Greatwood Gold Cup Handicap Chase Guide

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1. DOLOS

Trainer - Paul Nicholls

Jockey - Lorcan Williams

Highly commendable in his own right; Dolos has always run with great credit until appearing to come up short at the top level.

After a series of close efforts in Class Two's, he finally got his head in front at Sandown a month ago today in the same category and had plenty in hand when crossing the line.

Last raced at this level in last season's Grand Annual, when finishing a never competitive seventh, but deserves his chance to fire again.

2. WARRIORS TALE

Trainer - Paul Nicholls

Jockey - Noel Fehily

His quest towards a second crack at the Grand National in April was dealt a serious blow after a lacklustre display in the Listed Sky Bet Handicap last time out, where he was pulled up by Sean Bowen.

Prior to that he was a smart winner at the National venue in the Grand Sefton Handicap Chase in December, and now drops back in trip to get his season back on track.

Could be a player for a yard in stunning form of late.

3. MASTER DEE

Trainer - Fergal O'Brien

Jockey - Barry Geraghty

On and off as a chaser, and struggles to consolidate any of his performances by breaking off in between runs.

Last seen pulling-up at Market Rasen in October, he has been off the track since - yet that effort six months ago was his first start then of the season; his first appearance for eight months.

Has only run five times in the last two years, but he did catch the eye twelve months ago when landing the Grade Three Betdaq Handicap Chase.

Chances off that basis.

4. MERCIAN PRINCE

Trainer - Amy Murphy

Jockey - Jack Quinlan

Unfair to say he runs in the colours of Kalashnikov, because effectively this 8yo has been in better form that his stablemate in the last few months.

Kalashnikov has been beaten on his last two appearances at the racetrack, whilst Mercian Prince was heavily eased by Jack Quinlan when scorching clear at Kempton two weeks into the new year.

Although it was in a lower class, this gelded son of Midnight Legend deserves his climb in the rankings, and has gone up 10lb since his last win.

Going places.

5. JAVERT

Trainer - Emma Lavelle

Jockey - Tom Scudamore

Emma Lavelle has Paisley Park to look forward to at Cheltenham, but can collect some pre-Festival big race success in this with the lightly-raced Javert.

His mileage looks surprising low being a 10yo, with most of his outings coming over fences in preference to hurdles.

Second at Aintree to Frodon in the Grade Two Old Roan Chase speaks volumes, and was lucky to be one of the only finishers in the BetVictor Gold Cup at Cheltenham in November.

Comes back fresh, and his each way value should appeal to many.

6. SAN BENEDETO

Trainer - Paul Nicholls

Jockey - Nick Scholfield

Continues on the downward slope, and despite only being 8yo his best days seem far behind him.

Last seen finishing a long last of ten behind Cyrname in the bet365 Handicap Chase before the latter went onto land Grade One Ascot glory.

San Benedeto has been competing at the top level for some time now, but has not played a part in any of them since coming home best of the rest behind Altior in last term's Celebration Chase on the final day of the season.

Improvement unlikely.

7. WAR SOUND

Trainer - Philip Hobbs

Jockey - Richard Johnson

Despite his recent showings, War Sound has been very well fancied for this contest at Newbury.

Three efforts this season began with a promising beginning at Aintree - where he got the better of Warriors Tale who again lines up here.

He failed to feature in the Caspian Caviar Gold Cup at Cheltenham before failing to play a part in a Grade Three at the same venue.

Drops back in trip to his last winning distance, and the gamble continues.

8. VALDEZ

Trainer - Alan King

Jockey - Wayne Hutchinson

Very much the veteran in the field will be looking to recover from two uncharacteristic performances this season.

Fourth when last seen at Ascot in December, age may now be getting the better of him after spending such a long time on the sidelines.

Four outings in the last year after almost four years away from the track, he will need this as a confidence booster otherwise connections may ponder retirement.

Did complete a hat-trick of wins around this time of year back in 2014, so will need to rediscover that touch.

9. HAPPY DIVA

Trainer - Kerry Lee

Jockey - Richard Patrick

Useful mare who won well in a Listed contest back in January at Huntingdon, when getting the better of Jessica Harrington's Magic Of Light.

Two lengths down on Aso at Cheltenham on New Years Day when last racing in this company, so on that basis she could be in with a very good chance off two furlongs shorter.

Good course form with a solid second to Ms Parfois thirteen months ago, and looks a valiant contender here.

10. GALA BALL

Trainer - Philip Hobbs

Jockey - Tom O'Brien

Off the track a mouthwatering 707 days, the Philip Hobbs-trained 9yo will be looking to get back off the mark at the first time of asking on his long-awaited return.

In fact, this gelded son of Flemensfirth was last sighted racing at Newbury in March of 2017, when finishing second to Warriors Tale believe it or not, in a Class Two handicap.

The two clashed again in the meeting before that, where again the Paul Nicholls horse came out on top, and Gala Ball will really need to be in tip-top shape if playing a hand in this.

11. AZZURI

Trainer - Dan Skelton

Jockey - Harry Skelton

Three starts this term over jumps, and has had a few extra runs on the flat too.

Last seen two weeks ago finishing last of the finishers in a relatively simple Class Two Handicap, so plenty of ground to make up on that evidence.

Again last of those who crossed the line at Sandown at the beginning of the month, and more of the same is expected here.

12. VALUE AT RISK

Trainer - Value At Risk

Jockey - William Marshall

Another one for the Skelton's will be assisted by a valuable ten-pound claimer aboard, looking to back up his latest narrow success at Market Rasen.

In a very much depleted field as the race went on, the 10yo kept on well for pressure for his repeated rider a little over six weeks ago.

Much more required in this field however, but open to further progression.

13. DUSTIN DES MOTTES

Trainer - Dr Richard Newland

Jockey - Sam Twiston-Davies

After beginning the season so well in France for Francois Nicolle, this 6yo son of Kapgarde made the transition for Dr Richard Newland, where he is yet to win in three attempts.

He began life in England here at Newbury, when finishing third to Knocknanuss - leading fancy for the Arkle for trainer Gary Moore.

Built on that promise when finishing second to Azzerti at Ascot, but must recover from his disappointment in a Grade Three at Cheltenham on New Years Day.

14. NIGHTFLY

Trainer - Charlie Longsdon

Jockey - Jonathan Burke

Lovely mare for Charlie Longsdon, who was not quite on terms when upped to a Class One for the first time on her most recent appearance at Huntingdon.

Until then she had made some fine progression for her connections, winning a couple of races at Wetherby and at Ludlow.

Couple of decent placed efforts along the line as well, so in with every chance here of collecting some prize money.

15. SHANAHAN'S TURN

Trainer - Colin Tizzard

Jockey - Ben Godfrey

Out of sorts this season, failing to figure in any of his four starts for Colin Tizzard.

All four attempts have come at Class Two level, so a rise to a Grade Three seems deluded, given the fact he only beat two home at Chepstow just last week in a weak race.

Has not proved to be the Somerset trainer's best acquisition in recent years gone by, but carries a hefty reputation by sporting some very famous colours.

16. ZALVADOS

Trainer - Oliver Greenall

Jockey - Paddy Brennan

Proved rather unlucky on his three most recent starts for Oliver Greenall, finishing second at Ayr and Haydock twice.

All those efforts have come at Class Three level - two of which he was sent off a strong favourite.

Despite making a fair rise in the handicap, he is in at the foot of the weights, and can attempt to rediscover his useful course form that he has, which led him to a seventh place finish in one of the top handicaps around - last year's Betfair Hurdle.

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