Horse Talk with Simon Jackson: Top horse-racing tips and the latest news.
EVAN WILLIAMS has major contenders for both good and soft ground conditions in the £160,000 BetVictor Gold Cup at The Open meeting at Cheltenham on November 12.
The Vale Of Glamorgan-based handler has entered last year’s runner-up Buywise and the in-form King’s Odyssey in the extended two and a half mile Grade 3 handicap chase that was previously run as the Paddy Power Gold Cup and is sponsored for the first time by BetVictor.
Last year Buywise was narrowly beaten by Annacotty who re-opposes. If the ground is good Williams anticipates a big run from Buywise after impressing when fourth on his seasonal debut at Aintree last weekend.
“We are definitely keeping an eye on the race for Buywise again, although he is a much better horse on decent ground,” Williams said this week after news that a total of 43 horses had been entered in the 2016 BetVictor Gold Cup.
“His run over the weekend was fantastic and just what the doctor ordered after what happened in the Grand National. It was stupid to try him in that race because he was either going to be an almighty failure or just scrape round – the fact that he did the latter was a good thing.
“I had convinced myself that the Grand National was worth trying but we are going back to what we know he can do. He has nothing up his sleeve from the handicapper but the ground wasn’t ideal in [this race] last year and the way the race was run wasn’t great either.
“We have had such a dry autumn that everything could fall right for him this time.”
Conversely wet ground would suit King’s Odyssey who has won two of his three starts over fences last season including the Timeform Novices’ Handicap Chase at Cheltenham on Festival Trials Day in January.
“King’s Odyssey is the complete opposite in terms of the ground,” Williams continued. “He is very good over his fences but would want plenty of cut. The BetVictor Gold Cup is the obvious target for him if the ground is soft enough.
“He did it nicely at Cheltenham last season and we didn’t run him again because he is a big lump of a horse and we didn’t want to take a risk on quicker going.
“I hope that a mark of 147 would give him a very good chance if we got plenty of rain beforehand.”
Horse Talk with Simon Jackson. Showcasing horse racing in London and the south east.