Southfield Theatre to give Gold Cup glory and Trainers’ title to Nicholls
David Metcalf | April 22, 2016
Southfield Theatre looks pure Gold at Sandown
Southfield Theatre looks to hold outstanding claims of providing trainer Paul Nicholls with back-to-back successes in the bet365 Gold Cup at Sandown (16.10).
The Ditcheat handler saddled outsider Just A Par to land the spoils 12 months ago, and in Southfield Theatre has a nicely handicapped sort who appears been laid out for the race.
A useful hurdler, the eight-year-old enjoyed a terrific first season over fences when winning three times.
Southfield Theatre also ran a blinder to finish a six-length runner-up to classy multiple Grade 1 winner Don Poli in the RSA Chase at the 2015 Cheltenham Festival when officially rated 154.
The gelding is now able to race off a mark of 150, and that makes the son of King’s Theatre well-treated on the pick of his form.
Cheltenham run an improved effort
Although below par in his first two starts this season, Southfield Theatre was in the process of putting in a much better performance last time out when brought down at the 13th in the Ultima Handicap Chase at the Cheltenham Festival following a break.
It’s clear that Nicholls has kept Southfield Theatre fresh for an end of season campaign, and he knows that success in this would enable him to fend off the challenge of Willie Mullins to retain his British jumps trainers’ title.
Southfield Theatre is sure to be primed to the minute for this 3m 5f stamina test, and with the drying ground in his favour everything looks in place for a huge run.
Theatre Guide and The Druids Nephew big players
There are plenty of dangers in a wide-open contest, and Theatre Guide and The Druids Nephew look lively outsiders.
The former is trained by Colin Tizzard who has enjoyed a terrific season, and ran a blinder when runner-up to Smad Place in the Hennessy at Newbury.
Theatre Guide went on finish a solid third to the same rival in a Grade 2 contest at Cheltenham before romping to a 10 length success at Kempton, and a mark of 150 should not be beyond him given that he has won off 1lb lower in the past.
Given a Chance by the handicapper
The Druids Nephew has a touch of class and has been given a chance by the handicapper.
Trained by Neil Mulholland, the nine-year-old landed the Ultima Chase at the 2015 Cheltenham Festival in terrific style off a mark of 146 and was far from disgraced on his penultimate outing when runner-up at Doncaster off 155.
The Druids Nephew is now able to race off a reduced rating of 148, just 2lb higher than when landing the Ultima, and that gives the gelding every chance at the weights.
Coral’s top tip: Southfield Theatre has the right profile for the race and can land the spoils to clinch the trainers’ title for Paul Nicholls. Theatre Guide and The Druids Nephew look each-way value.