Top jockey and Unibet ambassador Nico de Boinville has four rides on Gold Cup Day and despite Might Bite being below his best this season, Nico is optimistic he can bounce back in the Cheltenham Gold Cup
...“Pentland Hills gave me a great feel at Plumpton”...
You clearly have to say that Sir Erec is the one to beat in here, but I think my boy has definite each-way claims. The English juveniles don’t look to have a stand-out going into the race and Pentland Hills at least offers a different form-line to ponder, considering he comes here via a sole win at Plumpton.
Mind you, the boss took this exact route with the 1984 Triumph Hurdle winner First Bout, so let’s hope lightning strikes again 35 years later! I must say I was very impressed by him at Plumpton as he gave me a great feel and beat a fair horse in The Flying Sofa very easily.
You can’t go overboard about the form as he was getting weight from a runner-up that was well beaten in the Supreme on Tuesday, but I think he will be competitive here, even though it’s a massive step up in class. As for the ground, he was progressive on the Flat and ran well on soft on his last start in that sphere.
He was a good middle-distance horse on the Flat and he appeared to take a massive step forward when running away with the River Don at Doncaster last time, though there were only four runners there and this will present far more of a test. That run puts him bang into the mix here and the one concern is that this will be the softest ground he has encountered. But the cheek pieces that went on for the first time over hurdles at Doncaster really made a big difference, so let’s hope that there is a lot more to come from him.
You clearly can’t be too confident about him here given his two runs this season, but we have been very happy with him in recent weeks, including when we took him for a solo racecourse gallop at Newbury recently, and we think we have begun to get him back on track.
Whether or not he is primed to show the form that he showed last season, when winning the 32Red King George and when such a gallant runner-up to Native River in this contest, I guess only the race can tell us. He has also had a wind op too, but clearly he would have preferred better ground. It’s a big ask for him coming here on the back of those poor runs at Haydock and Kempton, but we know what a top-class horse he is when on song.
I think the ground has come right for him, as he loves it soft. We were a bit taken aback when he went up 10lb for winning a three-runner race that rather fell apart at Fontwell last time. I suppose we were expecting 3lb or so less, but hopefully that doesn’t hold us back.
Given that punitive rise, I’ll be honest and say I am surprised that he is so high up in the betting but I can see him loving a bigger field and a stronger pace on ground that he loves and this is just his fourth start over fences. And, of course, the guv’nor loves to win this race.
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