Paddy Power Gold Cup Tips – Who will win the big handicap at Cheltenham’s November Meeting

A wonderful view of the stands as runners perform in front of a packed crowd

A wonderful view of the stands as runners perform in front of a packed crowd

Paddy Power Gold Cup Preview

The two and a half-mile Paddy Power Gold Cup is one of the first big handicap chases of the National Hunt season and takes place at Cheltenham’s November meeting. The race was formerly known as the Mackeson Gold Cup and notable past winners include Gay Trip (1969, 1971), Cyfor Malta (1998, 2002) and Imperial Commander (2008). The Paddy Power Gold Cup is due off at 2.15 on Saturday 14th November and will be televised live on ITV.

Paddy Power Gold Cup Betting Trends

The Irish-trained Tranquil Sea landed a gamble in 2009 but the last ten Paddy Power Gold Cup favourites have all been beaten. The average winning SP over that period has been around 12-1 with long-priced winners including Splash Of Ginge (2017) at 25-1 and Little Josh (2010) at 20-1.

Horses aged six to eight years have fared best while the last twelve winners had all raced at Cheltenham at least twice previously. The most successful trainers in recent years have been Nigel Twiston-Davies and Jonjo O’Neill.

Paddy Power Gold Cup form guide

Simply The Betts will be a popular Paddy Power Gold Cup tip after his hard-fought victory at the Cheltenham Festival in March. Harry Whittington’s seven-year-old beat Happy Diva by a length and a quarter in the Brown Advisory Handicap Chase and will be 3lbs worse off on Saturday. 

Simply The Betts had previously beaten Imperial Aura over course and distance and the runner-up also won at the Cheltenham Festival. The lack of a previous outing should not be a concern as he runs well when fresh but he does have 11st 11lbs to carry.

Happy Diva reappeared at Wetherby recently and ran better than her fifth place suggests. That should put the mare spot on for Cheltenham where she has a record of BD, 2nd, 2nd, 1st, 2nd. Siruh Du Lac is an interesting contender having switched from Nick Williams to David Pipe’s yard last month. He fell when holding every chance at the second last at the festival and he would not be the first horse to benefit from a change of stables.

Spiritofthegames is not straight-forward and was pulled up when fancied for this race 12 month’s ago. He then ran poorly at Newbury before almost springing a 40-1 shock when edged out by Warthog in the Caspian Caviar Gold Cup. He only has one chase victory from ten starts but remains a threat in these competitive handicaps.

The ante-post favourite is Saint Sonnet, a five-year-old French import trained by Paul Nicholls. He took his chance in the Marsh Novices’ Chase and was not disgraced behind Samcro. Nicholls won this race with Caid Du Berlais (2014) who had a similar profile but any betting value seems to have gone from Saint Sonnet at his current price. Stable companion Brelan D’As was beaten only a neck by Happy Diva last year but has not been seen since blundering away his chance in the Caspian Caviar Gold Cup.

Nicky Henderson’s only victory in this race came courtesy of Fondmort (2003). He relies on Mister Fisher, a promising novice last season and a close fourth in Samcro’s race. He had previously beaten Nigel Twiston-Davies’s Al Dancer at Doncaster but that rival now enjoys a fitness edge having won at Newton Abbot. Al Dancer was a high class hurdler but he does tend to get a little low at his fences.

Slate House looked set to end the drought for favourites here last year but crumpled on landing at the second last. He was racing off a mark of 147 that day and he is only 5lbs higher despite his Grade 1 win in the Kauto Star Novices’ Chase. Colin Tizzard’s gelding would probably prefer softer ground than he is likely to encounter on Saturday.

Stable companion The Russian Doyen is an interesting outsider. He was a respectable fourth at the 2019 Cheltenham Festival but has only raced twice since, most recently finishing third over hurdles at Fontwell. He is now 3lbs lower than his previous course appearance and could go well off a light weight.

Jonjo O’Neill has a fine record in this race and is represented by Sky Pirate. He travelled like a winner at Wetherby on his first start since wind surgery but faded on the run-in and finished second to Cool Mix. He has often flattered only to deceive in the past and is yet to get his head in front over fences.

Alan King’s horses have been in great form on the flat and he will be looking to keep up the momentum over jumps. His hopes rest with Fidux who narrowly won a valuable handicap at Market Rasen last time out. He has been raised 4lbs but looks likely to get his favoured sound surface.

Paddy Power Gold Cup Tips

Fitness will be at a premium here so the smart play may be to split stakes between two race-fit contenders with previous Cheltenham form. Happy Diva’s Cheltenham record speaks for itself and the mare showed enough at Wetherby to suggest she will make a bold bid to repeat last season’s victory. The chances of The Russian Doyen are less obvious but he is fit from a spin over hurdles and could reward each-way support.