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Johns Spirit aiming to bag more Gold at Cheltenham

Johns Spirit has a tremendous record at Cheltenham, and Coral make him their 8/1 joint-second favourite to land back-to-back successes in the Paddy Power Gold Cup on Saturday, November 15th.

The Jonjo O’Neill trained gelding is bidding to become the sixth dual winner of the extended 2m 4f handicap chase, and the first since Cyfor Malta in 2002.

The seven-year-old beat Colour Squadron in the race 12 months ago off a mark of 139 and now has to race off 17lb higher.

However, the son of Gold Well looked better than ever when scoring over course and distance on seasonal reappearance last month and comes alive at the venue.

Johns Spirit has won three of his last four runs over course and distance and finished a fine fourth of 23 behind Ballynagour in the Byrne Group Plate at the Festival on the other occasion.

There could also be more improvement to come from Johns Spirit, and he looks a major player in the hands of jockey Richie McLernon.

Present View heads the betting at 6/1 with Coral, and warmed up for the race with an excellent second in a novice hurdle at the track last month.

That run should have put the Jamie Snowdon trained six-year-old spot on, and his current mark of 144 looks exploitable following a highly progressive first season over fences which culminated with victory at the Festival in the Listed Rewards4Racing Handicap Chase.

Present View showed a good attitude to beat Attaglance by 1/2 a length, and although now 7lb higher should have plenty more to offer after just five starts over fences.

Among other leading fancies are Buywise (8/1), Oscar Whisky (10/1) and Uxizandre (10/1).

Buywise is trained by Evan Williams who is hoping that he will be sharp enough to give a good account of himself following a win over hurdles at Ludlow last month.

That was the gelding’s first race since scoring over fences at this venue in April, and the son of Tikkanen has clearly been laid out for the contest.

The Alan King trained Uxizandre beat Oscar Whisky by 1/2 lengths in the Manifesto Novices’ Chase at Aintree in April, but is set to meet that rival on 2lb worse terms.

That makes the pair, who were very useful novices last season, hard to split and they both command the utmost respect in what is a fiercely competitive renewal.