Greatwood Gold Cup Tips: Farinet to land Newbury glory
National Hunt fans maybe counting down the days until the 2022 Cheltenham Festival, but there's still some exciting racing taking place on the track in the days leading up to the 'Greatest Show On Turf' and Newbury's Greatwood Gold Cup will be the feature event on Saturday afternoon, and we preview the contest here...
A relatively small field will line up in the 2022 running of the 2m 3f 187y race, but it's looks a real head-scratcher for punters, who could keep it safe and opt for a Paul Nicholls-trained runner, as the Ditcheat handler has saddled the winner of the race on a whopping nine separate occasions. Nicholls will be represented on Saturday by a smart duo in the shape of Tamaroc Du Mathan and Amour Du Nuit.
The former was destined for big things as he was a fine winner of the Grade 2 Pendil Novices' Chase last season, but he's failed to kick on from that Kempton victory, and is now looking to get his head in front handicapping. Last seen finishing fifth at Sandown off a mark of 146, the seven-year-old has been dropped 4lbs, so if he can recapture that Pendil form on a step back up in trip then off 143 he looks a player.
Conversely, Amour Du Nuit lines up on the back of a win at Musselburgh, so lines up in excellent form, but a 7lb rise is likely to halt his momentum and it's certainly wise to stick with Tamaroc Du Mathan from the Nicholls pair.
Fergal O'Brien's Dublin Four will carry bottom weight in Saturday's event, and he's aiming to bounce back from a fall at Ludlow in December. Prior to that tumble he was an impressive winner at Newbury back in November. A winner of that contest off a mark of 124, he will take to the track off 129, so he's certainly worth a second look, but this looks a much tougher race on paper, and he may struggle.
Pulled up in the Racing Post Gold Cup in December, FARINET was dropped to a mark of 131 for his next start at Sandown, and he duly hosed up by over five lengths in soft going at Sandown over two-and-a-half miles. Handed a 6lb rise on his next outing, Farinet was sent over three miles by Venetia Williams, but the grey was unable to land a blow on his return to Sandown, so the drop back in trip this weekend is sure to bring the best out of him.
A leading fancy with the bookmakers in the Greatwood Gold Cup, Farinet will need to produce a career best, but with the rain having made the ground soft for the weekend then the Williams charge can return to winning ways, and he is the solid selection in a cracking betting heat.
Last seen running a fine race in defeat in the Grand Sefton Handicap Chase over the Grand National fences at Aintree, where he came second, Alan King's Senior Citizen will revert to the normal chasing obstacles in this event, but he's been given a hefty hike in the weights, and could find it tough. As could Glen Forsa, who was a winner at Musselburgh last time out, but could well be in the handicapper's grip for this event.
Kalooki finished ahead of Glen Forsa when the pair clashed at Doncaster earlier in 2021, but the former for Philip Hobbs has failed to kick on and was last seen pulling up in the Grand National Trial at Haydock, so for him to drop so significantly in trip is a huge worry. Dan Skelton's Amoola Gold had the unenviable task of trying to deal with leading Queen Mother Champion Chase candidates Shishkin and Energumene in the Clarence House Chase two starts ago, where he was a distant last, but he went into calmer waters last time out at Warwick, but could still only finish third.
A real tough conundrum for punters, the 2022 Greatwood Gold Cup could have several jumping the last together, but it's the classy Farinet that can prevail and land the spoils.