Form expert Andy Holding has found some great bets on Gold Cup day at Cheltenham.
You’ve got to go back to 2002 to find the last Willie Mullins-trained winner of this race, but he looks to have a particularly strong hand in this season’s renewal and even though his main hope lies with Footpad judged on form and the betting, it might well be that LET’S DANCE (best price 14/1)
and APPLE’S JADE (best price 16/1)
show the sufficient improvement required to capture this prestigious prize. Although the former is still a maiden, she has run blinders in two of the best juvenile races run so far this season and considering she had to do the donkey work in bad ground in the Grade 1 Spring Juvenile Hurdle last time out, the daughter Polioglote came out of the race with great credit. The latter put a decent marker down when exhibiting good battling qualities to score on her first start for new connections at Leopardstown last time out and with the fourth horse home, Campeador, advertising the form with a brilliant effort in the Fred Winter, the Saddler Maker filly looks poised to ruffled the feathers of some stronger fancied rivals.
Let's Dance - 0.5pt e/w @ 14/1Lost -1pt
Apple's Jade - 0.5pt e/w @ 16/1Placed 1.1pt
BLUE HELL (best price 11/1)
has been saved specifically for this race ever since scoring with a bit to spare in a red-hot handicap at Fairyhouse back in November and with the time of the race good and the likes of Henry Higgins, Keppolls Queen, Good As Gold and Diamond King (won Coral Cup Wednesday) all coming out and franking the form since, Alan Fleming’s inmate has to rate a massive player. Although that victory was achieved on soft ground, the son of Russian Blue has plenty of solid form on a quicker surface and even though he has to race off a considerably higher mark and has yet to race at this track, the unexposed six-year-old still makes plenty of appeal.
Similarly to the main selection, FETHARD PLAYER (best price 40/1)
looks to have been kept to one side for this race having not run since October, but unlike Blue Hell, he seems to have been totally overlooked by punters and bookmakers alike. His form when runner-up in an ultra-competitive handicap at Aintree and when landing a 13-runner affair at Down Royal are both rock-solid and with fast ground very much in his favour, this strong-travelling sort has got to be worth a small each-way speculator at 40/1.
Blue Hell - 1pt e/w @ 11/1Lost -2pt
Fethard Player - 0.5pt e/w @ 40/1Placed 4.5pt
Being a former assistant at Pond House, Gordon Elliot will desperate to win this race and he looks to have two fine chances in the shape of SQUOUATEUR best price 4/1)
and JETSTREAM JACK best price 16/1)
in order to achieve his goal. The former was hugely impressive when scoring with a bit to spare at Fairyhouse last time out and with Pertemps hero, Mall Dini, back in third, the form is already beginning to take shape. The latter also has some smart form next to his name, such as chasing home the useful pair Up For Review and Thomas Hobson, and with fast ground and first-time hood likely to bring about further improvement, the son of Beneficial holds solid each-way claims.
Squouateur - 1pt @ 4/1Lost -1pt
Jetstream Jack - 0.5pt e/w @ 16/1Lost -1pt
ROCK THE WORLD (best price 11/1)
had a nice ‘sighter’ at this track when beating the useful Dormello Mio back in October and that experience should stand him in good stead returning to the scene of that fine performance. A proper fast ground exponent, Jessica Harrington’s charge also jumps extremely well for a novice and with horses of his profile often doing well in this particular race down the years, another positive display from this consistent eight-year-old looks on the cards.
Rock The World - 1pt e/w @ 11/1Placed 1.75pt
TOM DOOLEY (best price 5/2)
can be a law into himself, but there’s no denying that he’s also quite useful in this grade when on song – as he was when he bolted up over this C&D three weeks ago. Showing a more consistent level of form since cheekpieces have been applied, James Feane’s charge did well to escape with only a 4lb penalty for that latest effort and being one of the few who appears to have some sort of upside, he rates a fair bet at his top morning price to go in again.
Tom Dooley - 2pt @ 9/4Lost -2pt