bet365 Gold Cup Tips: The Young Master to shine again at Sandown

Former winner The Young Master bids for a second win in the Sandown showpiece.
Former winner The Young Master bids for a second win in the Sandown showpiece.

Steve Chambers previews Saturday's bet365 Gold Cup, and picks out his best bet for the Sandown marathon...

All eyes head to Sandown Park this weekend, as the traditional curtain-closer of the National Hunt season takes place on a star-studded National Hunt card. The betting highlight of the day is the bet365 Gold Cup, which will see a bumper field line up in the 3m 4f 166y contest.

There's a fascinating line-up at the entry stage with the multiple King George VI Chase winner Clan Des Obeaux topping the weights, and the Paul Nicholls-trained superstar propelled back to form last time out when bounding to victory in the Grade 1 Betway Bowl at Aintree. Nicholls is undecided whether his multiple Graded winner will take his chance, but if the Ditcheat raider does line up then he has to be a major player.

Currently challenging for favouritism, Clan Des Obeaux dominates the handicap, with him set to carry 11st 12lb, and the next horse in the handicap (Cepage) carrying 11st, so he will have a tough task on his hands to give weight away to some classy rivals, but if he can replicate that sparkling Aintree run then he has to be a major player. Stamina is a major question mark about the nine-year-old, as he has often struggled to fire over the Cheltenham Gold Cup trip of 3m 2f, but that could be due to his dislikening to Prestbury Park.  His one sole visit to Sandown came back in 2017, where he finished last of five in the Scilly Isles Novices' Chase, so with a disappointing record at the track, and with major stamina doubts then there's enough negatives to feel he has too much on his hands.

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Alongside Clan Des Obeaux at the top of the betting is Kitty's Light, who was last seen claiming victory in the Borders National at Kelso. Along with a hatful of runners here, the Christian Williams-trained raider will be out of the handicap - should Clan Des Obeaux run - but he is certainly one that would relish this marathon trip, and he looks to be on a major incline. He shall relish the rattling quick ground, as he has winning form on good to firm, so Williams will be hoping they don't turn the taps on too much at Sandown, and he looks to be a really solid each-way betting option for punters.

Henry de Bromhead's Plan Of Attack was running a fine race in the Kim Muir at the Cheltenham Festival before falling three out, so if he can bounce back from that effort he has to be respected. Prior to that run he finished eighth in the Paddy Power Chase, which is a race that has produced the Grand National winner in the shape of Minella Times, who finished second in that Leopardstown contest, so Plan Of Attack has some really strong form lines.

Nicholls, who has trained the likes of Ad Hoc (twice) and Tidal Bay (once) to victory in this race could have a strong team lining up and Enrilo lines up on the back of a win of a novice handicap at Exeter in February. He had previously lined up in the Grade 1 Kauto Star Novices' Chase at Kempton, so he is obviously highly thought of, while another brace of runners towards the head of the betting include El Presente and Potterman, who warrant respect.

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With such a competitive field going to post there is always a bit of value further down the betting, and the one that catches the eye is the Neil Mulholland-trained The Young Master, who is looking to roll back the years and claim victory in the race for the second time.

A sparkling winner of the 2016 bet365 Gold Cup, The Young Master has been a regular runner in this event, and he has a decent record to go with it. A winner in 2016, he was then ninth in 2017, eighth in 2018 and second in 2019, so he certainly has to be given a second look. Not seen since August, where he was pulled up at Perth, The Young Master can often blow more cold than hot these days, but a return to Sandown is sure to see him at his best, and now 6lb lower than his winning mark back in 2016 then he is eye-catching.

It's hard to assess his current form to that of five years ago, but his second placed finish in 2019 came off a mark of 142, and he will line up off that mark in Saturday's renewal, so while he is now in the twilight of his career at 12 years old, he is another that performs well on quick ground, so everything is set fair for another fine run, and at huge odds he is worth taking a chance on.

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