bet365 Gold Cup 2017: Timeform's runner-by-runner guide

The bet365 Gold Cup is the feature race from Sandown on Saturday
The bet365 Gold Cup is the feature race from Sandown on Saturday

Timeform bring you their runner-by-runner guide to the bet365 Gold Cup at Sandown on Saturday.

"Escapes a penalty for that success here and looks the one to beat on the back of a good second over this C&D in December..."

bet365 Gold Cup
Saturday 29th April, 15:35

1. THEATRE GUIDE (Paddy Brennan/Colin Tizzard)
Determined winner at Cheltenham in December and proved better than ever when third on his penultimate outing in the BetBright Chase at Kempton. Well below that form when eighth at Cheltenham last time, however, and looks up against it from his current mark.

2. JUST A PAR (Harry Cobden/Paul Nicholls)
Won this contest in 2015 and only beaten a short-head when second 12 months ago. Never competitive when down the field on his most recent outing in the Grand National, but goes well here and not without place claims from just 1 lb higher than when runner-up last year.

3. THE YOUNG MASTER (Sam Waley-Cohen/Neil Mulholland)
Won this race from the same mark 12 months ago and seemingly been primed for the big prizes this spring. Fell at Bechers first time round in the Grand National three weeks ago, but spared a hard race and should be thereabouts if arriving in peak form.

4. LE REVE (Leighton Aspell/Lucy Wadham)
Three-time winner over fences at this venue and has dropped to a decent mark. Should strip fitter for recent outing over hurdles at Ascot, but plenty to prove at present and others make more appeal.

5. THE DRUIDS NEPHEW (Noel Fehily/Neil Mulholland)
Cheltenham Festival winner in 2015 and acquitted himself with credit when fifth in this race last year. Below that form in two starts this season, but beginning to look potentially very well-treated and should be fresher than most at this stage of the campaign.

6. PRESENT MAN (Jack Sherwood/Paul Nicholls)
Won four of his seven races this season and proved better than ever when resuming winning ways in novice at Ascot four weeks ago. This is much tougher, but remains on a fair mark now back in a handicap and no surprise to see him involved at the finish.

7. ROCK THE KASBAH (Richard Johnson/Philip Hobbs)
Smart handicap hurdler in 2016/17 and has taken well to chasing this season. Returned to form with a good second to the exciting American at Uttoxeter last time, but has stamina to prove at this trip and may be vulnerable to a stronger stayer.

8. VYTA DU ROC (Daryl Jacob/Nicky Henderson)
Smart novice last season, winning Grade 2 at Ascot and running to a similar level when fifth in the Scottish Grand National. Underperformed in four starts this season, but returns from a break and on a handy mark if back to his best.

9. WHATS HAPPENING (Adrian Heskin/Tom George)
Brave winner from this mark at Cheltenham in October 2015 and ran to a similar level when second on his return from 16 months off the track at Exeter. May have been feeling the effects of that effort when well-beaten at Cheltenham last time, however, and needs to bounce back.

10. BENBENS (Sam Twiston-Davies/Nigel Twiston-Davies)
Won veterans' chase at Aintree in October 2015 and looked in need of the outing when pulled-up on his belated seasonal reappearance at Uttoxeter in March. Proved he retains plenty of his ability with a career-best when third in Scottish National last time and can't be ruled out from 2 lb lower.

11. SUGAR BARON (Nico de Boinville/Nicky Henderson)
Winner of his chasing debut at Wincanton last May and shaped as if this marathon trip would suit on several occasions since, including when sixth in the Kim Muir at Cheltenham. Exited early in the Scottish National last time, but should be involved with a clear round here.

12. DOING FINE (Tom Scudamore/Neil Mulholland)
Returned to form for a new yard this term, finishing second in each of his first three starts and gaining the victory his consistency deserved at Cheltenham 10 days ago. Escapes a penalty for that success here and looks the one to beat on the back of a good second over this C&D in December.

13. HENLLAN HARRI (Sean Bowen/Peter Bowen)
Made all the running in handicap at Ffos Las in March and run well when placed back there the last twice. This much tougher, however, and will likely find it harder to nominate from 4 lb out of the weights.

Timeform bet365 Gold Cup 1-2-3

1. Doing Fine
2. The Young Master
3. Present Man

Timeform Analyst's Verdict:
Neil Mulholland holds a very strong hand, notably with DOING FINE and last year's winner The Young Master. The former was an easy winner off this mark at Cheltenham 10 days ago and probably should have won over this C&D in December, so is narrowly preferred. Present Man and Sugar Baron complete the shortlist.

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