Cheltenham Saturday tips and runners with 7-1 pick in Paddy Power Gold Cup

A maximum field of 20 runners was declared for the feature on Saturday’s race card. Protektorat, part-owned by Sir Alex Ferguson, is the favourite in the betting

Al Dancer (right), jumping alongside Rouge Vif (left) and Getaway Trump at Cheltenham is the Paddy Power Gold Cup selection

Ante-post favourite Protektorat is among a maximum field of 20 runners for the Paddy Power Gold Cup.

Dan Skelton’s runner jointly heads the handicap with Paul Nicholls’ new recruit Simply The Betts in the feature race (2.15) at Cheltenham’s November Meeting.

Assemble, the original top weight, was withdrawn at the 48-hour final declaration stage on Thursday.

Following the confirmations, sponsors Paddy Power have Protektorat, a horse part-owned by Sir Alex Ferguson, at 5-1 in their market, a point shorter than Nicholls’ leading contender Lalor.

Al Dancer, now in the care of Sam Thomas, is 8-1 to go two places better than 12 months ago.

The firm has reported money for several outsiders in the field, which includes last year’s winner Coole Cody.

Five horses have captured the race twice, with Cyfor Malta the most recent name on the roll of honour in 2002.

The favourite for the Paddy Power Gold Cup, Protektorat, is part-owned by Sir Alex Ferguson



Paddy Power spokesman Paul Binfield said: “It’s marvellous to have 20 runners meaning there is a lovely each-way feel to this famous race and in the build-up Lalor and Galahad Quest (12-1) have been the two best-backed horses having originally been 20-1 and 33-1 respectively when we first priced it in late October.”

Impressive winner from the October meeting, Third Time Lucki, has three rivals in the Grade 2 From The Horse’s Mouth Podcast Novices’ Chase (1.40).

Grade 1-winning novice chaser Philip Hobbs’ Sporting John is another interesting contender, returning over the smaller obstacles in the Listed Paddy Power Games Handicap Hurdle (2.50).

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Race-by-race runners and tips


1 Caramelised

2 Knight Salute

3 Magistrato

4 Mister Allegro

5 Rocky Man

6 Saint Riquier

7 Yorksea

8 Addosh

9 Aliomaana

TIPPING VERDICT: MAGISTRATO looked a horse to follow on his Chepstow debut win for Paul Nicholls and is taken to back that up in the JCB Triumph Trial Juvenile Hurdle. Despite racing keenly, the juvenile hurdler had plenty left and won readily by 12 lengths at a track similar to Cheltenham. Some of Paul Nicholls’ horses have needed their first run, so the French recruit could do better here, for his yard operating at a 24 per cent strike rate in the past fortnight. The selection also led on his sole start for previous connections, tactics which worked well for Mister Allegro 20 days ago. Knight Salute, who has been ridden more patiently, turned over odds on favourite Impulsive One last time and he looks the main threat.

Trainer Paul Nicholls can strike with Magistrato in Cheltenham’s opener on Saturday




1 Opposites Attract

2 Forza Milan

3 Plan Of Attack

4 Another Venture

5 Minella Encore

6 Milanford

7 Dawson City

8 Mindsmadeup

9 Head To The Stars

10 Pontresina

11 Utility

12 One Forty Seven

13 Two Taffs

14 Strictlyadancer

15 Bermeo

16 Fact Of The Matter

TIPPING VERDICT: Plenty of runners in the second event of the day, the Jewson Tool Hire Amateur Jockeys’ Handicap Chase , but only a couple appear capable of winning it. Strictlyadancer, successful in a lowly selling handicap chase as recently as January 2020, is another to bloom at Christian Williams’ stable. He struck at the opening Cheltenham fixture and is now 5lb higher in the weights. This race is stronger though, with higher-rated rivals, headed by OPPOSITES ATTRACT. He ran in some decent novice chases last season, finishing two-and-a-half lengths behind Latest Exhibition on his seasonal debut, a horse rated 153 when last seen. His jockey has plenty of experience in this line-up and this test should suit well. Milanford, unexposed over fences, appears to be on a workable mark and is an each-way alternative on the back of a recent run to blow away the cobwebs.


1 Captain Tom Cat

2 Third Time Lucki

3 Mick Pastor

4 Sebastopol

TIPPING VERDICT: Not a betting race at the forecast prices, with THIRD TIME LUCKI appearing to have lots in hand. The odds on favourite jumped like an old pro when sent to Cheltenham for his chasing debut, earning rave reviews in the process. This Grade 2 From The Horse’s Mouth Podcast Novices’ Chase is the logical step for Dan Skelton’s exciting prospect. Ratings suggest Mick Pastor is right with the selection, however this is not his ideal type of track and he has not figured on two prior runs there.

Third Time Lucki put in a polished round of jumping at Prestbury Park when last seen




1 Simply The Betts

2 Protektorat

3 Aso

4 Paint The Dream

5 Al Dancer

6 Lalor

7 Caribean Boy

8 Midnight Shadow

9 Spiritofthegames

10 Manofthemountain

11 Zanza

12 Dostal Phil

13 Coole Cody

14 Up The Straight

15 Belargus

16 Deyrann De Carjac

17 Funky Dady

18 Galahad Quest

19 Farinet

20 Nietzsche

TIPPING VERDICT: Pleasing to see a full quota of runners for the big race of the day, the Paddy Power Gold Cup. It looks an excellent race for punters to solve, with last year’s winner Coole Cody bidding for more riches while still feasibly handicapped. Only two horses have taken the race back-to-back since its inception in 1960 though and the percentage call is to look elsewhere. Lalor, well-supported in recent days, may well come good for Paul Nicholls’ team but it takes a huge leap of faith to support him, with form students having to go back to January 2020 for his last competitive run. He has obviously had his problems. Protektorat will have his backers, given his assured jumping and class for the job, however AL DANCER is the pick. The grey has plenty of good form to his name for Nigel Twiston-Davies, including a second to subsequent Arkle heroine Put The Kettle On at this meeting two years ago. He has competed on soft ground plenty of times, including when third in the most recent renewal of this race. Now appreciably better off with Coole Cody for a deficit of four-and-a-quarter lengths, quicker conditions are in his favour this time. Trainer Sam Thomas has also started the season brightly with several new horses and the grey can continue the theme. Promising young chaser Galahad Quest is a must for the each-way shortlist.

Coole Cody won last year’s Paddy Power Gold Cup and bids to retain his crown




1 Sporting John

2 Proschema

3 Shannon Bridge

4 Ballymillsy

5 Dragon Bones

6 Onagatheringstorm

7 Valentino Dancer

8 Optimise Prime

9 Dorrells Pierji

10 Scheu Time

11 Kansas City Chief

TIPPING VERDICT: Philip Hobbs gives Grade 1-winning novice chaser Sporting John his first start of the season in the Listed Paddy Power Games Handicap Hurdle. He ended the season with two non-completions and this will be a good confidence boost for the season ahead. Tough and consistent Kansas City Chief, who gave jockey Victoria Malzard a day to remember at the latest fixture, should go well again in behind DRAGON BONES. The mare has surpassed expectations in her career so far, finishing just a length behind Irish raider Bardenstown Lad here last time. The winner had first run on her and they pulled ten lengths clear of the rest, including reopposing Onagatheringstorm. Charlie Todd takes off a valuable 3lb now handicapping and another bold run is on the cards.

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1 Benson

2 Capilano Bridge

3 Breffniboy

4 Gowel Road

5 Severance

6 Good Time Johnny

7 Pyramid Place

8 Mackelduff

9 Small Bad Bob

10 Unexpected Party

11 Vis A Vis

12 Punxsutawney Phil

TIPPING VERDICT: Race six is the Paddy Power Feel Like A Favourite Intermediate Handicap Hurdle. Early prices have Unexpected Party as the favourite and he has potential, yet the field he defeated last time wasn’t the strongest and this is much more competitive. Mackelduff has the better recent form and the grey is reaping the rewards of a patient approach from connections and he is preferred of the two. Each-way potential lies with GOWEL ROAD for Sam Twiston-Davies, Al Dancer’s jockey in the feature. He shaped as though he would benefit from a step up in trip on his reappearance and gets that here. The five-year-old has begun to edge down the weights and there is more to come.


1 Backinforglory

2 Betty’s Belle

3 Bolintlea

4 Bonttay

5 Code Name Lise

6 Fairy Tree

7 Finest View

8 Fire Lake

9 Lady Excalibur

10 Lassue

11 Leading Theatre

12 Martha Willow

13 Mayhem Mya

14 Prime Time Lady

15 Signal Point

16 Starlyte

17 Time For Bell

18 Wheres Maud Gone

19 Whisky Express

TIPPING VERDICT: Bonntay benefited when her rival drifted across the track here most recently. A likeable sort nevertheless and two from two, she will have her supporters in the Listed Stirrups Restaurant And Cocktail Bar Evesham Mares’ Open NH Flat Race. She is one of three representatives from Fergal O’Brien’s stable, a regular producer of good horses in this sphere. Leading Theatre raced in the trainer’s colours when winning her two bumpers well and the daughter of Leading Light has a decent turn of foot. But Dan Skelton may have the answer to this with SIGNAL POINT, part-owned by his father and Olympian Nick. The Fame And Glory impressed with the way she powered into contention in a bumper at the April meeting. She has plenty of ability if a few months off help her see out the distance better. Wheres Maud Gone, fifth in a Grade 2 at Aintree, suggested a stiffer test like this would suit.

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