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Friday 13 November 2015

2:25 Cheltenham, Saturday, November 14

The Paddy Power Gold Cup is the first major handicap chase of the season but, despite its competitive nature, hasn’t thrown up many long-priced winners in recent years. However, history is, as they say, in the past, so we’ve continued undaunted in our quest for a few that we think could go well at rewarding odds.

The first one that jumps off the page is Malcolm Jefferson’s progressive 7-year-old Oscar Rock, who can be backed at 16/1 in a couple of places. The son of high-class jumps stallion Oscar has only had five starts over fences, but travelled beautifully and won as he pleased on his seasonal debut at Market Rasen 7 weeks ago. He’s only finished outside the first three once in 13 completed starts, acts on any ground and looks excellent value to defy an 8lb rise in the weights.

Darna (25/1) has been off the course since April, but had been absent for over two years prior to winning on his seasonal debut at Sedgefield last November, so probably doesn’t take much preparation. Kim Bailey’s 9-year-old is closely handicapped with Monetaire and Buywise on their running at the Cheltenham Festival last March, but is twice the price of either of his rivals, so looks good value-for-money. He has an excellent wins-to-runs ratio and appears best fresh, so his price is something of a mystery.

For a horse that’s never won beyond 2 miles 5 furlongs, Double Ross (20/1) ran an eye-catching race over 3 miles at Ascot two weeks ago, running on under pressure from the second last to take second place once the race was effectively over. The son of Double Eclipse hasn’t won for a while, but back at a more suitable distance on a track where he’s won three times in the past he could surprise a few better-fancied rivals.

Selections: Cheltenham 2.25 Oscar Rock, Darna, Double Ross


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