Betfred Cheltenham Gold Cup
Grade 1
£550,000 added,
5yo plus,
3m 2f 110y, Class 1
Friday 13th March 2015

Nov 19 Trainer Alan King believes that Smad Place has the potential to be a challenger for glory in the 2015 Cheltenham Gold Cup.

Smad Place
© Racehorse Photos

Smad Place
The seven-year-old is currently preparing for the Hennessy Gold Cup at Newbury on November 29, with King confident that his charge has improved this season, having been narrowly beaten into second place in the RSA Chase at Cheltenham earlier this year.

King told reporters: "If I've got a horse that could run in a Gold Cup, it has to be Smad Place. I feel he has strengthened up a lot this season and given the impression that there could well be more improvement to come.

"He did everything but win (at the Festival) last season and was just run out of it at the line.

"Competing off his current mark (155), he would need to run well to earn a place in any Gold Cup field, but if we have a Gold Cup horse in the yard, he is the one.

"He's been placed on each of the three occasions he's been to the Festival." - Enjoy racing online

Nov 13 Champagne Fever won the Clonmel Oil Chase really well from Alderwood on November 13 to become joint antepost favourite.

Champagne Fever
© Caroline Norris
Champagne Fever

David Bridgwater is gearing The Giant Bolster's next campaign around a fourth successive crack at the Betfred Cheltenham Gold Cup next March.

The Giant Bolster
© Racehorse Photos

The Giant BolsterThe Giant Bolster
The Stow-on-the Wold trainer is keen to give his stable star another chance at chasing's blue riband after a trio of admirable efforts in finishing third, fourth and second in the respective last three renewals.

The bet365 Charlie Hall Chase at Wetherby on November 1 is a possible starting point, with the Betfair Chase at Haydock on November 22 another potential objective.

Bridgwater said: "He's absolutely great. He's come back in older and more mature and seems to be doing everything right.

"He never used to inspire as being a good horse at home, but now at home he looks a good horse every day of the week.

"If he's straight and well, he'll go for the Charlie Hall, which is always a good starting point.

"But if he's not, he'll go straight to Haydock for the big one.

"He always seems to runs poorly up to the main day (Gold Cup), but that's the nature of the beast.

"Then again, he's that sort of horse that it wouldn't surprise me if he won a good one on the way.

"Whatever we do, everything will be built around next March."

© Racehorse Photos

Holywell followed up his Baylis and Harding Affordable Luxury Handicap Chase win at Cheltenham with a dominant performance in the Betfred Mobile Mildmay Novices' Chase at Aintree on April 4, sealing a wide-margin victory with a soaring jump at the final fence.

His fourth win on the trot saw the Jonjo O'Neill-trained chaser rise to the top of the 2015 Betfred Cheltenham Gold Cup market.

Jockey Tony McCoy said: "I would never have said he was a Gold Cup contender before, but he has beaten all of them today convincingly," he said.

"In form this horse will be the best chaser we see all year. It is not impossible for him to win the Gold Cup."

A comfortable victory for Carlingford Lough at the Punchestown Festival saw the eight-year-old earn quotes of 25-1 with Paddy Power for the 2015 Betfred Cheltenham Gold Cup.

Carlingford Lough
© Caroline Norris

Carlingford Lough
A P McCoy enjoyed his first success of the meeting when capturing the Grade 1 Growise Champion Novice Chase for trainer John Kiely.

"He's always been a consistent horse and Tony gave him a brilliant ride," said Kiely. "He deserves a holiday now and we'll start him off in conditions races in the autumn and see what happens.

"He's been a very easy horse to train and this was perfect ground for him. There was a lovely cover of grass. He likes to come from behind."

A P McCoy added: "I think in fairness to John Kiely, he did everything because he's been on the go since Galway. It is great training to be able to keep a horse going at the top level.

"He seemed to handle the better ground today. He jumped well today, if a little bit left at times but the trainer really deserves all the credit.

"His owner (J P McManus) told me about a year and a half ago that he would win the Galway Plate. He's got more knowledge than most of us.

"He's done nothing but improve. His jumping has improved and that has helped him to improve. John Kiely deserves all the credit."

Winning owner J P McManus commented: "He hasn't missed a dance all season and to see how he was today is a credit to John Kiely and all his team.

"A P gave him the perfect ride. I'm sure he wouldn't have minded if they had gone a stride faster but he is a horse you have to hang on to for a while. Ruby (Walsh, second on Ballycasey) gave him something to aim at and thankfully he delivered. He is a really nice horse.

"I was tempted to run him in the Grand National but I think John thought too much of him to run him there so we brought him to Punchestown.

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