Racing: Couldnt Be Better hits top form

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Couldnt Be Better came back to his best to become the second British raider to succeed in the past five years in the Thyestes Handicap Chase at Gowran Park yesterday. Trained at Lambourn by Charlie Brooks and ridden by Graham Bradley, Couldnt Be Better, 7-1, stayed on to catch Corymandel (40-1) and book a possible crack at either the Gold Cup at Cheltenham or the Grand National.

Bradley said: "The horse has never been as well this season and the ground was just soft enough for him to be fully effective. It was a brave performance to defy 12 stone."

Brooks said: "The horse is in everywhere - Cheltenham, Liverpool, Haydock and Leopardstown. He will run wherever the ground is suitable, but I hope never again on good to firm going. I believed we had Couldnt Be Better back to his best, but you never know particularly with one which has a repeated bleeding problem."

Danoli may still run in the the Gold Cup despite Sunday's fall at Leopardstown. He runs next in the Hennessy Gold Cup at Leopardstown on 2 February. The other Festival option for Danoli is the Arkle Trophy. His trainer, Tom Foley, has ruled out the Sun Alliance Chase.

CHELTENHAM GOLD CUP (Cheltenham, Thursday, 13 March)

Ladbrokes: 7-2 Imperial Call, 7-1 One Man, 7-1 Coome Hill, 10-1 Addington Boy, Dorans Pride, The Grey Monk, 12-1 Mr Mulligan 14-1 Jodami, 16-1 Banjo, 20-1 Unguided Missile, 25-1 Couldnt Be Better, Master Oats, Maamur, 33- 1 others.

William Hill: 7-2 Imperial Call, 6-1 Coome Hill, One Man, 10-1 Addington Boy, Dorans Pride, The Grey Monk, 14-1 Mr Mulligan, 20-1 Banjo, Couldnt Be Better, Jodami, 25-1 Challenger Du Luc, Nahthen Lad, Unguided Missile, 33-1 others

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