28 Apr 2018

B365 Gold Cup Handicap Chase (Grade 3)

And so, to journey's end; the B365 Gold Cup, last hurrah of the jumps season, won by some classy types over the years and always a race to savour.

We have a good system for this race and went desperately close last year with Vyta Du Roc who (literally) arrived 1 stride too late. Let’s try and put that right in 2018.

Class is key here. The ideal candidate has previously won any kind of race at Grade 2 level, and can make that ability tell from a realistic mark.

For example, since 1999, if you had blindly backed every previous Grade 2 winner 1pt EW on standard bookmaker terms, the outcome would be 22 win or placed from 64, +92.20 pts profit at SP and some very decent prices, with winners up to 25/1.

Three runners fit the criteria this year; Houblon Des Obeaux, Present Man and Bigbadjohn.

Houblon Des Obeaux is gradually coming down the weights, but all bar one of his wins have come in a small field and in any case on the evidence of Ascot in March he will need easier opposition than this to make an impact.

PRESENT MAN interests me. He’s been fairly dismissed by the market after failing to make an impression in this race last year, however that was after winning at Ascot and this is a horse who needs to be extremely fresh.

Paul Nicholls describes him as a horse with a huge amount of ability – his chase record certainly backs that up; 5 wins and 2 seconds from 11 starts. It’s also hard to pin down the ceiling of his ability as he idles in front. The ground has come up okay, which will help him. Bryony Frost knows him inside out and claims a valuable 3lbs.

One with fewer stamina concerns is BIGBADJOHN, who remains nicely treated on the pick of his form for Rebecca Curtis, and who made a winning start for Nigel Twiston-Davies in February. He ran in the 4-miler at Cheltenham last year and was staying on strongly over 3 miles in his recent win.

An early exit in the Topham means he still comes here fresh and this trip looks much more his thing.

Good luck today,

3.35 Sandown, Present Man 1pt EW 22/1+, 5x1/5
3.35 Sandown, Bigbadjohn 1pt EW 14/1, 5x1/5

Herbie authors the Key Racing Gold thread on the ENIGMA Forum - check the performance at: WWW.KEYRACINGNEWS.COM/FORUM-RESULTS

** Feedback: Bigbadjohn disappointing, but as expected Present Man was heavily underestimated and ran a huge race, landing place money **

Present Man trained by Paul Nicholls, looks underestimate for the B365 Gold Cup

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