Caspian Caviar Gold Cup Preview

Paddy Power

The big betting race on Cheltenham’s Saturday card is the Grade 3 Caspian Caviar Handicap Chase at 1.50pm for which sixteen horses have been left in at the final declaration stage. First run in 1963 as the Massey Ferguson Gold Cup the two mile five furlong contest has produced some outstanding performances over the year’s, none-more-so than the second running in 1964 in which Arkle - the greatest of all chasers - suffered one of his rare defeats when, carrying the welter-burdon of 12st 10lb, ‘ himself ‘ failed by only a length to concede over two stone to the talented duo of Flying Wild and Buona Notte over a trip short of his best.

While the 2016 renewal includes nothing remotely comparable to the Tom Dreaper-trained superstar what it lacks in star quality it makes up for in it’s competitiveness. The Paddy Power Gold Cup at Cheltenham’s Open meeting always produces significant clues to the outcome of Saturday’s valuable handicap and that is likely to prove the case once again. The winner on that occasion, Taquin Du Seuil, will not attempt to give trainer Jonjo O’Neill his third victory in the race following Legal Right in 1999 and Exotic Dancer seven years later as connections have decided to wait for softer conditions leaving Paddy Power runner-up Village Vic to head the weights on 11st 12lb. Philip Hobbs’s nine-year-old won the race 12 months ago and will attempt to emulate Poquelin who is the only horse to have won the race on two occasions.

The mount of Richard Johnson faces a stiff task however as the son of Old Vic will have to shoulder 26lb more than last year and is set to meet the Paddy Power third, fourth and fifth on worse terms. The Paul Nicholls-trained Bouvreuil ( Paddy Power fifth ) has been all the rage in the ante-post market and currently heads the betting at a best price 13-2 with Betfair Sportsbook following the booking of top Irish jockey Barry Geraghty. Village Vic is available at 7-1 with most bookmakers including Betfred, Betvictor and Coral with Kylemore Lough, Aso and Aloomomo a point bigger with the majority of firms. The enigmatic Buywise is a 10-1 shot with Bet365, Skybet and Boylesports and it would be no surprise to see the gelding come out on top this time after so many near misses in similar races over the last two seasons.

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