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Crus can beat big two when going for Gold

By Robert Fenton

Get on Grand Crus for the Gold Cup. It's almost certain the novice will go in the feature race rather than the RSA Chase and if anything can upset the two principals, Long Run and Kauto Star, it is the David Pipe-trained grey.

No novice has won the Gold Cup since Captain Christy back in 1974 but the impressive youngster, who won Boxing Day's Feltham Chase at Kempton in a much faster time than Kauto Star clocked in winning the the King George VI Chase, is capable of bridging the gap.

After chasing home Big Buck's in the World Hurdle last year, stamina and jumping won't be a problem and neither will the pace of the race. At 6-1 with a non-runner, no bet, he's a banker each-way bet to wrest the crown from Long Run.

Both Long Run and Kauto Star had few supporters from the guests at the Sean Graham Cheltenham Preview Night in the Europa Hotel on Monday night.

Ronan Graham said: “We will be going best prices on Long Run and Kauto Star as we feel they are both vulnerable.”

Trainer Gordon Elliott added: “Weird Al has a good each-way chance as Long Run doesn't have the form while Kauto should have been retired and has no chance!” Brave words or foolhardy. Take your pick.

Professional punter and owner Paddy Willmott said he would not have a bet in the race as he couldn't get to grips with Long Run and was not convinced about his owner jockey Sam Waley-Cohen, while UK Racing’s Richard Hoiles said: “It takes a tremendous effort to win a Gold Cup and it may have taken its toll on Long Run who should have been beaten by Burton Point at Newbury.”

The ‘Couch’ Mark Winstanley, a Racing Post tipster and renowned for his cockney slang and biting comments, dismissed Kauto's chances. “If he couldn't win last year as an 11-year-old, how can he win at the age of 12? I have more chance of a date with Cheryl Cole, but I live in hope.”

The rest of the panel was made up of jockey Paul Townend, Brian Graham and chaired by Attheraces voice of Irish racing Gary O'Brien.

Brian Graham is keen to ‘get’ the so-called Arkle Chase good-thing Sprinter Sacre which like a lot of Henderson horses, has had a wind operation, which prompted the comment from the Couch: “He had more horses with wind problems than a vindaloo taster.”

And if you fancy something to beat Sacre then make sure you back it with Paddy Power. If Sacre wins, you'll get your stake back up to £200.

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