Racing: Our Vic favourite to follow up

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The Independent Online

Our Vic is 3-1 favourite with Victor Chandler to defy top weight of 11st 12lb in Saturday's Robin Cook Memorial Gold Cup at Cheltenham.

Our Vic was heavily backed when making a successful seasonal reappearance in the Paddy Power Gold Cup over course and distance last month when his jumping, in stark contrast to last season, was almost faultless.

The seven-year-old's trainer, Martin Pipe, has three other entries in the first running of the two-mile, five furlong chase staged in memory of the former foreign secretary and racing enthusiast Robin Cook who died suddenly in August.

Pipe's other possible runners are It Takes Time, Therealbandit and Tango Royal and while the yard rarely makes definite running plans public Our Vic's owner, David Johnson, said yesterday: "Our Vic has gone up 9lb for having won the Paddy Power Gold Cup, but he's a big horse and should carry the extra weight."

Thisthatandtother and Lacdoudal are next in Chandler's betting at 7-1. The latter's trainer Philip Hobbs commented: "I expect Lacdoudal will run. He's come out of his race at Sandown on Friday very well. Made In Japan could also line-up. He's also got the option of the two-mile Jenny Mould Memorial Chase at Cheltenham on Saturday as well."

Nicky Henderson, who has won Saturday's race twice with Iris Royal [2003] and Fondmort [2002] when it was known as the Bonusprint Gold Cup, has those two entered again plus Scots Grey.

Henderson said yesterday: "All three are probable runners at the moment. The two definites are Fondmort and Scots Grey. Fondmort has 11st 6lb and this is the first time for a while he hasn't carried top weight or near top weight. He was fourth in the Paddy Power Gold Cup and Mick Fitzgerald sat on him on Saturday and we were very pleased with him.

"I need to talk to the owner of Iris Royal [Sir Robert Ogden] as he is also entered in the Mears Group Handicap Chase at Cheltenham on Friday."

Saturday's Bula Hurdle at Cheltenham has attracted 11 entries, but Champion Hurdle runner-up Harchibald, runner-up is doubtful according to County Meath trainer Noel Meade. "We will see what the ground does," explained Meade, "but he might just wait until Christmas. I would say he was only 50-50. I'm not mad about running him at Cheltenham and again in the December Festival Hurdle at Leopardstown at Christmas."

Flat jockey Robert Winston returned to action at Lingfield yesterday four months after breaking his jaw in a fall at Ayr, but failed to ride a winner.

Silent Witness will not bid for a hat-trick of wins in the Cathay Pacific Hong Kong Sprint at Sha Tin after being withdrawn from Sunday's race, but Ed Dunlop has confirmed that Ouija Board will a runner in the Hong Kong Vase on the same day. Coral make her the 2-1 favourite

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