The big race of the day is of course at Cheltenham and comes in the form of the Paddy Power Gold Cup Handicap Chase. It's a big pot at this fairly early stage of the national hunt season with just under £75,000 given to the winner.
The first two in this race last season return once again. Happy Diva and runner up Brelan D'as you could argue were a tad lucky to finish in the first two in last seasons renewal and with both finishing very tired at the end they look likely to repeat their performances now with more weight on their backs. With higher marks against them I really find it difficult to make a strong case for either and the market suggests that it would be a surprise to see them in the mix again.
Simply The Betts is current favourite and has to be respected winning twice last season at Cheltenham including in the Brown Advisory Plate giving trainer Harry Whittington his first wins at the festival. Looks a little short in price for my liking in a big field handicap where lots can go wrong and has gone up in the weights for his recent success can he back it up? I'm not so sure.
Mister Fisher‘s record when fresh doesn’t include a victory so maybe he’ll need a run but wouldn't be surprised to see him make the frame. Saint Sonnet was favourite earlier on in the week. Possibly due to Paul Nicholls flying start to the season but is starting to drift. Seventh in the Marsh Novice Chase last season they finished quite far behind that day so I'm not so sure this track suits Nicholls horse and although is still relatively young and lightly raced I feel different tracks will suit this horse.
My selection though has to be Slate House who looks a very tasty price currently at 10/1 (At time of writing) First of all Slate House without any doubt in my mind would have won this race last year had he not fallen two out. Although it wasn't the most fluent round of jumping that day Robbie Power had still not really asked the question prior to hitting the deck. Which if anything you could argue marks the performance up and still had plenty in hand up the home straight. Plenty of rain is expected from Saturday morning till the rest of the day which will only help Slate Houses chances.
If Robbie Power can get the horse into a much better jumping rhythm throughout the way round then Slate House has to have a massive chance and I'm surprised he isn't shorter in the betting market.
Of the outsiders if the expected rain gets right into the ground at a big price Aso looks to hold a solid chance (currently around the 20/1) a former Ryanair chase runner up who’s won round Cheltenham before. Venetia Williams horses tend to go well at the end of the year so for those looking for one at a bigger price Aso may do better than expected but I’m hoping Slate House can wipe the slate clean and Make amends for last years fall.