Racing: So who's going to win the Gold Cup now?

Click to follow
The Independent Online

For punters, even those who have already lost money ante-post on Best Mate, the big question now is how to soften the blow of his absence from the Gold Cup field with a little financial compensation next Friday afternoon. The race goes on and something has to win it.

For punters, even those who have already lost money ante-post on Best Mate, the big question now is how to soften the blow of his absence from the Gold Cup field with a little financial compensation next Friday afternoon. The race goes on and something has to win it.

With Best Mate out of the way there is plenty of encouragement for those who were uncertain participators to line up. Kicking King, ruled out by a throat infection two weeks ago, is now out of the sick bay and confirmed as a runner yesterday by his trainer, Tom Taaffe. The novices Ollie Magern and Trabolgan could also now step up from the newcomers' ranks to take on more experienced rivals and Philip Hobbs's Farmer Jack could yet become a supplementary entry for the race. Basically, anything with a leg at each corner is now in line to have a shot at the title.

Somewhat surprisingly then there was a less than positive statement forthcoming after Grey Abbey, a course winner last time out, worked after racing at Carlisle yesterday. Mindful of the horse's recent leg injury the message from the stable was "wait and see" how his injured limb shapes up before jumping into the fray.

One of the ironies is that the horse that now heads the Gold Cup market, Kingscliff, is much more fragile than Best Mate and has managed just one race this season and has had only four racecourse outings over the past two terms.

Strong Flow is not much more robust, having been off games for over a year before his encouraging return to action this January.

Kingscliff's trainer, Robert Alner, who also has last year's second, Sir Rembrandt, in the race, said: "I'm delighted with my two, I couldn't be more pleased, but now it's just day to day with the race so close, and I hope they both get there now.

"He's very fit and well in himself. We'll just keep him going, but you're always a bit cautious of doing too much," he said.

"Andrew [Thornton, the big-race jockey] is coming down to pop him over a couple of fences just to get his eye in, but we'll just keep him ticking away and be very careful with him."

Alner also issued an upbeat bulletin on Sir Rembrandt, who will be ridden by Mick Fitzgerald. "I couldn't be more pleased. Mick came down to ride him yesterday and he was delighted with him. Fingers crossed, he is coming back to his best. I would forget about the autumn with him as he's a horse that comes right in the spring.

"I'm seeing the same sort of signs from him as I did last spring. He is a much better horse at this time of year."

Comments