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Greatwood Gold Cup – Race Preview
Saturday sees the annual running of the Greatwood Gold Cup at Newbury. The Greatwood is a Grade 3 chase, run over a distance of 2 miles and 4 furlongs with a total of 16 fences jumped. Fourteen runners are set to go to post on Saturday, in what looks a competitive renewal.
In recent years, the race has been dominated by trainer Paul Nicholls, who has won the race six times in the last ten years and he currently trains both the ante-post favourite Art Mauresque and the current second favourite Sametegal. Art Mauresque has been kept fresh by Nicholls for a Spring campaign having run solid efforts in handicaps at Cheltenham in November and December. Set to run off a mark of 144 on Saturday, the same mark as when winning back on October, Art Mauresque is set to run a big race on forecast drying ground. The novice Sametegal made a winning appearance over fences at Huntingdon in November before running second to the high-class More of That at Cheltenham in December. He was then narrowly beaten at Kelso earlier this month and off a mark of 143 on handicap debut, he could also go close.
The Colin Tizzard stable are in excellent form as they build towards the Cheltenham Festival and they are set to be represented on Saturday with Ultragold. Victory on Saturday could see Ultragold then head to one of the handicap chase’s at the Festival and he comes into the Greatwood in winning form, having enjoyed a 17 length victory over 2 miles at Wincanton. The handicapper has risen Ultragold a massive 11lbs for this victory and this could well curtail any winning chance on Saturday.
The Venetia William’s trained Bennys Mist finished second in last year’s Greatwood and he comes into this year’s race on the back of victory at Aintree in December and a place effort at Ascot in January. Saturday’s trip and drying ground will be ideal for Bennys Mist but he is 7lb higher than last year and he may need others to underperform if he is to win.
Off The Ground was last seen when running a big race before falling two fences from home at Doncaster in December. Trainer Charlie Longsdon has kept Off The Ground under wraps since then, commenting that the horse prefers better ground. With drying conditions forecast on Saturday, Off The Ground could well run a big race over a trip that is likely to suit.
Other notable runners are Vicomte Du Seuil trained in France by Emmanuel Clayeux and the Evan Williams trained Laser Hawk.
Art Mauresque is the current 6.5 (11/2) ante-post favourite with Sametegal currently 8 (7/1). Ultragold and Bennys Mist are both 9 (8/1) and Off The Ground is 13 (12/1). The horse racing tip for Saturday’s Greatwood Gold Cup is Sametegal at 8 (7/1).
By: Scott McGlynn