Boylesports Gold Cup Preview

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Published: 12/12/2011

The boylesports Gold Cup is a prestigious Grade Three handicap chase held at Cheltenham Racecourse as part of their annual December meeting.

Raced over a distance of two miles and five furlongs, the contest traditionally provides a follow up to November’s paddy Power Gold Cup at the Gloucestershire venue, which is run over a marginally shorter trip.

The boylesports equivalent is however run over Cheltenham’s new course, unlike the paddy Power which is held over the old course.

This therefore means that it takes an extremely versatile horse to record a Gold Cup double as Cheltenham’s old and new courses are very different in style.

The task is also made even stiffer by the logistics of handicapping – as any paddy power Gold Cup winner is likely to shoot up the weights significantly by the time the Boylesports Gold Cup comes around.

Pegwell Bay, Senor El Betrutti and Exotic Dancer are the only three horses to have managed the feat in the past – and it will be the turn of Great Endeavour to try and add his name to the history books in 2011 after David Pipe’s well fancied grey romped to success at the Open Meeting just a few weeks ago.

Since triumphing in the paddy power, Great Endeavour took his chance off a generous handicap mark in Newbury’s Hennessy Gold Cup, with the Cheltenham win leaving him ‘well in’ to the tune of around eight pounds against a wealth of seasoned staying chasers.

Held up at the back of the field, Great Endeavour jumped beautifully again but ultimately failed to see out the trip despite coming with a dangerous looking run heading into the final stages of the race to finish fourth.

Currently ante-post favourite for the Boylesports Gold Cup, Great Endeavour certainly warrants his place at the head of the market however there may be too many things counting against him when he goes to post on December 10.

For a start, the race will only come three weeks after the Hennessy which is by all accounts a punishing stamina test.

Although reverting back to his optimum distance and favourite course, it is quite possible that Great Endeavour may struggle to repeat his prominent, trailblazing run in the Paddy Power after what has already been a hard start to the campaign for him at the highest level.

Secondly, the handicapper will now almost certainly be on terms with the seven year-old and his placed effort in the Hennessy will add even more of a burden to that which will have been added after his Cheltenham success. Consequently, the horse will have to have gained a sizeable natural improvement in between races in order to cancel out the weight penalty.

Arguably, the horse came on even stronger at Newbury and it was simply the distance which beat him.

Nevertheless, it seems inevitable that Great Endeavour will be vulnerable in the Boylesports Gold Cup to better handicapped rivals who ran with promise in the Paddy Power.

Ferdy Murphy’s Divers ran a terrific race when third behind Great Endeavour at Cheltenham and may have finished even closer had he set sail for home a little quicker.

He ran out of the handicap off a featherweight of ten stone that day – and although his eye-catching effort is set to see his mark increase, the horse should come on leaps and bounds and continue to fulfil the potential which he showed as a novice last year.

Alan King’s Medermit is a possible runner and the 2011 Arkle bridesmaid will be a definite candidate should he take his chance although the handicapper is unlikely to take much of a chance with him.

Ghizao and Nadiya De La Vega are two other top class performers who may be out to stop Great Endeavour – who will undoubtedly deserve any further success that might come his way in this stern test of speed, fencing and endurance.


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