Cup Final can score in Pertemps Network Final
David Metcalf | March 16, 2016
Cup Final can collect in Pertemps Network Final
Cup Final can take advantage of what looks a lenient mark to provide leading Irish owner JP McManus with a fourth success in the Pertemps Network Final at the Cheltenham Festival (14.10).
McManus loves nothing more than to target the big handicaps, and has seen his famous green and gold colours carried to victory in this 3m contest by Danny Connors (1991), Creon (2004) and Kadoun (2006).
In Cup Final, he has a horse that has always been held in the highest regard and remains unexposed and open to further improvement after just six starts over the obstacles.
The Nicky Henderson trained gelding was sent off odds-on to make a winning debut over hurdles at Taunton back in November 2013, and to finish a four length runner-up to the now 162-rated Irving.
Sandown form very strong
Cup Final went on to shape with bags of promise when third on handicap debut at this venue, before opening opening his account in good style when cosily beating Drum Valley by two lengths at Sandown off a mark of 127.
Drum Valley is now rated 140, and the third home Uknowhatimeanharry – who was beaten a further 3 1/2 lengths – is unbeaten in four runs this season and rated 152.
That gave the form a rock solid look, and Cup Final duly took advantage of what looked a very workable mark of 132 to make a winning return to action at Musselburgh following a lengthy lay-off.
The seven-year-old only had to be driven out by jockey Barry Geraghty to score with more in hand than the winning margin suggests, and although up 6lb for for that victory he still looks potentially way ahead of the assessor off a revised rating of 138 and thrown-in at the weights.
Leave At Dawn and Missed Approach interesting contenders
McManus also has another interesting contender in the shape of Leave At Dawn, who is trained by the shrewd Charles Byrnes and won in good style over course and distance at The Open meeting in November.
The six-year-old has not been seen since finishing a fair fifth at Leoapardstown back in December of testing ground, and will appreciate the better going and has clearly been targeted at this race.
Missed Approach has a progressive profile having won four of his five starts under rules, and was mightily impressive last time out when romping to a facile 12 length success at Newbury.
That was just the second start over hurdles for the six-year-old, and the Warren Greatrex trained gelding remains open to any amount of further improvement and should be very competitive off a mark of 143.
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