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Highway One O One on course to contest BetVictor Gold Cup at Cheltenham

Wed 6 Nov 2019

Chris Gordon is aiming Highway One O One at the BetVictor Gold Cup after the seven-year-old was allotted 10st 2lb for the prestigious handicap at Cheltenham on November 16.

Highway One O One enjoyed a good first season over fences last term that included two excellent placed efforts at the Prestbury Park venue.

A 25-1 chance with the sponsors, he warmed up for his big assignment with an encouraging second in a handicap hurdle at Fontwell last month.

“Highway One O One definitely goes for the BetVictor Gold Cup, provided nothing goes wrong between now and then,” said Gordon.

“We know he handles the track well, having run a couple of solid races there last season, and it looks like he will have a lovely racing weight too.

“We thought about him starting him off at Chepstow, but myself and the owner (Anthony Ward-Thomas) were due to go to the Czech Republic that weekend to watch the Velka Pardubice, so we decided to run a week earlier at Fontwell.

“I thought he ran a lovely race there and that should set us up nicely for Cheltenham a week on Saturday.”

Aso has been handed top-weight of 11st 12lb in the BetVictor, which attracted 42 entries.

Venetia Williams’ charge was second in the Ryanair at the Festival and was third in the Charlie Hall Chase at Wetherby on his reappearance.

The 6-1 ante-post favourite is the Colin Tizzard-trained Slate House (10st 5lb) after his 11-length victory over the course and distance last month.

Articulum (10st 7lb) is one of three Irish-trained entries.

Third in the Arkle Trophy, Terence O’Brien’s nine-year-old, was second at Cork recently on his return from his summer break.

“Articulum has a couple of entries at Navan and Naas this weekend, but I would say it is more than likely that he will go for the BetVictor Gold Cup,” said O’Brien.

“He is rated 148 over fences in Ireland, so I suppose 149 in England is OK. I would expect him to run up to his mark and if he could run a bit beyond it, he should be there or thereabouts – I think he can improve a bit.

“He has mainly run over two miles over fences, but he has won a couple of bumpers over two miles and three furlongs, as well as a point-to-point over three miles. I don’t see the trip being a problem to be honest.

“I would like the ground to be on the easy side. I don’t think the ground could be too soft for him.”

The Unibet Greatwood Hurdle is the feature race at Cheltenham on November 17.

The weights for this £100,000 contest are headed by Dr Richard Newland’s Le Patriote on 11st 12lb, while the 10-1 joint-favourites with the sponsors are Tom Lacey’s Sebastopol on 10st 9lb and Nicky Henderson’s Fusil Raffles on 11st 10lb.

Also on 10st 9lb is Fergal O’Brien’s Benny’s Bridge – successful over the course and distance last month.

O’Brien said: “The Greatwood is the plan. He has been put up 10lb for winning last time, but he deserved that.

“He did the job well last time. We could have gone for other races first time out, but that conditional jockeys’ race was always going to be his first aim.

“It was a good performance from him and the rain came in time on the day. We’re hopeful of a big display again in the Greatwood.”

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