Paddy Power Gold Cup Ante Post Tips: Back this improver to sparkle at Cheltenham in November

A competitive field will line up for the Paddy Power Gold Cup on November 12.
A competitive field will line up for the Paddy Power Gold Cup on November 12.

One of the early season highlights in the National Hunt calendar is the Paddy Power Gold Cup, which sees a host of proven and emerging handicap chasers do battle at Cheltenham racecourse in a real thrilling showpiece event on November 12. Our man Steve Chambers take a long ante-post look at the contest and picks out his best bet for the race in just over a month's time...

Dan Skelton's My Drogo sits at the head of the ante-post betting with some bookmakers, but the smart novice chaser's season finished last December with a sparkling novice chase win at Cheltenham and he was unable to take in any spring targets. Skelton has already indicated that the exciting second season chaser is likely to be given more time off the track to recover from an injury and he's certainly not going to take his chance in the Paddy Power Gold Cup, so he's one to ignore.

Seven lengths behind My Drogo in that Cheltenham novice chase last December was the Nigel Twiston-Davies-trained TORN AND FRAYED, who is a 12/1 shot for this event, and kicked on from that defeat by Skelton's star and went on and ended his season with a fine Cheltenham handicap chase win on Festival Trials Day. Another not seen since winning that day in late January, the eight-year-old showed tremendous class to win that race as a novice, as he beat some yardsticks in a hugely competitive event, and he could well return in November with a huge chance.

Given an 8lbs rise by the handicapper for that success, a mark of 139 could still be well within his capabilities and the Twiston-Davies yard know what it takes to win this event, as they saddled both subsequent Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Imperial Commander (2008), Little Josh (2010) and Splash Of Ginge (2017) to glory in this race this century. With this event the likely target then the 12/1 is more than fair and he could take a world of beating.

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The last Irish-trained winner of the Paddy Power Gold Cup came back in 2009 when Tranquil Sea bound to glory, but there could be a leading contender in the shape of recent Kerry National winner Busselton making the trip over from the Emerald Isle for Joseph O'Brien. An 8/1 chance, at the time of writing, he was last seen at Prestbury Park finishing 40 lengths behind Bob Olinger in the Turners Novices' Chase at the Cheltenham Festival, but he's kicked on from that and handicap company looks more his bag at the moment.

The Plate Handicap Chase at the Cheltenham Festival can often throw some vital pointers for this race and Fergal O'Brien's Imperial Alcazar, who finished second to Coole Cody in March, could take his chance, while the 2020 Paddy Power winner could return for another crack at the event. Imperial Alcazar is on offer at 8/1, while Coole Cody is a 25/1 chance, but the latter will have it all to do now worse off at the weights with his rival and it's hard to see him regaining the crown at his beloved Cheltenham. Imperial Alcazar will need to improve on that effort, but could be one that is set to progress again this term.

Philip Hobbs's Celebre D'Allen was well fancied for the Plate, but could only finish fifth and he's a 10/1 chance for the Paddy Power Gold Cup, but at ten years old he could struggle to deliver goods now against some improving youngsters, while Spiritofthegames (33/1) and The Glancing Queen (14/1) are another pair from that race that could feature here.

Stolen Silver was a runaway 11-length winner over Simply The Betts and the abovementioned Coole Cody at Cheltenham in August, and that trio could all clash again, and the former of the triumvirate is a 14/1 chance for Sam Thomas and has to be respected. Meanwhile, the likes of El Barra (14/1), Dusart (16/1) and Fusil Raffles (20/1) all feature in the ante-post betting and would be eye-catching runners in what is set to be an enthralling contest.

2022 Paddy Power Gold Cup
Torn And Frayed silk

Torn And Frayed

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