Cheltenham Gold Cup 2012 Horse by Horse Guide
Racing Editor for bettingexpert. Always searching for winners "against the crowd" and trying to find the value.
With the Cheltenham Festival in full swing, Stephen continues our blog coverage this week with a horse by horse preview for Friday's running of the 2012 Gold Cup.
Friday's Blue Riband is the highlight of the NH season. Here is our exclusive BettingExpert runner by runner guide with the best price available.
LONG RUN : 2-1
Last years epic winner has not impressed all in the run-up to this years renewal, tasting defeat twice at the hands of the enterprisingly ridden Kauto Star and only winning in workmanlike fashion at Newbury. He has been trained for this day however, will love the drying ground, and is still open to improvement given his lightly raced profile and age. 2-1 seems a more than fair price with the bookmakers engaged in a welcome price war this week.
KAUTO STAR : 4-1
Injury scares after a heavy schooling fall in the past few weeks have blighted his preparation, but team Nicholls report him in rude health now and he seems sure to give his army of supporters a bold run under another positive ride. However, he cant be getting any better at this stage of his career and I suspect this will be one run too many at the end of a fantastic career. A place lay at a shade of odds-on may be a shrewd investment.
BURTON PORT : 7-1
Returned from a long absence to press Long Run hard at Newbury and has decent form claims if avoiding the dreaded bounce factor on his second run back. Has always been held in the highest regard at home and has the valuable assistance of Barry Geraghty on drying ground that seems ideal.
WEIRD AL : 12-1
A market springer in the past few weeks as punters search for something each-way against the more established old guard. Donald McCain has his string in terrific form of late and this lightly raced chaser had been unbeaten at Cheltenham until a poor effort in this contest last season. He seems held on form behind the principals in October and November, but has a fine record fresh and could well suprise under the excellent Jason Maguire.
MIDNIGHT CHASE : 12-1
Frontrunner from a small yard is a course specialist who will love the drying conditions and seems sure to set a blistering pace. Fast jumping is his best asset and he appeared better than ever when landing the Argento here last time. He struggled to lay up with the best when tried in this last season and might need trouble in behind to get loose.
QUEL ESPRIT : 16-1
Irish raider has form on a much softer surface and was all out to land a below par Irish Hennessy at Leropardstown in February. Stamina is far from assured round here and the faster ground seems unlikely to suit. Hard to fancy.
SYNCHRONISED : 16-1
Hasnt been pleasing at home since running out a suprise winner of the Grade One Lexus Chase and seems priced up on connections (AP McCoy, Jonjo, JP) rather than anything in the formbook.
WHAT A FRIEND : 25-1
Stepped forward when third behind Long Run at Newbury but that form behind the winner maybe misleading and hasnt always seemed the most genuine for pressure. The Grand National may be on the agenda after this and he might be worth a speculative interest for Aintree as his odds may crumble if he shows up well on Friday.
DIAMOND HARRY : 33-1
Always been held in high regard and better ground promises to suit. Might be the best of the outsiders if over the injury problems that have limited his appearances this term.
TIME FOR RUPERT : 50-1
Very disappointing earlier in the season when well held by the principals. Has flopped here in the past and best efforts come when bossing lesser rivals.
CARRUTHERS : 50-1
Hennessy winner from the front in game style is totally outclassed and has spoiler value only if ridden to pester Midnight Chase et al.
THE GIANT BOLSTER : 50-1
Clocked a rapid time when winning a useful handicap at this course earlier in the season and wasnt discredited when fourth raised in class next time out. He is the apple of his small trainers eye, and a hefty cigar will be lit up if his suspect fencing stands up to this stiff examination.
CHINA ROCK : 66-1
Stamina seems unlikely to last out given his freegoing nature and has many lengths to find with other Irish runners.
KNOCKARA BEAU : 100-1
George Charlton ended a long losibng run recently but his stable star will get totally outpaced in this Grade One.
THE MIDNIGHT CLUB : 100-1
Safely held and would be a result to end all results for the layers.
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