Pipe’s star can run the socks off them all
Charlie McCann on the BetVictor Gold Cup
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