Caspian Caviar Gold Cup Preview – Saturday 12th December

Last updated: December 10, 2020 by Leon Marshal

The big betting race at Cheltenham on Saturday is the Caspian Caviar Gold Cup, a handicap chase over two and a half miles. The race was originally run as the Massey Ferguson Gold Cup from 1963 to 1980 with notable victories for Flyingbolt (1965) and Pendil (1973). It has been run under several different sponsors since and remains one of the most prestigious early season handicap chases.

There have been two dual winners in Poquelin (2009, 2010) and Frodon (2016, 2018). Both were trained by Paul Nicholls who is the most successful trainer in the history of the event with five winners. Last year the race was won by Warthog, trained by David Pipe and ridden by David Noonan.

horses closeup

Master Tommytucker Tops The Weights At Cheltenham

Nicholls has elected to run top weight Master Tommytucker here in preference to Friday’s re-arranged Peterborough Chase. Frodon defied 11st 12lbs for the stable in 2018 but that was the highest weight carried to victory since Pendil won under 12st 7lbs in 1973. Master Tommytucker also looks to have a difficult task conceding 3lbs to Al Dancer. That horse gave him 6lbs and a two and three-quarter lengths beating at Newton Abbot in October.

Al Dancer was a late plunge for the BetVictor Gold Cup here last month before finishing third to Coole Cody. That race is often a good guide to the outcome here and he renews rivalry with the winner on 6lbs better terms. Coole Cody got away from the field midway through the race but is unlikely to be given too much rope on Saturday. He was a game winner for the in-form Evan Williams stable and bids for the big race double.

Southfield Stone provides Nicholls with a useful second string and is closely matched with Coole Cody on previous course form. The grey won by one and a half lengths at level weights and is only 2lbs worse off on Saturday. He was made to look very one-paced by Protektorat here next time but Bryony Frost will be hoping to add to her 2018 victory on Frodon.

Huntsman Son Up 9lbs For Wetherby Victory

Alex Hales withdrew Huntsman Son from last weekend’s Aintree meeting due to the testing conditions. He had been among the market leaders after an impressive victory at Wetherby in October, quickening clear to beat Two For Gold decisively. That win was even more creditable, given that it was his first run in almost two years. The handicapper has pushed him up 9lbs but he still looks capable of making a bold bid.

There has been ante-post support for Windsor Avenue, an eight-year-old trained by Brian Ellison. He also ran well after a lengthy absence, chasing home Imperial Aura at Carlisle. The winner is being talked about as a leading Ryanair Chase contender so it was no disgrace to finish a couple of lengths adrift in receipt of 4lbs. He has only limited experience over fences with two victories from five starts.

Cepage has not raced since finishing seventh at the Cheltenham Festival in March. He started favourite last year when fourth under top weight and won a Grade 3 chase here in January. He was also runner-up to Frodon in 2018 off a 12lbs lower mark but the handicapper may now have his measure. Romain De Senam was fifth here in 2017 and pulled up the following season. He has since moved to Dan Skelton’s yard and has slipped to his lowest rating since April 2019. His latest effort at Aintree offered signs of encouragement.

Irish raiders are rare in this race by Chatham Street Lad makes the trip across the Irish Sea for Michael Winters. He bolted up in heavy ground at Cork last month but the handicapper has taken note and put him up 13lbs.

Caspian Caviar Gold Cup Betting Tips

Huntsman Son @14-1 888Sport

Al Dancer @7-1

Coole Cody @15-2

Each-way ¼ odds, 1,2,3,4

The Caspian Caviar Gold Cup is due off at 1.50 at Cheltenham on Saturday 12th December and will be televised live on ITV4.