CELESTIAL GOLD HEADS THE WEIGHTS FOR ROBIN COOK MEMORIAL GOLD CUP (SPONSORED BY totesport)
Celestial Gold (11st 12lb), who recorded a memorable double last season in the Paddy Power Gold Cup and the Hennessy Gold Cup, heads the weights for the £110,000 Robin Cook Memorial Gold Cup (sponsored by totesport) at Cheltenham on Saturday, December 10, details of which are revealed today, Wednesday, November 30.
In addition to Celestial Gold, trainer Martin Pipe could also rely on this season's Paddy Power Gold Cup hero Our Vic (11st 10lb), as well as It Takes Time (11st 4lb), Therealbandit (11st 2lb), Locksmith (11st), Whispered Secret (10st 8lb), Tango Royal (10st 4lb) and Polar Red (9st 9lb).
The Nicholashayne handler was successful in this contest with Fragrant Dawn in 1993 and Northern Starlight five years later. Our Vic, a last fence faller last year when looking the likely winner, will be bidding to become only the third horse to take both the Paddy Power Gold Cup and the Robin Cook Memorial Gold Cup in the same season, following Pegwell Bay (1998) and Senor El Betrutti (1997).
Last year's successful horse was Monkerhostin (11st 6lb), who will have to carry 18lb more if he is to become the first horse to win the Robin Cook Memorial Gold Cup twice.
Second in 2005 was Thisthatandtother (11st 9lb), who is theoretically a stone better in with Monkerhostin this time round. His trainer, Paul Nicholls, could also be represented by Armaturk (11st 5lb), My Will (11st), Le Passing (10st 7lb), Red Devil Robert (10st 3lb), Ladalko (9st 11lb) and Almost Broke (9st 10lb).
A likely runner in this season's renewal is Europa (10st 2lb), third last year and an encouraging second on his latest appearance behind fellow Robin Cook Memorial Gold Cup hopeful Bold Bishop (10st 10lb) last time out in a two and a half mile handicap chase at Newbury on November 26.
Trainer Ferdy Murphy said: "Europa was third in this race last year but Our Vic fell at the last just as he was coming with a rattling run and he just got stopped in his tracks. At worst he would have been second and with a bit of luck in running he'd have won.
"He's flying after Newbury, where he came right back to form. He looks to be coming back to himself and he's in great order. His run at Newbury was fantastic and we're looking forward to Cheltenham.
"At the moment, the plan is for him to run. Obviously, we'll see what the ground is like because we do know now that he needs good ground. He doesn't handle soft ground or holding ground."
Murphy has two other entries at the foot of the handicap in the prestigious contest, the feature race of Cheltenham's December Meeting, in Alexanderthegreat (9st 7lb) and You're Special (8st 13lb), but the trainer is not sure if either will make the race.
He said: "Alexanderthegreat had a good first run back in the Rehearsal Chase at Newcastle at the weekend after about 10 months off. He ran a cracking race and will improve for the run. He's in at Kelso and Chepstow as well this weekend. The hurly burly of the Robin Cook Memorial Gold Cup may be just a bit too much for him at the moment so I'll speak with the owners but we might wait with him.
"You're Special may run at Doncaster the same day where he's almost guaranteed the good ground he needs."
Other interesting contenders for the Robin Cook Memorial Gold Cup (sponsored by totesport) among the record 52 entries include King Harald (10st), victorious in the inaugural Jewson Novices' Handicap Chase at The Festival last season, and Our Armageddon (10st 1lb), successful in the 2004 Cathcart Chase (now the Ryanair Chase) who has the race pencilled in for his first start in close to two years.
The Robin Cook Memorial Gold Cup (sponsored by totesport) commemorates the late Labour MP and racing enthusiast Robin Cook, who died earlier this year.
Cheltenham's December Meeting starts on Friday, December 9, with a seven-race card and the highlight is the £50,000 Mears Group Chase (3.05pm), a handicap run over three miles, one and a half furlongs. Racing starts at 12.10pm that day.
Saturday, December 10's action gets under way at 12.20pm, with the £75,000 totesport Bula Hurdle (3.10pm) being the main supporting race to the Robin Cook Memorial Gold Cup (sponsored by totesport). The ashes of triple totesport Gold Cup winner Best Mate will be laid to rest by the winning post before racing that day.
The two-day December Meeting boasts prize money of over £440,000.
Admission prices on both Friday, December 9 and Saturday, December 10 - Club/Tattersalls combined £20 on the day, £18 in advance and 16-24-year-olds £12; Best Mate Enclosure £8. Book online at cheltenham.co.uk or call 01242 226 226.
Accompanied children under 16 enjoy FREE entry while car parking is also FREE.
THE ROBIN COOK MEMORIAL GOLD CUP
(SPONSORED BY totesport)
Class A, Grade Three, £110,000 Total Prize Fund. Cheltenham, Saturday, December 10. For 5yo+, two miles, five furlongs. Penalties: after November 26, a winner of a Class C chase 4lb; of a class A or B chase 6lb (no penalty to increase a horse's weight above 11st 12lb). Entries closed November 23, entires revealed November 24 (52 entries), weights revealed November 30, five-day confirmation stage December 5, final declaration stage 10.00am, December 9. For figures supplied by Weatherbys and are correct up to and including the racing of Tuesday, November 29.
Form Horse Age/Wgt Owner Trainer
21/1130- CELESTIAL GOLD (IRE) 7-11-12 David Johnson Martin Pipe
13/FPP-1 OUR VIC (IRE) 7-11-10 David Johnson Martin Pipe
22214-3 THISTHATANDTOTHER (IRE) 9-11-09 Graham Roach Paul Nicholls
213-122 MONKERHOSTIN (FR) 8-11-06 Martin St Quinton Philip Hobbs
3036-15 ARMATURK (FR) 8-11-05 Trevor Hemmings Paul Nicholls
31042-4 IT TAKES TIME (IRE) 11-11-04 David Johnson Martin Pipe
0002P-4 FONDMORT (FR) 9-11-04 Bill Brown Nicky Henderson
20330-0 THEREALBANDIT (IRE) 8-11-02 David Johnson Martin Pipe
01F110- LOCKSMITH 5-11-00 David Johnson Martin Pipe
1521-20 MY WILL (FR) 5-11-00 The Stewart Family Paul Nicholls
6/2P-2211 BOLD BISHOP (IRE) 8-10-10 Gay Smith Jonjo O'Neill
3224-16 LACDOUDAL (FR) 6-10-09 Carol Skan Philip Hobbs
1301-26 QUAZAR (IRE) 7-10-09 C D Carr Jonjo O'Neill
F21PFP- LIMERICK BOY (GER) 7-10-09 Favourites Racing III Venetia Williams
2311214 WHISPERED SECRET (GER) 6-10-08 David Manasseh Daniel Evans Dan Levine Martin Pipe
141U2-0P KADOUNT (FR) 7-10-08 Elite Racing Club Alan King
41P00-5P JOLY BEY (FR) 8-10-07 David Dunsdon Nick Gifford
0341-10 BROOKLYN BREEZE (IRE) 8-10-07 Ashleybank Investments Limited Len Lungo
12553-44 LE PASSING (FR) 6-10-07 The Hon Mrs & J R Townshend Paul Nicholls
111P2/-6 IRIS ROYAL (FR) 9-10-05 Sir Robert Ogden Nicky Henderson
0055-01 SCOTS GREY 10-10-05 Henry Ponsonby Nicky Henderson
211FP-2 BACKBEAT (IRE) 8-10-05 Andrea & Graham Wylie Howard Johnson
34046-32 MADE IN JAPAN (JPN) 5-10-05 Terry Evans Philip Hobbs
62-1600 TANGO ROYAL (FR) 9-10-04 Brian Kilpatrick Martin Pipe
10/2214/- PATRICKSNINETEENTH (IRE) 8-10-04 The Large G & T Partnership Paul Webber
0/1132-3P KANDJAR D'ALLIER (FR) 7-10-03 Let's Live Racing Alan King
0/1RP2P- MAMBO (IRE) 7-10-03 Belinda Harvey Nicky Henderson
3P5-0225 VANDAS CHOICE (IRE) 7-10-03 J Petterson Lucinda Russell
2U//0P-P1P DARK'N SHARP (GER) 10-10-03 Ascot Five Plus One Richard Phillips
31112-26 RED DEVIL ROBERT (IRE) 7-10-03 Paul Barber & Mrs M Findlay Paul Nicholls
12413P-6 CHAUVINIST (IRE) 10-10-02 Bunny & Nick Roberts Nicky Henderson
0FU-2P62 RISK ACCESSOR (IRE) 10-10-02 J P McManus Jonjo O'Neill
F0B0-0P2 EUROPA 9-10-02 Trevor Hemmings Ferdy Murphy
121P14/- OUR ARMAGEDDON (NZ) 8-10-01 Leslie Garrett Richard Guest
41461-20 MIXSTERTHETRIXSTER (USA)9-10-00 Tracey Barfoot-Saunt Tracey Barfoot-Saunt
2000-2F0 REDEMPTION 10-10-00 John Duggan & Michael Purtill Nigel Twiston-Davies
B5/2240-0 CLAYMORE (IRE) 9-10-00 Brian Stewart-Brown Oliver Sherwood
F2121-4U KING HARALD (IRE) 7-10-00 Piers Pottinger and P B-J Partnership Mark Bradstock
0U13-436 HASTY PRINCE 7-9-13 J P McManus Jonjo O'Neill
34-1114 TIGERS LAIR (IRE) 6-9-11 Gay Smith Jonjo O'Neill
2521-331 LADALKO (FR) 6-9-11 Paul Barber & Mrs M Findlay Paul Nicholls
15161-F ALMOST BROKE 8-9-10 A G Fear Paul Nicholls
03/05P-0P JAKARI (FR) 8-9-10 The Earl Cadogan Henry Daly
006-F03 LULUMAR (FR) 6-9-10 Million in Mind Partnership Oliver Sherwood
U504-65 SIR OJ (IRE) 8-9-10 Brian Keenan Noel Meade IRE
10044F EAST TYCOON (IRE) 6-9-09 Gay Smith Jonjo O'Neill
050006- POLAR RED 8-9-09 Lady Hilda Clarke Martin Pipe
3-310163 LITTLE BIG HORSE (IRE) 9-9-09 Paul Dixon Sue Smith
6002-235 BLEU SUPERBE (FR) 10-9-08 Peter Deal, Tony Hirschfeld & J Tyndall Venetia Williams
0/5/4-23F HALEXY (FR) 10-9-08 Sir Robert Ogden Jonjo O'Neill
03/1F25-0 ALEXANDERTHEGREAT (IRE) 7-9-07 Six Blokes Ferdy Murphy
2/315-P36 YOU'RE SPECIAL (USA) 8-8-13 Diane O' Rourke Ferdy Murphy
OUR VIC JUST 4-1 FOR FOLLOW UP
Martin Pipe's Our Vic has been installed 4-1 favourite with totesport to land the Robin Cook Memorial Gold Cup at Cheltenham a week on Saturday.
Spokesman Damian Walker said: "Our Vic was a good winner at Cheltenham last time and landed a massive punt.
"Despite going up 9lb in the weights he still holds outstanding claims so we are taking no chances with the 4-1 quote.
"The first four from the Cheltenham race have been entered to reoppose, including last year's winner Monkerhostin, who is 8-1 third favourite."
Robin Cook Memorial Gold Cup (sponsored by totesport)
2m5f, Cheltenham, December 10th
4 Our Vic, 7 Bold Bishop, 8 Monkerhostin, Thisthatandtother, 10 Red Devil Robert, 12 Celestial Gold, Europa, Lacdoudal, Redemption, Scots Grey, 14 Fondmort, Kandjar D'Allier, 16 Backbeat, Iris Royal, King Harald, Le Passing, Locksmith, Our Armageddon, 20 Brooklyn Breeze, Chauvinist, Hasty Prince, Ladalko, Made In Japan, My Will, Patricksnineteenth, Quazar, Therealbandit, 25 Dark'N Sharp, It Takes Time, Joly Bey, Kadount, Limerick Boy, Mambo, Risk Accessor, Sir Oj, Tigers Lair, Whispered Secret, 28 Armaturk, 33 Almost Broke, Claymore, Halexy, Lulumar, Tango Royal, 40 Jakari, Little Big Horse, Misterthetrixster, Vandas Choice, 50 Alexanderthegreat, East Tycoon, Polar Red, 66 Bleu Superbe, 100 You're Special