Racing: Coral to top Tim

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THE SEARCH for patterns, for ways of making sense of the apparent chaos of it all, is almost a religion for many punters. All too often, though, greed overtakes sense, and they convince themselves that they have unearthed a basic truth on the scantest evidence.

Consider the idea that the Gold Cup now tends to be won by capable handicappers. It stems solely from the recent successes of Charter Party, Norton's Coin and Cool Ground, and conveniently ignores such as Dawn Run, Burrough Hill Lad and Desert Orchid, yet the believers have already pinpointed Tipping Tim as this year's prime candidate.

Tipping Tim is certainly improving, stays grimly, and loves Cheltenham, but nothing he has done to date puts him within a stone of Gold Cup class. Next Saturday, at jumping's headquarters, he has a chance to remedy that situation when he carries top weight in the A F Budge Gold Cup.

After his recent Mackeson Gold Cup win, many will expect his bandwagon to roll on, but this is a stern question to ask a seven-year-old. Tipping Tim will run well, but Another Coral, a Cheltenham specialist, can expose his limitations.

Pat's Jester (1.55) should complete his King George preparation with success in the Tommy Whittle Chase at Haydock on Wednesday. Bollin William (1.25) can take the Waterloo Hurdle the same day, while Kentish Piper (1.30 Warwick, Monday) and Master's Crown (1.10 Market Rasen, Tuesday) will also go close.