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Three Cheltenham hot shots for Paddy Power Gold Cup

There’s a fantastic weekend of racing action ahead, but it’s Cheltenham’s Open Meeting that tops the bill on Saturday with multiple top class races boasting the best jumps trainers on the circuit.

Here, we take a closer look at the day’s feature, the Paddy Power Gold Cup Chase, and provide you with some of the top picks in the hope you can come away with a winner.

Market Leader: Kings Palace

RACING

There are no surprises at the head of the market, as Kings Palace gets the early vote of confidence from backers. The David Pipe-trained seven-year-old was completely outclassed when last seen in the Grade 1 RSA Chase during the Cheltenham Festival back in March, but he takes a drop in class for this and has every chance with our very own blogger Tom Scudamore doing the steering.

Kings Palace a multiple winner at this course, with his impressive stamina suited to long distance races, so it’s a slight concern that he now drops to two-and-a-half miles for the very first time. There’s no doubt he’ll stay the trip, but there will be questions marks over whether he has the turn of foot to win this one. Rain is expected, though, and he’ll be grateful for every drop of it in the lead up, so good to soft or softer ground will give Kings Palace a great chance.

Biggest Danger: Irish Cavalier

Stratford -On-Avon

The field is rife with dangers, but none more so than Rebecca Curtis’ Irish Cavalier. This consistent six-year-old won a Listed race over course and distance during the Festival. Irish Cavalier’s reappearance win at Newton Abbot last month, where he left the re-opposing Art Mauresque and Cloud Creeper in his wake, looked a solid piece of work in preparation for this race.

The form line with Valseur Lido suggests that Kings Palace has the upper-hand on him, but his defeat to Willy Mullins’ charge at Punchestown was over three miles and he’s back at his optimum trip for this. He’s a massive 19lbs higher in the ratings than he was when winning in March, but Paul Townend knows this horse well and can get the best out of Irish Cavalier.

One to Watch: Double Ross

Cheltenham new years day

These large-field handicap chases tend to throw up a shock or two from time to time, so it could also pay to look at some of the outsiders for this race. Of those, Double Ross could be worth an each-way tipple. This experienced nine-year-old has ran this course plenty of times and been fairly consistent, if you excuse his poor run in the Ryanair Chase (in which he was the 66/1 outsider).

A rest since looks to have done him a world of good, as he finished an impressive second when making his season debut in a Grade 3 at Ascot last month. Double Ross is up 3lbs for that effort, but the claim of talented young jockey Ryan Hatch should be enough to give him a chance here, and he can put in a big run for trainer Nigel Twiston-Davies at nice odds.

Whatever the outcome, it looks sure to be a fascinating contest, and you can get all of your bets on for this race with us at Coral. Good luck!

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