Abragante, "thrown in" for the Paddy Power Gold Cup at Cheltenham on Saturday after his facile success at Wincanton three days ago, is likely to be eliminated from the race – precisely because he does not have enough weight. He needs 14 horses to be withdrawn if he is to make the cut, six more than another leading fancy, Granit Jack.
"The handicapper has raised him 14lb for that win, so he is well in at the weights," David Pipe, his trainer, said yesterday. "But I don't think he will get in.
If he does, he will probably run. It's ironic that the two short-priced favourites look like not getting in."
Pipe can still rely on Vodka Bleu, who was foiled only by Exotic Dancer last year. "He's very well and will like the ground," Pipe said. "I just hope he doesn't come up against the Gold Cup runner-up again this year. He is only 1lb higher and if he runs a similar race then he will have to go close. His form did tail-off afterwards but he's back down in the weights and has shown us he is as well as ever at home. He will love conditions and seems to go well fresh."
As a result of the uncertainty over the participation of the ante-post market leaders, the sponsors have seen support for Jonjo O'Neill's Don't Push It. He is now 4-1 favourite, with Granit Jack and Abragante next best in the market at 5-1. They then bet: 7-1 L'Antartique, 10-1 Copsale Lad, 12-1 Crozan, Knowhere, Vodka Bleu, 14-1 others.