The BetVictor Gold Cup Handicap Chase is one of the big betting races in the first half of the National Hunt season and most major bookmakers produced an active ante-post market. The sponsors have the classy More Of That as their 4/1 favourite with Frodon at 5/1.
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BetVictor Gold Cup Handicap Chase History and Trends
Fortria, Gay Trip, Half Free, Bradbury Star and Cyfor Maltahave all been dual winners of a race that began life in 1960 as the Mackeson Gold Cup and has metamorphosed through sponsors Murphy’s, Thomas Pink and Paddy Power into it’s current incarnation.
It’s run on the Old Course at Cheltenham over 2m4f and is usually won by an up-and-coming chaser – no chaser aged older than nine has won it since 1975, which doesn’t bode well this year for the chances of Ballynagour. There have only been two winners aged older than seven since the turn of the century so you could probably remove another few of the short-list if you wanted to be pedantic.
Only one winner in the last nine years has carried more than 11st so that’s something else to factor in – almost half of the entries at the five-day stage didn’t fit into that significant statistic. Little Josh was a 20/1 chance when successful in 2010 but he’s the only winner in the last in the last 10 years to start bigger than 12/1.
I’ve followed the career of Double Shuffle to date and am convinced that Tom George’s six-year-old has plenty more to offer over fences. He fits the bill as being just out of the novice stage, has form over the course and distance and has a high cruising speed – all important in the BetVictor Gold Cup. He just failed to catch old rival Art Mauresque on his reappearance at Chepstow in a race in which subsequent Charlie Hall Chase winner Irish Cavalier finished fifth and his stable is in cracking form so I’ll be having a little saver at the general 8/1 as I just can’t have the market leaders. More Of That could eventually turn out to be better than a handicapper but his stable is in wretched form. Paul Nicholls’ Frodon is only a four-year-old and carries a penalty – no four-year-old has ever won this, though not many have run.
The latter’s stablemate AS DE MEE was beaten less than three lengths by More Of That over course and distance year ago and is 15lb better off. Double Shuffle was fourth that day so the recent Fontwell winner looks a cracking bet at 10/1 with several layers. He should start making giant strides now he’s got his head in front over fences having had a few false dawns last season.
BetVictor Gold Cup Handicap Chase Best Current Odds
More Of That (5/1), Frodon (13/2), Double Shuffle (8/1), Taquin De Seuil and As De Mee (10/1), Art Mauresque and Bouvreuil (14/1), Stiletto, Village Vic and Sizing Platinum (16/1), Buywise (18/1), Annacotty (20/1), Aso, Vintage Vinnie, Top Gamble and Sizing Granite (25/1), Ballynagour (28/1), Tenor Nivernais, Full Shift and Thomas Crapper (33/1), Potters Cross (40/1), Johnny Og (66/1)