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Davis Hoping for Good Show from Passato

Passato rocketed up the handicap this summer when landing a four-timer and Jo Davis’ charge heads to Cheltenham on Saturday, November 13, for his stiffest test yet, a tilt at The Open’s feature event, the Grade Three BetVictor Gold Cup (2.30pm) for which he is a 40/1 chance with the sponsor.

The £150,000 contest over an extended two and a half miles has attracted plenty of high-class contenders and Passato’s trainer is under no illusions about the task facing the six-year-old, whose biggest triumph to date came in the Listed Lord Mildmay Memorial Chase at Newton Abbot on August 21.

Champion jockey Tony “AP” McCoy took the ride on Passato last time when the Lando gelding’s winning streak ended with a below-par seventh of 17 behind Edgbriar over the course and distance in the Handicap Chase at The Showcase in October, a race that was not run to suit.

Davis, who trains at East Garston, revealed: “Passato improved a lot through the summer and he has earned his place in the Paddy Power Gold Cup. He’s off a nice weight and I think last time he never got going. He didn’t jump off handy as he likes to and was always chasing the pace. He doesn’t enjoy running like that but AP was very complimentary afterwards and said he ran a lot better than his finishing position suggested and that he will definitely win off his mark again.

“He doesn’t like to race like that, he loves to have his daylight. It doesn’t matter who’s riding him, when he is surrounded by horses and not able to fire at his fences, he doesn’t travel. He has to be where he feels confident and happy otherwise he won’t lay up, and that just depends on him getting a good possie to start with.

“Realistically, it’s a whole different ball game now. He’s taking on the likes of Long Run and it’s a stiff ask but he will go there and do his best. I know it’s a handicap but Passato’s at the top of his game and a lot of those horses will have improvement in them.

“We are limited as to where we can go with him because there aren’t many 0-150 races about and he would have to carry too much weight in 0-145 races. He’s tiny so doesn’t carry the weight very well.

“I am hoping that Tom O’Brien can do 10st 1lb to ride him on Saturday and the horse will go and have a nice day out. Realistically, we’re going there for the owners - it’s a good day out for them and we might as well give it a go while we’ve got him at this standard.”


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