Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 3 September 2014

Punter's Pal to strike gold

Cheltenham's Paddy Power Gold Cup always tempts a fascinating list of pot-hunters out of their stables and this year's renewal tomorrow looks every bit as competitive as usual.

In what has proved a mini-nightmare for ante-post punters, with many fancied runners not guaranteed to make the cut and an 11th-hour scare forcing the defection of market leader Don't Push It, many will be keen to give the race a wide berth.

And with so many unexposed and potentially well-handicapped horses going for gold, the bookmakers are probably licking their lips.

It would be no surprise if one of the young guns near the head of the market proves up to the job, but the value looks to lie with some of the bigger-priced proven handicappers.

Vodka Bleu would go close if repeating the form that saw him take second behind Exotic Dancer 12 months ago, while the one lightly-raced sort to have slipped under the radar to some degree is the Philip Hobbs-trained Private Be.

Yet those who enjoy a more speculative wager at a working man's price are advised to side with Henry Daly's Palarshan.

This former Cheltenham Festival winner is plainly suited by big-field handicaps run at a scorching gallop and nearly pulled off an exceptional coup when finding only one too good in the Racing Post Plate at last season's March highlight.

That run came after a 728-day layoff, so we know the nine-year-old goes fresh, he will bounce off the ground and his price is more than sufficient to justify at least an each-way wager.

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