West End Rocker Can Land Bet365 Gold Cup
April 26, 2012 Leave a comment
It has been a case of “Cometh the rain, cometh the money” for the two proven mud lovers in this weekend’s Bet365 Gold Cup over an extended 3m5f atSandownPark. The first of those, Le Beau Bai, winner of the Welsh National earlier this season has been heavily supported in the market this week and has been cut from 12/1 into 6/1 across the board with bookmakers, whilst Becher Chase winner, West End Rocker, is reported to be unaffected by his Grand National fall and is next in the market at a best price 9/1 with Ladbrokes.
It is the Bet365 Gold Cup, known for years previously as the Whitbread Gold Cup, is the race that effectively draws the curtain on the National Hunt season. Over the years it has produced some fantastic winners, the great Arkle took the honours in 1965, his great rival, Mill House took the race in 1967 and the incredible Desert Orchid won a pulsating battle in 1988. All three carried top weight to victory.
Top weight this year is Tidal Bay, former winner of the Grade 1 Arkle Challenge Trophy over 2 miles at Cheltenham but who these days is campaigned over longer trips but he has found little success since moving to the stable of Paul Nicholls at the end of last season. He is quoted at 10/1 to win the race but would have to end a losing run over fences stretching back to November 2008 if he is to do so.
Nicholls also runs his consistent stayer, Aldertune, who has finished in second place in his last two runs, both at Sandown and has ran up a string of similar performances over the last couple of seasons but the 8 year old has only one chase win to his names and rates a 16/1 chance.
Galaxy Rock pulled up in the Scottish Grand National last week at Ayr but has been supported this week to bounce back to form for trainer, Jonjo O’Neill. He seemed to have a very hard race atAyrwhere he was pulled up before the final fence having raced prominently. Whether he has recovered sufficiently from that is a question that he alone can answer by performance but it raises questions and certainly gives reason for having plenty of doubt about backing him at 10/1.
Le Beau Bai will carry 10-12 and is one that can stay and jump forever and should be suited by the conditions and the course and looks nailed on to at least get into the frame for his trainer Richard Lee.
West End Rocker meanwhile, who looked so impressive when winning the Becher Chase at Aintree back in December, is a lightly raced horse who only got to the second fence in the Grand National. Provided that experience is behind him, he too should feature at the business end of this race and it would surprise to see him win.
Following his second place in the Midland Grand National over 4m2f at Uttoxeter last month, Major Malarkey from the stable of Nigel Twiston-Davies could easily go one better in this. He can handle any ground and if in the mood could make his presence felt off just 10-5, quite a lenient mark based on his last run.
This is a very tough race to call but preference is given to West End Rocker to return to winning ways for trainer Alan King and provide a fitting end to what has been an excellent season for the Wiltshire yard.