The 2022 Coral Gold Cup takes centre stage at Newbury on Saturday and this year's Tipstar winner Dan Overall has provided his verdict on each contender plus reveals who he is siding with in the £250,000 showpiece.
16 runners have been declared for what looks a fiercely competitive contest, with five contenders currently vying for favouritism.
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Trainer: Venetia Williams. Jockey: Miss Lucy Turner. General odds: 33-1.
Has won twice at Newbury, with the first being his mightily impressive British debut, while the latter came at this meeting last year when he scored over two-and-a-half miles off a rating of 151. A close second off 159 followed before respectable efforts in Grade One company on his past two starts.
This will be his first attempt over three miles, which has looked as if it could suit on occasions, while his pedigree would offer some encouragement about his chances of staying.
The yard are finally back amongst the winners but, even still, it would take a monumental effort to win this from a rating of 160 on his seasonal reappearance.
Trainer: Joe Tizzard. Jockey: Brendan Powell. General odds: 10-1.
Watch a full replay of last year's race
Second in this race 12 months ago, he and Cloudy Glen pulled the best part of 30 lengths clear of the remainder. While that was certainly a good effort, the form of last year’s renewal is questionable at best.
Admittedly, he did run well subsequently, including when fifth in the Grand National and his seasonal reappearance over hurdles was perfectly respectable (eight of the past ten winners had already raced that season).
A good run seems likely again, although the handicapper seems to have his measure and I expect he will find a few too good.
Trainer: Paul Nicholls. Jockey: Adrian Heskin. General odds: 7-1.
Despite market support, he reportedly ran exactly as Paul Nicholls expected when finishing third in the West Yorkshire Hurdle on his return, and this has clearly been his target for some time.
Twice a Grade Two winner as a novice chaser, he beat the now 156-rated Does He Know in the first of those (with Oscar Elite going well when falling at the third last). He ran well for a long way in the Brown Advisory where - although he has handled soft ground in the past - the testing conditions probably weren’t to his liking there, and I suspect he is a better horse on a sounder surface, which he should get here.
A rating of 151 isn’t a gift, but he’s been very consistent throughout his career thus far and has a nice profile for this race.
Trainer: Joe Tizzard. Jockey: Freddie Gingell. General odds: 25-1.
A ten-year-old with a loyal fanbase, he won the 1965 Chase at Ascot on his seasonal reappearance 12 months ago, and that was undoubtedly his best performance last season, but the wheels didn’t completely fall off and his record fresh is encouraging. However, as mentioned, it is generally beneficial to arrive here having had a prep-run.
A rating of 150 is certainly workable based upon his previous form, but he was well behind a few of these in the Ultima, and whereas those rivals are generally on an upward curve, Lostintranslation’s best days look to be behind him, for all that he would be a popular winner.
Trainer: Joseph O’Brien. Jockey: J J Slevin. General odds: 10-1.
Busselton was successful in the Kerry National when last seen
Has achieved a lot over fences considering that he is only a five-year-old, and his novice campaign saw him run well behind the likes of Ciel De Neige and Blue Lord before thriving once upped in trip in handicap company.
Having finished second in his first two handicap chases, he looked booked for second yet again in the Kerry National before Hewick’s unfortunate fall at the last. Hewick’s subsequent American Grand National victory (and visit to the pub!) have been well documented, and the race has a fairly solid look to it.
Tough and still unexposed, he is a likeable type, although the overall record of the Irish (just one win this century) is a concern and he would be the first five-year-old to win the race. Still, he is not discounted completely.
Trainer: Alan King. Jockey: Tom Cannon. General odds: 40-1.
Given he has seemingly been at his best when fresh in recent years, it was concerning to see him beaten so comprehensively in the Badger Beer Chase, although he was hampered on a couple of occasions.
He has failed to complete on both attempts in this race – he unseated in 2020 before pulling up in 2021 – and while the likely good ground will be in his favour, he has a patchy profile these days. He is also 2lb wrong at the weights, and would be a surprise winner.
Trainer: Lucinda Russell. Jockey: Derek Fox. General odds: 7-1.
Derek Fox produced one of the rides of the season to win the Ultima aboard Corach Rambler last season; a race that may hold the key to this event.
That is not to discredit the effort of the eight-year-old, who did remarkably well to come from a near impossible position to win a race that nearly always rewards horses who are ridden prominently.
Similar comments apply to this race, particularly on good ground, but he has proven that he relishes coming through runners, although it would be some feat to do it again.
The 7lb rise for his Ultima success is perfectly fair and, following a pipe opener, he has to be considered.
Trainer: Dan Skelton. Jockey: Harry Skelton. General odds: 8-1.
As so many of Dan Skelton’s new recruits do, he made an immediate impact for the yard when winning first time out at Bangor in fine style.
It is difficult to assess exactly what he achieved that day, with just five of the twelve runners completing in testing conditions, but that was just his eighth start over fences, and he is officially 4lb well in.
While his trainer seems optimistic about his chances of handling better ground, his best form is unquestionably on softer ground than he is likely to encounter here, which is a concern.
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Trainer: David Pipe. Jockey: David Noonan. General odds: 15-2.
Travelled smoothly to close to within a neck of the eventual winner, Cloudy Glen, when falling at the fourth last in this race 12 months ago.
Subsequent efforts over fences suggested that, despite looking like he was about to mount a serious challenge, he may not have won given he was beaten by 10 lengths off the same rating in the Tommy Whittle and the Peter Marsh.
Connections have taken the same route as they did last season by running in the Pertemps Qualifier at Aintree as a prep run in which he went two places better this time around, springing a surprise win in the process.
He arrives here on a 4lb lower mark than last year on what will be just his eighth start over fences, and he would be only the second horse older than eight to win this since Denman’s historic victory in 2009.
Trainer: Sam Thomas. Jockey: Sam Twiston-Davies. General odds: 12-1.
Was trained to be as ready as possible for Ascot to give him the best possible chance of being high enough in the weights to run here. As it turns out, he didn’t need to win but it proved he is a progressive staying chaser, while also providing another boost to last season’s Ultima.
The 5lb rise for his recent win is fair and, given this will be just his fourth start in a handicap over three miles or further, he’s another who comes here with potential.
He was several lengths behind the reopposing front three in the Ultima - Corach Rambler, Gericault Roque and Oscar Elite - and meets them on worse terms here.
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Trainer: David Pipe. Jockey: Tom Scudamore. General odds: 10-1.
The bridesmaid of the staying handicap chase division last season, finishing second on all four attempts over fences at trips of three miles and further.
On the surface, you’d be inclined to question his constitution, but his attitude isn’t in doubt - he just kept bumping into progressive types that were producing career best efforts.
His form has been franked repeatedly, and it seems only a matter of time before he’s winning over fences.
David Pipe reported that he had expected a better performance on his seasonal reappearance but that wouldn’t be too much of a concern given that this race has always been the target.
He may prefer the ground slightly softer but, given his rock-solid handicap form, and the fact that he is only a six-year-old, a bold bid seems likely.
Trainer: Joe Tizzard. Jockey: Harry Cobden. General odds: 9-1.
A seven-year-old that has often promised so much, he was travelling well behind Threeunderthrufive on his chasing debut when falling at the third last.
A few rather disappointing efforts followed before his superb run in the Ultima behind the aforementioned Corach Rambler and Gericault Roque.
He warmed up for this with a fair effort in the West Yorkshire Hurdle, his first run after a wind op, but his inconsistency is a concern. He has a history of bleeding and while he has plenty of ability, it is hard to trust that he’ll put his best foot forward, for all that he has a race in him off this rating.
Trainer: Evan Williams. Jockey: Adam Wedge. General odds: 20-1.
Was in desperate need of the run on his seasonal reappearance at Ascot behind Our Power, as confirmed by Evan Williams who also took him to the Coral Gold Cup Gallops Morning at Newbury this month.
Still lightly raced over fences, he produced a superb performance to win at Ascot last year when defeating Phoenix Sky, who won a valuable handicap on his next start, and Annsam is only 3lb higher here.
Normally ridden aggressively, which is a positive, he does have a tendency to jump out to his right, which would be a concern in a race of this nature.
I have little doubt he is capable of adding to his tally this season, though, but I suspect he will be seen to best effect going the other way around.
Trainer: Neil Mulholland. Jockey: Richie McLernon. General odds: 12-1.
Arrives here in top form having won at Cheltenham in October before giving game chase to Frodon when second in the Badger Beer Chase.
He pulled over 10 lengths clear of the third, Cap Du Nord, in that contest, and Lord Accord should perhaps have finished closer but for an error at the last.
Following that, he is officially 3lb well in here and he has been quite well supported in recent days. If the ground stays on the quicker side, he has a live chance in a very open renewal.
Trainer: David Pipe. Jockey: Phillip Armson. General odds: 125-1.
This will be his 21st start of 2022, which is a testament to the horse’s constitution.
At home on good ground, which he should get here, his six victories for the yard have all come in small fields (no more than six runners in any).
Well beaten in the Badger Beer Chase two starts ago before refusing in the Southern National at Fontwell, he’s unlikely to have the class required to win this.
Trainer: Nicky Henderson. Jockey: Jack Tudor. General odds: 66-1.
Showed promise over fences during the 2019/20 season when scoring twice, including at Uttoxeter off a rating of 133 which he was raised 11lb for.
Returned from an 880-day absence in May this year and has shown a degree of promise in three starts since, but nothing to suggest he should be up to winning this. There could be races for him, but it’s unlikely to be this one.
This is certainly a competitive contest and GERICAULT ROQUE is taken to break his streak of seconds, with the lightly raced six-year-old open to further improvement this season - he has vital big handicap experience behind him too.
Lord Accord has shown he is capable of running well from this mark and arrives in form, while a big run from Threeunderthrufive seems likely, although he may find a couple too well handicapped.
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