Totesport Cheltenham Gold Cup – Friday 13 March

Due to the weather, today’s Gold Cup trial, the Aon Chase, has been transferred from Newbury to Kempton where it is being run as the Levy Board Chase. The field includes last year’s Gold Cup winner, Denman in a crucial race for the Gold Cup favourite. Their could be a major shake up in the betting if he fails to shine, so it’s time to post my Gold Cup selection for 2009. I’m rowing in with Exotic Dancer, who was my selection last year, when he came fifth.

With a different preparation this time and doubts about the front two; Denman heart problems and unraced this season, Kauto Star – no previous winner has EVER lost and then regained Gold Cup, Exotic Dancer represents the value.
The same positives are there this time around; four time winner at Cheltenham and prior to Gold Cup never out of the frame, proven stayer and has the form to win. In addition Exotic has been in better form this season and has had an uninterrupted and different preparation. On his last outing he won the Lexus Chase and is fancied to win the Hennessy on Sunday. Last season he went into the Gold Cup following a season of no wins and off the back of a third in the King George on Boxing Day. He was then off the course with an injury. 
A potential negative is the absence of Tony McCoy as he might be riding one of Paul Nicholl’s horses. However, my guess would be that Barry Geraghty would step into the plate and he would be an able deputy.
Either a poor run by Denman today and a good run in Ireland in the rescheduled Hennessy Gold Cup on 15 February would increase confidence and see his odds contract. Should both happen he’ll start at a single figure price on the day.
Take the 16/1 generally available.