Horse Racing Tips

BetVictor Gold Cup: Timeform's runner-by-runner guide

Horses jump fence at Cheltenham
The BetVictor Gold Cup is a major highlight of the Cheltenham November meeting

"...made an encouraging return to action at Carlisle recently and is taken to provide Nigel Twiston-Davies with a fifth win in this race..."

Timeform on Count Meribel

Timeform bring you their comprehensive runner-by-runner guide to Saturday's BetVictor Gold Cup at Cheltenham and pick out their 1-2-3...

1. Saint Calvados (Non-runner)

2. Us And Them (Joseph O'Brien, Ireland/J.J. Slevin)
Developed into smart novice last season, notably finishing second in four Grade 1s at around 2m. Shaped encouragingly after five months off when six and a half lengths third to Snow Falcon in PWC Champion Chase at Gowran Park last time. Entitled to strip fitter here and looks sure to give another good account on handicap debut.

3. Siruh du Lac (Nick Williams/Lizzie Kelly (3))
Proved most progressive in 2018/19, winning all four starts including Brown Advisory & Merriebelle Stable Plate here (by three quarters of a length from Janika) last time. Remains with potential and exemplary course record entitles him to respect on return.

4. Spiritofthegames (Harry Skelton/Dan Skelton)
Showed smart form in five novice starts in 2018/19, producing best effort when three lengths third in Brown Advisory & Merriebelle Stable Plate here. Goes well when fresh (won on reappearance in each of last three seasons) and could yet have more to offer in big-field handicap scenario.

5. Magic Saint (Paul Nicholls/Harry Cobden)
Won handicap at Wincanton in 2018/19 but failed to justify market confidence in three subsequent starts that season, including when well held in Grand Annual here. Possibly best at 2m judged on balance of form.

6. Slate House (Colin Tizzard/Robbie Power)
Failed to win in first season over fences but proved different proposition after wind surgery/eight months off when winning novice over C&D (by 11 lengths from Garo de Juilley) last time. Remains unexposed in this sphere and may have been let in lightly on handicap debut.

7. Belami des Pictons (Venetia Williams/Charlie Deutsch)
Looked a good prospect when completing hat-trick of novice wins in 2016/17, but injuries have limited him to just two starts since. Pulled up on sole start last season at Sandown and tough to recommend on first outing after another nine months off.

8. Count Meribel (Nigel Twiston-Davies/Mark Grant)
Won two of four starts in 2018/19, including novice at this meeting over C&D, and proved better than ever after eight months off when two and a quarter lengths second to Lostintranslation in intermediate chase at Carlisle last time. Plenty to like about that effort and fits the right sort of profile for this race now back in a handicap. Yard won this three times since 2008.

9. Mercian Prince (Amy Murphy/Jack Quinlan)
Smart handicap chaser who won at Kempton (by 17 lengths from Poker School) in 2018/19. Also won in first-time cheekpieces in three-runner event at Plumpton (by three lengths from Romain de Senam, driven out to make all) on final start that season. 3 lb higher now and record in big fields not inspiring, so he is passed over on return.

10. Highway One O One (Chris Gordon/Tom Cannon)
Matched previous hurdling efforts after six months off when second at Fontwell last time. Even better chaser judged on pick of last season's form, including when placed in pair of handicaps at this venue, but not much room for manoeuvre from current mark.

11. Happy Diva (Kerry Lee/Richard Patrick (3))
Won listed mares' event at Huntingdon in 2018/19 and had been in the process of shaping well when brought down four out in this race. Ran creditably after seven months off when chasing home Guitar Pete in listed handicap at Wetherby last time, but possibly vulnerable for win purposes again.

12. Demi Sang (Ben Haslam/Richie McLernon)
Useful handicap chaser who won at Cartmel in May and August (by two and a half lengths from Asockastar on latter occasion). Respectable six and a quarter lengths third to Guitar Pete in listed event at Wetherby last time, though he's no more than averagely treated at present.

13. Royal Village (Ian Williams/TBC)
Won handicaps at Uttoxeter in May and Southwell in August. Ran at least as well in defeat when two and a half lengths third to Copper West at Market Rasen last time but had no excuses and looks up against it in this deeper race.

14. Guitar Pete (Nicky Richards/Ryan Day)
Returned to form after 11 months off when winning listed handicap at Wetherby (by three and a half lengths from Happy Diva) last time. Goes well here (won December Gold Cup in 2017) but plenty to find from 4 lb higher mark than when third in this race 12 months ago.

15. Eamon An Cnoic (David Pipe/Tom Scudamore)
Produced best 2018/19 effort when three and a half lengths fourth in Brown Advisory & Merriebelle Stable Plate here. Well below that form in two subsequent starts, however, and now 3 lb higher than when fifth in this race last term. Others make more appeal.

16. Brelan d'As (Paul Nicholls/Barry Geraghty)
Only wins last season came in small-field novices at Haydock and Fakenham, but also showed aptitude for big-field handicaps when four lengths third to Croco Bay in Grand Annual here. Failed to complete in handicap won by Saint Calvados here on return.

17. Springtown Lake (Philip Hobbs/Richard Johnson)
Showed useful form in first season over fences, notably winning novice handicap at Sandown that worked out well. Shaped as if better for the run after seven months off when seventh in Sodexo Gold Cup won by Vinndication at Ascot last time.

18. Dell Oro (Gary Moore/Joshua Moore)
Useful chaser at best who won novice handicap at Huntingdon (by two and three quarter lengths from Stamp Your Feet) in 2018/19. Lost his way since, though, bled when tailed-off last of three to Valseur du Granval in handicap at Ludlow last time and very hard to recommend on return in a race of this nature.

19. Warthog (David Pipe/David Noonan)
Chasing type who made winning start in this sphere in novice handicap at Sandown (by four lengths from Molly Carew) in 2018/19. Mixed form since, let down by jumping when pulled up in National Hunt Chase here when last seen, and this a tough ask on return from eight months off. Also entered in 2m handicap at Cheltenham on Friday.

20. Splash of Ginge (Nigel Twiston-Davies/Jamie Bargary)
Losing run stretches back to win in this race two years ago and again looked out of sorts after eight months off when well held in listed handicap won by Guitar Pete at Wetherby last time. On a good mark if bouncing back but tough to recommend.

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