Il Ridoto can upstage Festival stars in Paddy Power Gold Cup




Sport Racing

Guide to TV races Two Grade One novice chase winners at the Festival meeting in March top both the weights and the betting for the Paddy Power Gold Cup at Cheltenham today, and there is every chance too that The Real Whacker and Stage Star will take each other on at the head of the field from an early stage. Both chasers made most of the running on the way to victory in the Brown Advisory and Turners Novice Chases respectively, and they are the class acts in the field. Whether they will be able to dominate, and concede weight to, a host of seasoned specialists over track and trip is another question, however, and there are plenty of strong each-way alternatives at double-figure prices. Notlongtillmay, the runner-up behind Stage Star back in March, is one possibility after a promising return to action at the October meeting, along with course-anddistance regulars Fugitif and Il Ridoto (2.20), second and sixth respectively in the Plate Handicap Chase at the Festival. Il Ridoto triumphed over Fugitif by a length at around this trip on the New course in January, is 4lb better off with that rival at today’s weights and is flexible tactically if the leaders overcook the pace, while Freddie Gingell’s 5lb claim is also a bonus. Cheltenham 1.45: Mister Coffey’s 25-length eighth in the Grand National last time out is an eyecatching piece of form for a novice, but he has yet to win any of his nine chase starts and Good Risk At All, an impressive winner on his chasing debut at Carlisle last month, was as good, if not better, over hurdles. Lingfield Park 2.36: A drop in grade to Listed company for the first time this season should be enough to see Regal Reality return to the winner’s enclosure after a series of strong efforts in better company, including a close second in a Group Two race at Newmarket last time out. Cheltenham 2.55: Placenet cannot have been the easiest horse to assess on his form in the French provinces and he may well have been let in lightly on a mark of 124 for his handicap debut. Lingfield Park 3.11: Mischief Magic won a weak race last time out and looks too short against a better field here, with Willem Twee, at around 7-1, the pick of the prices to continue his progress on artificial surfaces and take the step up from a strong handicap success last time in his stride. Cheltenham 3.30: Resplendent Grey has progressed with every run over hurdles and briefly threatened to give the highly-promising Captain Teague a race at Chepstow last time. That run could give him an edge in terms of fitness on the early favourite, Springwell Bay.