It’s the hugely competitive Coral Gold Cup on Saturday and David Ord spins through the field before nominating his early pick for the Newbury feature.
AHOY SENOR: Won the Costwold Chase at Cheltenham and only caught late by Shishkin in the Grade One at Aintree last season but somewhat in-an-out in between. Reappeared in the Charlie Hall and was never jumping with any fluency after a mistake at the ninth. He needs rhythm and a clear round to win this from a mark of 169, and neither seems guaranteed.
STOLEN SLVER: Routed his rivals when making a winning return at Chepstow and while up seven pounds is completely unexposed at this trip and has long threatened to snare a valuable pot.
MIDNIGHT RIVER: Shaped as if needing it when third behind Gentlemansgame in the Charlie Hall on his return and returns to handicaps only five pounds higher than when winning at Aintree in the spring. A leading player for last year’s winning team with the run under his belt.
DUSART: Never really got going in three starts last season and has a few questions to answer for all his Ayr defeat of Sounds Russian back in April 2022 reads well, and his trainer has been making encouraging noises.
ELRODARO ALLEN: Been a grand servant to connections and ran a cracker when third in a valuable handicap at Ascot on his return. That run shows he has little wiggle room with the handicapper though and he’s clearly vulnerable to any progressive rivals.
ZANZA: Track specialist and sprang a surprise in the Denman Chase last season. Not the easiest to predict mind and has been beaten a total of 162 lengths on his last two starts.
COMPLETE UNKNOWN: Represents the champion trainer and was found a good opportunity when winning a three-runner intermediate chase on his return at Newton Abbot. This has been his target for a while, but I just wonder if he’d want even more testing ground than he’ll face at the weekend to be at his absolute best.
GA LAW: Won last season’s Paddy Power Gold Cup and was in the process of running a big race when falling at the last in the Sky Bet Chase next time. Only two pounds higher but yet to conclusively prove he stays three miles and he has to leave behind lacklustre runs in his last two starts.
MAHLER MISSION: Looked like he might have beaten Gaillard Du Mesnil when falling two out in the National Hunt Chase and encouraging return over an inadequate trip at Carlisle. A big player at Newbury and looks sure to make a bold bid from the front.
REMASTERED: Touched off by Le Milos in this last season and won a decent prize at Kempton last Christmas but nowhere near that level in three subsequent starts and very laboured on Aintree reappearance. That was clearly a pipe-opener for this, but he needs to be right at the top of his game on Saturday.
DATSALRIGHTGINO: Stamina is the question mark for this fellow who wasn’t seen to best effect in the Old Roan on his return. He signed off last season with a Grade Two win at Ayr, shaping there as though he’d be effective at this trip. If he is, then he’s a player.
KITTY’S LIGHT: Enjoyed some campaign last season, winning the Eider, Scottish National and bet365 Gold Cup. Might need a bit of time to come down the ratings and not much encouragement in two spins over hurdles this term but no surprise to see him spark back into life back in a valuable staying handicap chase before long.
MONBEG GENIUS: Finished third in the hottest handicap chase of last season behind Corach Rambler and Fastorslow in the Ultima and looks well treated on that form still but prep race at Ascot didn’t go according to plan as he was pulled-up after a bad mistake at the 16th. Still a huge chance at the weights.
OUR POWER: Stablemate of Stolen Silver and he picked up valuable pots at Ascot and Kempton last term before finishing 11th in the Grand National. Run in the Pertemps qualifier earlier this month should have put him spot on, but he looks about where the handicapper wants him.
SAIL AWAY: Better than ever last season and ran his rivals ragged when winning at the Scottish Grand National on his final start. His jumping is his main asset but to date his best form is when dominating small fields and the Dan Skelton team have been a little in-and-out on their first runs back this time around.
STUMPTOWN: In very good hands and hacked up at Sandown in February before running a cracker to finish second in the Kim Muir at Cheltenham. Not so good in three starts since and eight pounds higher on Saturday, but took a step forward in the Kerry National last time and not one to draw a line through.
TWIG: Won the Summer Cup at Uttoxeter and justified market support when chasing home Whacker Clan at Cheltenham next time. Up three pounds in much deeper waters though.
BEAUPORT: Strong in the betting but never looked like getting involved in the race won by Victtorino at Ascot earlier in the month, finishing a well beaten fifth. Not one to write off yet and would be no surprise to see connections return to more forceful tactics at Newbury.
CLOUDY GLEN: The Venetia Williams team continues to carry all before them, and this fellow ran well on his return when second to Malina Girl at Cheltenham. Won this in 2021, only three pounds higher this time around and every chance he could build on that reappearance run too.
BILL BAXTER: Got on a roll last season and capped a tremendous campaign with a tenacious in in the Topham at Aintree. Reappeared behind Thunder Rock and Stolen Silver at Carlisle and this is a more suitable test but he’s two pounds out the handicap if Ahoy Senor runs and ten pounds higher than Aintree.
MAX FLAMINGO: Irish raider who looked like he might be building towards something when fifth behind Magic Tricks at Downpatrick last time but whether that’s a Coral Gold Cup win is probably another matter.
SHAKEM UP’ARRY: Might have needed the run on his Stratford reappearance but the overall balance of his form suggests he’s going to be a little bit short of what’s required to win on Saturday. He’s probably better at two-and-a-half miles too.
LORD ACCORD: 12 pounds wrong at the weights as things stand and pulled-up at Cheltenham last time. Not for me.
A wide-open Coral Gold Cup. You can make a case for plenty with the likes of Mahler Mission and Monbeg Genius high in the betting – and on the shortlist – but preference is for STOLEN SILVER.
He was very impressive when winning at Chepstow on his return and is still low mileage at this trip. In good hands and at the peak of his powers, he’s taken to enjoy a day in the sun, while Datsalightgino is interesting at the trip. The way he finished at Ayr in the spring suggested he was well worth a try over this far.
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