Caspian Caviar Gold Cup Tips: Ready the Champagne for Mystery

Caspian Caviar Gold Cup Tips: The race regularly proves to be a hotly contested heat.
Caspian Caviar Gold Cup Tips: The race regularly proves to be a hotly contested heat.

Nick Seddon previews Saturday’s Caspian Caviar Gold Cup at Cheltenham, as Coole Cody bids to seal a memorable double over course and distance…

The twin of last month’s Paddy Power Gold Cup, the Caspian Caviar almost always proves to be a hugely competitive affair, and you’ll likely earn yourself a nice little pay day if you manage to have £2 on the winner.

A whole host of the 17-strong field will fancy their chances, but the logical place to start is with last month’s Paddy Power winner Coole Cody, who is bidding to seal a rather notable double. Indeed, only one horse has managed the feat this century (the top-class Exotic Dancer in 2006), and Coole Cody has plenty on his plate if he is to write his name into the history books.

He’s still unexposed after just four starts over fences, though, and a 6 lb penalty for last month’s victory could well be within his reach. However, he rather had things his own way pace wise last month after the early departure of of Siruh Du Lac, and bearing in mind he’s unlikely to have it so easy in front this time around, he’s passed over at the prices.

Cheltenham Festival Tips

Rather surprisingly, there are four horses above Coole Cody in the market at the time of writing; Al Dancer (11/2), Windsor Avenue (13/2), Cepage (7/1) and Master Tommytucker (7/1). The last-named has bags of talent, but struggled to put everything together as a novice last term, failing to complete in two of his three starts. He’s returned an improved model this year, winning back-to-back events at Haydock and Huntingdon respectively in impressive fashion, and while he can’t be completely ruled out, this is a tough ask off his revised mark.

Al Dancer defeated Master Tommytucker at Newton Abbot in October, and has impressed so far this season, finishing third behind Coole Cody here last month. He’s able to take his chance on the same terms again here, and bearing in mind his smart form as a novice last season, he can’t be ruled out, while Windsor Avenue produced a satisfactory reappearance when second behind Imperial Aura at Carlisle last month, and is interesting on handicap debut.

Meanwhile, Cepage is a regular here, winning a similar event over course and distance in January, and having finished a fine seventh when last seen in the Ultima Handicap in March, he should go well again off the same mark.

Four more with a good chance according to the betting are Good Boy Bobby, Midnight Shadow, Chatham Street Lad and Romain De Senam. The first-named has made two starts for Simon Munir & Isaac Souede since switching hands, and has built on the useful novice form he showed last year with two solid performances in graduation company. He’s interesting off an opening mark of 146, while Romain De Senam also catches the eye at the weights. It’s coming up to two years since he last won, but he was smart for Paul Nicholls, and has been cannily campaigned by Dan Skelton so far. Now 3 lb below his last winning mark, he can’t be ignored.

Another graduating novice is Midnight Shadow, who won the Grade 2 Dipper Novices’ Chase here in January. He was rather fortunate to do so, benefitting from Champ’s late fall, but he’s a smart performer on his day, and will strip fitter off an appealing mark after a run in the Old Roan Chase at Aintree in October. Lastly, Chatham Street Lad won a Cork Handicap in really good style last month, and although the 13 lb rise he was handed for that gets him into this, he needs plenty more.

Cheltenham Festival Races

Paul Nicholls has won two of the last four renewals of this race, and along with Master Tommytucker, he also sends out Southfield Stone and Saint Sonnet. The former has previous with Coole Cody, defeating him off level weights in a novice contest here in October, before struggling to build on that in a similar event at the November Meeting. He switches back to handicap company here, and catches the eye at 16/1 off a mark of 145, while Saint Sonnet is also on a good mark at the moment, but was a last fence faller here last month and needs to bounce back.

Cases can also be made for both Huntsman Son and Annie Mc, but it could be worth having a small each-way bet on Champagne Mystery. He recorded just one win from four starts as a novice last term, but he certainly showed plenty of ability in that time, and can have a line drawn through his effort at the Cheltenham Festival - when doing far too much too soon. He's on a competitive mark, though, and his prominent style could certainly play into his hands provided he can get into a good rhythm on the front end. Nico de Boinville takes the ride. It’s interesting to see some money for him (having opened at 25/1 earlier this week), and he’s fancied to run well.

Selection

December Gold Cup, Cheltenham, Saturday 12th December - back Champagne Mystery each-way at 16/1

December Gold Cup
Champagne Mystery silk

Champagne Mystery (EW)

Fell
Cheltenham Gold Cup
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