We all love the Cheltenham Festival which takes place annually in March at Prestbury Park. However, we can’t overlook the November meeting which has a packed schedule of races and often throws up one or two hints at who could go home with the big prizes four months later.
Undoubtedly, one of the biggest races on the card is the Paddy Power Gold Cup Handicap Chase. Run on the old course over 2m4f, for 2021 the race is scheduled to take place on Saturday, 13th November. It is the highlight of Day 2 and is the fourth race of the day.
With £160,000 up for grabs, the winner will take home just over £90K with the remaining prize money being divvied up between those that finish up to 8th place.
2021 Paddy Power Gold Cup Entries
This year has been a bumper one for entries with 45 potential runners getting the green light. As this is a handicapped chase, the horses were weighted based on their Official Rating.
The highest-rated horse entered for 2021 was Espoir De Romay from trainer Kim Bailey. On an OR of 160, he was given the top weight of 11 stone 12lbs. However, Espoir De Romay was not declared and neither was the next on the original list of entries – Cepage from Venetia Williams.
That means Assemble from Joseph O’Brien was bumped up from 11-08 to top weight of 11-12. The list descends all the way down to Milanford from trainer Ralph Smith. Though we should note that after the first round of declarations, 24 horses remained in contention for a place and the race has a maximum number of runners of 20.
Other notable entries include Protektorat, the ante-post race favourite on odds of 5/1. Trained by Dan Skelton, the six-year-old was last seen at Aintree back in April when he won a prominent Grade 1 Novice’s Chase.
Favourites For The Race
As mentioned above, Protektorat is the ante-post race favourite. Co-owned by Sir Alex Ferguson, this is a big test of the young chaser who has previously only been tested as a novice. That said, he’s a class horse and the odds reflect that.
Lalor joins him in the betting markets on ante-post odds of 5/1, down from 8/1 so clearly he has some fans! Previously trained by Kayley Woollacott, Lalor moved to Paul Nicholls on October 26th so this will be his first trip out for his new yard.
Given that he pulled up twice on the bounce at the end of last season, he’s going to have to up his game to justify such short odds.
One of the potential runners that is a little overlooked in the betting is Coole Cody who has moved from a general 20/1 to 14/1 antepost. He actually won this race last year and Cheltenham is definitely his stomping ground.
He has also already had a spin around the course over hurdles, finishing second last month so while he is not a favourite, he is very good value.
Tips For The Paddy Power Gold Cup
Despite the relatively short distance of the race, compared to the likes of the Grand National, winners still tend to carry lower weights. Horses running with 11 stone or less win more often, with only two winners from the last ten carrying more.
Protektorat may be the favourite but at 6-years-old, the odds are stacked against him. Only three horses that age have won the race in the last 20 renewals. Seven and eight-year-olds tend to dominate the winner’s enclosure in this race with 12 of the last 20 winners tallying into that age bracket.
The leading trainer in the race is the legendary Martin Pipe with 8 wins. More recently Jonjo O’Neill and Paul Nicholls have both won it twice. For 2021 O’Neill hasn’t any entries but Nicholls leads the way with five of them, increasing his chances of a win!
Paint The Dream from Fergal O’Brien, Manofthemountain from Emma Lavelle and Coole Cody have all made great starts to the season and good form is always an added bonus going into these competitive races.
As the entries get whittled down, we will look at who is really in contention and who could be reigning victorious on the 13th of November.