning by 16 lengths but there wasn't much between those who were placed in behind. He was stretched quite a bit by the three miles trip on his seasonal debut at Ascot but that outing should leave him cherry ripe for today's contest. He has never finished out of the placings on heavy ground and it's a real bonus to have Richard Johnson back in the plate.
Joseph O'Brien has had winners all over the globe lately so Us And Them - who finished second in the Arkle - is worth a second glance, while Guitar Pete never runs a bad one. So many with chances in this very competitive handicap but Eamon An Cnoic and Springtown Lake are two to keep very much on your side.
Cheltenham - 2:25
1/2 Point EACH WAY Springtown Lake (10/1 Paddy Power paying 6 places)
1/2 Point EACH WAY Eamon An Cnoic (14/1 Paddy Power paying 6 places)
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