Paddy Power Gold Cup Tips: Il Ridoto to hand Nicholls third win in Cheltenham feature

Find out our best bet for the Paddy Power Gold Cup
Find out our best bet for the Paddy Power Gold Cup

There's set to be an exhilarating renewal of the 2022 Paddy Power Gold Cup at Cheltenham, and our man Steve Chambers is here with his big-race preview and picks out his best bet for what should be a devilishly difficult conundrum for punters on Saturday afternoon...

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It rarely throws up a potential Cheltenham Gold Cup contender these days, but the Paddy Power Gold Cup has its own place in the National Hunt calendar as one of the early season highlights, and the 2022 renewal looks to be hugely competitive with a field of 16 going to post to try and etch their name on the illustrious roll of honour.

Not since 2009 when Tranquil Sea won this race has an Irish-trained raider bagged the valuable pot, but the Mouse Morris-trained French Dynamite is looking to buck that recent trend and the Irish raider has been well backed over the last couple of weeks and is the current 4/1 favourite, at the time of writing. He ended last season finishing third behind subsequent Grade 3 winner El Barra and Kerry National winner Busselton at the Punchestown Festival in a novices' handicap chase, and the seven-year-old returned to action with a comfortable victory over hurdles at Thurles. That is sure to bring him on for his return to the chasing sphere and he sets a decent standard here, but there will be some lively rivals taking him on.

There's a strong British charge behind French Dynamite in the betting and Jamie Snowden's Ga Law made a great impression on his comeback run in the Old Roan Chase at Aintree, where he finished third. The 6/1 shot had over a year off the track, but shaped with real promise and is sure to improve for that run, while the Sam Thomas-trained Stolen Silver (6/1) was last seen bounding to an impressive win at Cheltenham's April meeting, but off a 7lbs higher mark here he looks to have a tough ask on his hands to make it back-to-back wins at Prestbury Park.

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Paul Nicholls trained the classy pair of Al Ferof (2012) and Caid Du Berlais (2014) to victory in this race and the master of Ditcheat has another superb chance of landing the prize as he will unleash IL RIDOTO, who looks a decent bet at 17/2. He showed his class at the start of last season when bounding to victory off a mark of 131, while he ended the campaign running a decent race in the Grand Annual at the Cheltenham Festival off a mark of 143. Eighth that day, he was dropped 2lbs and finished third in a Grade 2 novice chase at Ayr last time out, and he's been dropped a further 1lb here, so lines up off 140. Still only five, the Nicholls youngster has plenty of miles on the clock and has to produce a career best, but he looks to have great potential over fences and he could well be one of the most progressive in the field and can storm to success.

2020 winner Coole Cody showed his love for the undulations of Cheltenham when bounding to victory in the Plate at last season's Cheltenham Festival, but the Evan Williams-trained veteran, who is a 16/1 shot, will have to contend with a much higher mark in this year's event. Sure to be on the front end from the flag fall, Coole Cody is unlikely to be able to a produce a lead-all-the-way display and is worth taking on.

Galahad Quest (11/1) is one in the lower echelons of the handicap that has the potential to improve over fences this season, but he has been on a relatively long losing streak, so will need to produce a career best here, while the likes of Midnight River, Happygolucky and the top-weighted Mister Fisher have work to do in what is a superb contest.

2022 Paddy Power Gold Cup
Il Ridoto silk

Il Ridoto

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Cheltenham Tips
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