THE Willie Mullins-trained On His Own heads the weights for the bet365 Gold Cup Chase at Sandown on Saturday as 40 remain in contention.
The 11-year-old will have to carry the welter burden of 11st 12lb which was carried to victory by Tidal Bay, who was also owned by Andrea and Graham Wylie, in 2012.
On His Own is a very smart performer, having finished second in last year’s Cheltenham Gold Cup, and is fresh from winning a Grade Three chase at Cork. Mullins took out his other entry, Perfect Gentleman, but other Irish-trained representatives are First Lieutenant, Grand Jesture, Vics Canvas, Pass The Hat, Guess Again and Heathfield.
However, Tony Martin has not confirmed the JP McManus-owned Gallant Oscar – a late withdrawal from the Coral Scottish Grand National at Ayr.
Ante-post favourite, the Lucy Wadham-trained Le Reve, has stood his ground, as have Warren Greatrex’s Paint The Clouds and 2013 Cheltenham Gold Cup hero Bobs Worth. Paul Nicholls, who has won this race with Tidal Bay and also Ad Hoc in 2003, has left in Grand National also-rans Rocky Creek and Unioniste plus Wonderful Charm and Just A Par. Nicholls said: “Unioniste could well run if they keep watering and the ground is good or easier. Rocky Creek is 50-50 at this stage, Just A Par could well run and Wonderful Charm is another possible after his fine effort the other day at Aintree.”
David Pipe has a strong contender in The Package, winner of the Kim Muir at Cheltenham but denied a place in the Grand National. “It was a shame that he narrowly missed the cut for the Grand National, although it does mean that he goes to Sandown a relatively fresh horse and he will appreciate the sound surface,” the Nicholashayne trainer told www.davidpipe.com.
Philip Hobbs has 2012 runner-up Roalco De Farges, Return Spring, Aintree winner Duke Of Lucca and Bertie Boru.
At Kempton today, Bold looks just the right type for the Complete Sika Sarnafil Maiden Stakes after a couple of promising juvenile efforts. A half-brother to Group One winner Proportional, he was unlucky to bump into subsequent Pattern-placed runner Restorer on his debut at Ffos Las, while soft ground was probably against him on his second outing at Nottingham. Bold certainly has the pedigree to make into a useful runner and it will be disappointing if an event like this is not within his compass.
Lady Lydia recently returned from a lengthy break and should be primed for action in the Tor Coatings Liquid Waterproofing Fillies’ Handicap at Kempton.
At Chelmsford at the beginning of this month, the four year old was clearly a bit ring rusty on her first run since last June but she stayed on well to finish just three-quarters of a length behind the winner. Lady Lydia was having her first crack at a mile that day so she deserved plenty of credit and must surely improve. upon that.