Pandorama '50-50' for Gold Cup

A Gold Cup is the very least Noel Meade might consider sufficient redress for his misfortunes, over the years, at Cheltenham. With seven weeks to go to this year's Festival, however, there was an alarming sense yesterday that Pandorama must overcome the same malevolent forces that have confined one of Ireland's most accomplished trainers to just three winners at the meeting.

Pandorama's authoritative success at the Leopardstown Christmas meeting announced him as Ireland's best Gold Cup prospect since Kicking King and War Of Attrition consecutively exported the trophy in 2005 and 2006. He was duly made hot favourite for the Hennessy Gold Cup, back over the same course this Sunday, but will now miss that race and seems by no means certain to make it to Cheltenham in March.

His owner, Robert Bagnall, expressed wary optimism when disclosing Pandorama's lameness to At The Races. "We hope he has just bruised his hock," he said. "We're going to rest him for a week, but it's my lifetime ambition to get to Cheltenham and Noel thinks and hopes this is just a temporary setback. He hopes he can get him back in training after a week and thinks the chances are a good 50-50 that we can get him to the Gold Cup."

A dispiriting day for the Irish challenge at the Festival was compounded by the news Flat Out, rated its strongest contender for the Irish Independent Arkle Trophy, will not run again this season. Still on the bridle when unseating his rider two out at Leopardstown on Sunday, Flat Out emerged with what his trainer, Willie Mullins, describes as a "little chip fracture on a hind leg".

Horses will always give their handlers problems and Martin Keighley was aghast yesterday morning when hearing a cough from his stable star, Champion Court. He promptly scratched the horse from his intended engagement in the opener at Leicester, which left the way open for Tornado Bob to make all for an easy success for Donald McCain.

Nor do horses permit complacency, even when clear and going well between the last two hurdles. That was the case with Invictus in the second division of the Leicester race, when he abruptly jinked right and shot Robert Thornton out of the saddle. For Thornton and trainer Alan King, the sensation was doubtless matched by the announcement later in the day that Voy Por Ustedes, their dual Festival winner, has returned to training after injury with Nicky Henderson.

Turf account

Nap

Araldur (1.15 Huntingdon) Experienced type for a race like this and showed enough zip against decent yardstick last time to warrant perseverance.

Next best

I Can Run Can You (4.15 Huntingdon) Finished miles clear of the rest when bumping into a well-treated rival at Southwell last week.

One to watch

Tenor Nivernais (Venetia Williams) Finished strongly at Wincanton on Saturday, promising dividends for a stiffer test.

Where the money's going

Wogan is 12-1 from 25-1 with the sponsors for the Sky Bet Chase on Saturday.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
The data shows that the number of “unlawfully” large infant classes has doubled in the last 12 months alone
i100Mike Stuchbery, a teacher in Great Yarmouth, said he received abuse
Arts and Entertainment
The starship in Star Wars: The Force Awakens
filmsThe first glimpse of JJ Abrams' new film has been released online
Sport
Rio Ferdinand returns for QPR
sportRio Ferdinand returns from his three-game suspension today
News
The Speaker of the House will takes his turn as guest editor of the Today programme
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
St Peter’s Seminary in Cardross. Argyll, has remained derelict for more than 25 years
arts + ents
News
people

Watch the spoof Thanksgiving segment filmed for Live!
Sport
Billy Twelvetrees will start for England against Australia tomorrow with Owen Farrell dropping to the bench
rugbyEngland need a victory against Australia today
Arts and Entertainment
The cover of The Guest Cat – expect to see it everywhere
books
Sport
Tyson Fury poses outside the Imperial War Museum in south London ahead of his fight against Dereck Chisora
boxingAll British heavyweight clash gets underway on Saturday night
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Opilio Recruitment: QA Automation Engineer

£30k - 38k per year + Benefits: Opilio Recruitment: An award-winning consume...

Opilio Recruitment: UX & Design Specialist

£40k - 45k per year + Benefits: Opilio Recruitment: A fantastic opportunity ...

Opilio Recruitment: Publishing Application Support Analyst

£30k - 35k per year + Benefits: Opilio Recruitment: We’re currently re...

Opilio Recruitment: Digital Marketing Manager

£35k - 45k per year + benefits: Opilio Recruitment: A fantastic opportunity ...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: ‘We give them hope. They come to us when no one else can help’

Christmas Appeal

Meet the charity giving homeless veterans hope – and who they turn to when no one else can help
Should doctors and patients learn to plan humane, happier endings rather than trying to prolong life?

Is it always right to try to prolong life?

Most of us would prefer to die in our own beds, with our families beside us. But, as a GP, Margaret McCartney sees too many end their days in a medicalised battle
Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night - is that what it takes for women to get to the top?

What does it take for women to get to the top?

Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night and told women they had to do more if they wanted to get on
Christmas jumper craze: Inside the UK factory behind this year's multicultural must-have

Knitting pretty: British Christmas Jumpers

Simmy Richman visits Jack Masters, the company behind this year's multicultural must-have
French chefs have launched a campaign to end violence in kitchens - should British restaurants follow suit?

French chefs campaign against bullying

A group of top chefs signed a manifesto against violence in kitchens following the sacking of a chef at a Paris restaurant for scalding his kitchen assistant with a white-hot spoon
Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour War and Peace on New Year's Day as Controller warns of cuts

Just what you need on a New Year hangover...

Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour adaptation of War and Peace on first day of 2015
Cuba set to stage its first US musical in 50 years

Cuba to stage first US musical in 50 years

Claire Allfree finds out if the new production of Rent will hit the right note in Havana
Christmas 2014: 10 best educational toys

Learn and play: 10 best educational toys

Of course you want them to have fun, but even better if they can learn at the same time
Paul Scholes column: I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season

Paul Scholes column

I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season
Lewis Moody column: Stuart Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

Lewis Moody: Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

So what must the red-rose do differently? They have to take the points on offer 
Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

It's in all our interests to look after servicemen and women who fall on hard times, say party leaders
Millionaire Sol Campbell wades into wealthy backlash against Labour's mansion tax

Sol Campbell cries foul at Labour's mansion tax

The former England defender joins Myleene Klass, Griff Rhys Jones and Melvyn Bragg in criticising proposals
Nicolas Sarkozy returns: The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?

Sarkozy returns

The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?
Is the criticism of Ed Miliband a coded form of anti-Semitism?

Is the criticism of Miliband anti-Semitic?

Attacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But is the criticism more sinister?
Ouija boards are the must-have gift this Christmas, fuelled by a schlock horror film

Ouija boards are the must-have festive gift

Simon Usborne explores the appeal - and mysteries - of a century-old parlour game