Pipe’s star can run the socks off them all

Char­lie McCann on the BetVictor Gold Cup

Racing Ahead - - CHARLIE MCCANN -

The ini­tial en­tries for the BetVictor Gold Cup (for­merly Paddy Power Gold Cup) at Chel­tenham on Novem­ber 12 are not known yet but we have been bet­ting on the fea­ture event of the Open Meet­ing for over a month now and, if money talks, we have a good idea about a num­ber of horses who are likely to be tar­geted at the race and at the fore­front of the mar­ket.

The Pipe fam­ily have long been as­so­ci­ated with the race with fa­ther Martin sad­dling the win­ner on no fewer than eight oc­ca­sions and son David scor­ing with Great En­deav­our back in 2011.

The race has been run ev­ery year since 1960 and only two five-year-olds, the ill­fated Cy­for Malta (2002) and Caid Du Ber­lais (2014) have been suc­cess­ful;what is of par­tic­u­lar in­ter­est this year is that two of the lead­ing an­tepost fan­cies are fouryear-olds namely King’s Socks (12/1 with BetVictor) trained by David Pipe and Frodon (16/1 with spon­sors BetVictor) one of a num­ber of po­ten­tial run­ners from the sta­ble of cham­pion trainer Paul Ni­cholls.

Speak­ing to the Rac­ing Post in a re­cent sta­ble tour in­ter­view Pipe de­scribed his new French re­cruit as be­ing “very ex­cit­ing” hav­ing won a chase and two hur­dle races at Enghien be­fore be­ing sold for over 200,000 Eu­ros back in July.That sale came on the heels of a sec­ond place fin­ish in a Grade 1 hur­dle at Au­teuil when only Wil­lie Mullins’ Foot­pad was too good; the win­ner had pre­vi­ously fin­ished third in the Tri­umph Hur­dle on ground con­sid­ered far too quick so that is top class ju­ve­nile hur­dle form.

The BetVictor Gold Cup race was only opened to four year-olds in 2006 and, if they make the 20-strong field,the pair will be­come the first four-year-olds to take their chance in the race al­though it might be worth not­ing that Union­iste won the De­cem­ber Gold Cup back in 2012 as a four-year-old for Paul Ni­cholls.

Few horses have im­pressed me as much with their jump­ing as a novice as Frodon this sea­son al­though it has to be pointed out that he has only beaten a to­tal of seven horses in those two un­com­pet­i­tive events. That said he has looked a nat­u­ral over the larger ob­sta­cles and did fin­ish fourth in a Grade 2 Chase for three-yearolds in France when trained by Guil­laume Ma­caire.

The two four-year-olds re­ceive a healthy 9lbs weight-for-age al­lowance and are ex­cit­ing prospects but the rec­om­men­da­tion is for Aloomomo (16/1 at BetVictor) who may have had too much use made of him when a beaten favourite in the Novices Hand­i­cap Chase at the Fes­ti­val at a time when I’m not con­vinced the War­ren Greatrex yard were in peak form.

The weight of money for the 6-y-o (went off 3/1 fav) sug­gested that many felt he was well-hand­i­capped off his cur­rent mark of 140 and as long as the ground is no bet­ter than good to soft I feel he has a lead­ing chance. He has a his­tory of go­ing well fresh so I would not be con­cerned if he went to the Open Meet­ing first time out; at 16/1 he gets the each way vote.

At the five-day stage on Novem­ber 7 do look out for a very spe­cial of­fer we are run­ning to cel­e­brate our in­au­gu­ral spon­sor­ship of this valu­able and pres­ti­gious race.

BetVictor Gold Cup; spon­sors prices each way ¼ first four Kings Socks Garde LaVic­toire Dou­ble Shuf­fle 16s Bar

King’s Socks

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