Lostintranslation will be bidding to build on his fine effort to finish third in last season’s Cheltenham Gold Cup.
With the big autumnal Jumps races just around the corner, Nick Seddon has picked out three ante-post bets that could shorten in price between now and post time..
Mister Whitaker, Paddy Power Gold Cup (16/1, Saturday 14th November)
We’re back to calling the feature race of Cheltenham’s November Meeting the Paddy Power Gold Cup for sponsorship reasons, and this regularly proves to be a hotly contested betting heat. There are plenty of recognisable names at the top of the market at the time of writing, including last season’s Arkle Trophy fifth Al Dancer, who took the scalp of Mastertommytucker when winning on reappearance at Newton Abbot last weekend. He’s from a whole host of graduating novices to consider, which include the likes of Galvin, Imperial Aura, Itchy Feet and Annie Mc, though the experienced Mister Whitaker could be worth a second look at around the 20/1 mark.
He’s something of a course regular at Cheltenham, making each of his last five starts at the track, and he has previous in this race, too, finishing fourth as a second season chaser in 2018. He’s on a fair enough mark at the moment, and produced one of his best efforts to date when finishing third in the Festival Plate back in March. He’s run well fresh in the past and is just 1 lb higher than for that outing at the time of writing, and this appeals as a likely starting point. He’s proven on a range of going, and he’s unlikely to be this kind of price if he does indeed take his chance come post time.
Lord Du Mesnil, Ladbrokes Trophy (25/1, Saturday 28th November)
The Ladbrokes Trophy regularly produces a top-class chaser, and the Paul Nicholls-trained Topofthegame is already a pretty commanding 7/1 favourite at the time of writing, having been earmarked for this by his handler. The claims of the 2019 RSA Chase winner are obvious, and bearing in mind that he’s long been touted as a future Cheltenham Gold Cup horse, he’s going to have to run well here if he is to stand any chance of living up to those aspirations.
He missed the entirety of last season through injury, and we haven’t seen him since his fine effort to finish a fine second behind Lostintranslation in the 2019 Mildmay Novices’ Chase at Aintree – form which has worked out rather well since. He’s a worthy favourite but will likely have to shoulder top weight here, and bearing in mind he’s entitled to need his first run for around 600 days if this is indeed used as his first port of call, Lord Du Mesnil makes plenty of appeal each-way at a much bigger price. The seven-year-old was hugely progressive for the Richard Hobson team last year, improving the best part of 40 lb in the handicap, and was last seen finishing an excellent second behind Ravenhill in the National Hunt Chase in March.
That came over just shy of four miles, meaning stamina is far from an issue, and while he certainly isn’t dependant on it, he’d be suited by more testing conditions should the rain continue to fall. The average winning mark for this race over the past ten years is 151, and while Lord Du Mesnil’s current figure of 153 is slightly higher than that, he should be able to take his chance on a nice racing weight provided Topofthegame takes his chance (rated 163 on his most recent start at Aintree). Lord Du Mesnil is a straight-forward front-running type, and represents excellent value at the 25/1 mark to hit the frame at the very least.
Lostintranslation, King George VI Chase (8/1, Saturday 26th December)
While all ante-post angles for the Cheltenham Gold Cup must first begin at the Betfair Chase, Lostintranslation’s price of around 14/1 for the blue riband race feels fair enough at the time of writing. In terms of Haydock, he will have a favourite’s chance for the Betfair, and with no betting currently available for the Jumps Triple Crown, the angle could be to take the 8/1 that’s on offer for the King George VI Chase at Kempton on Boxing Day.
Lostintranslation looked a chaser out of the top drawer when accounting for Bristol De Mai at Haydock last year, and while things admittedly didn’t really go to plan in his two subsequent starts last term, he had conceivable excuses for each. Indeed, he was found to have a breathing problem when running no sort of race in last year’s King George, and deserves plenty of credit for his effort to finish third in the Gold Cup – bearing in mind that his yard was suffering from a rotten run of form at the time. He therefore deserves another chance to prove himself a top-class staying chaser this term, and provided he runs well on his reappearance in the Betfair, he’s likely to be a much shorter price for this than the 8/1 that’s currently on offer.