Alan King could saddle a classy trio in the £150,000 Grade Three Paddy Power Gold Cup (2.35pm) at Cheltenham on Saturday, November 15, as he seeks a first victory in the extended two and a half mile showpiece. The prestigious race is the feature event at The Open, which takes place at Cheltenham from Friday, November 14 to Sunday, November 16.
King enjoyed a slightly unexpected success at The Showcase on October 18, as Ouzbeck scored a five-length victory in the Dick Francis “Silks” Handicap Chase over the Paddy Power Gold Cup course and distance.
The Barbury Castle trainer revealed his morning: “Ouzbeck delighted me at the weekend and will have an entry in the Paddy Power Gold Cup, as will Il Duce, who was second last year and I might give Pur De Sivola an entry as well.”
Il Duce went down by a neck to L’Antartique in last year’s Paddy Power Gold Cup and filled the same berth behind Stan over a further half-furlong in the Grade Two Mears Group Silver Trophy in April. Most recently, the eight-year-old was pulled-up in the toteswinger Summer Plate at Market Rasen in July.
King explained: “Il Duce ran in the summer, which was a waste of time. It didn’t work as they went too quick for him round Market Rasen. The Paddy Power Gold Cup will be his first run back and that’s the time to catch him, when he’s fresh. We’ll see how it goes but he’s done well at Cheltenham and ran another good race when second at the April Meeting.”
One of the stars of King’s 170-strong string is the consistently top-class stayer Halcon Genelardais, successful in the 2006 Coral Welsh National and runner-up under top-weight in the same contest last year before finishing fourth to Denman in the totesport Cheltenham Gold Cup at The Festival. The eight-year-old, last seen out when second under top-weight in the Scottish Grand National on April 19, is being prepared for his first start of the season over three miles, three furlongs in the £60,000 Grade Three Servo Computer Services Trophy (2pm) at Cheltenham on the Saturday of The Open, November 18.
King said: “Halcon Genelardais is on course for the Servo Computer Services Trophy - that’s the plan. He has done very well through the summer and had his first school of the season this morning. He’s in very good form.
“It would be nice to get his head in front again at some stage. It’s not easy for him in handicaps because he’s got to be giving lumps of weight away but there’s nothing we can do about that. I would think it will be one run and then straight to Wales for the National again.”
The three days of The Open offer fantastic sport. Sunday’s six-race card features the £100,000 Grade Three Greatwood Hurdle (2.20pm) over an extended two miles, while the sextet of classy races on Friday includes the popular £25,000 Glenfarclas Cross Country Steeple Chase (3pm) over three miles, seven furlongs.
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