Caspian Caviar Gold Cup Preview – Saturday 16th December
Last updated: December 12, 2017 by Leon Marshal
The feature race at Cheltenham on Saturday is the £120,000 Caspian Caviar Gold Cup over two and a half miles.
The race was originally known as the Massey Ferguson Gold Cup and dates back to 1963. Pendil won the race win 1973 while other notable winners include Beau Ranger (1984), Combs Ditch (1985), Pegwell Bay (1988) and Senor El Betrutti (1997). Poquelin became the first horse to win the race twice when successful in 2009 and 2010. He was skilfully prepared by Paul Nicholls who is the most successful trainer in the race with four wins, all coming in the past eight seasons. Four-year-old Frodon won last season for the Ditcheat stable, the youngest winner in the history of the race.
Clan Des Obeaux tops the weights
Nicholls has a strong entry again this year with top weight Clan Des Obeaux joined by Le Prezien and Romain De Senam. Harry Cobden rides Clan Des Obeaux who was an impressive winner at Haydock last time out. He recovered quickly from a stumble after the fifth fence to go on and beat Vintage Clouds by seven lengths.
On his previous start, the five-year-old had been narrowly beaten by Whisper at Kempton. That horse went on to finish a close second in the Ladbrokes Trophy at Newbury. Clan Des Obeaux has been raised 7lbs to a new career-high mark of 155. Le Prezien and Romain De Senam were third and fifth respectively behind Splash Of Ginge in the BetVictor Gold Cup last month. Le Prezien made a couple of costly early mistakes and did well to finish as close as he did. He has gone up 2lbs in the weights but should still be competitive. The testing ground was against Romain De Senam last time and he probably needs good ground to be at his best.
Starchitect finished runner-up in the BetVictor, beaten only a neck. The handicapper has given him 4lbs more to carry on Saturday. He made a minor mistake at the last and was battling back all the way to the line. Starchitect raced prominently throughout and may have had a harder race than one or two of those who finished behind.
Splash Of Ginge bids for another big prize
Nigel Twiston-Davies trains Splash Of Ginge who is bidding for a third major handicap success at Cheltenham. He won in January 2015 but lost his form over fences and reverted to hurdles. His win last month certainly took most pundits by surprise and he returned at 25-1. He has gone up 5lbs but remains 6lbs lower than his previous winning mark. Ballyalton finished fourth in the BetVictor with Foxtail Hill eighth and Guitar Pete ninth.
Foxtail Hill was particularly disappointing last time after a fine victory over Le Prezien in October. He was entitled to finish alongside that rival in the BetVictor but was a beaten horse at the third last. Guitar Pete is now trained by Nicky Richards having formerly been with Sandra Hughes in Ireland. He was hampered at the first fence last time and can be forgiven that performance.
Evan Williams saddles King’s Odyssey, an eight-year-old gelding by King’s Theatre. He was travelling well in this race a year ago when falling at the twelfth fence. An encouraging run on his return at Carlisle suggests that Williams has had this race in mind for him for some time. King’s Odyssey is 7lbs lower than last year and has to be respected.
Caspian Caviar Gold Cup Betting Tips
Le Prezien @5-1 Paddy Power
Splash Of Ginge @10-1
Each-way ¼ odds, 1,2,3
The Caspian Caviar Gold Cup is due off at 1.55 at Cheltenham on Saturday 16th December and will be televised live on ITV4.