Thanks to Paul Simon for today’s headline as the introduction to Paddy Power Gold Cup day at Cheltenham.

The eponymous race is at 2.15 and our first pick in this 20 runner handicap is Al Dancer, trained by Sam Thomas.

This 8-y-o finished third in this race last year, when in the care of NT-D and makes its stable debut this afternoon, having been off the track since February.

This is a deliberate ploy by Mr Thomas, as the horse has a tremendous record  ‘fresh’ and the fact that it can run off a 5lb lower mark than 2020 means we must have an each way bet at 11-2.

Two other runners catch our eye after highly promising ‘prep’ runs and they are Galahad Quest and Midnight Shadow, which are available at 14-1 and 10-1 respectively and are added to our portfolio.

Televised coverage starts with the November Novices Chase at 1.40, but unless Third Time Lucki tips up at 4-11, this is a ‘no bet’ race.

On, therefore, to the Paddy Power Handicap Hurdle at 2.50, in which our Nap selection Dragon Bones has just been announced as a non-runner(!)

We were also going to put up Scheu Time as an each way punt against it, so we will content ourselves with a small each way on the Irish raider at 22-1.

The Paddy Power Intermediate Handicap Hurdle at 3.25 completes the telly coverage and anyone who saw Unexpected Party win at Wetherby two weeks ago will not want to oppose it today. We did and we won’t, so a win bet at 100-30 is recommended.

That’s it – short, but hopefully sweet.


Al Dancer 2.15 Cheltenham 2pts e/w @ 11-2 (7 places Skybet)

Galahad Quest 2.15 Cheltenham 1pt e/w @ 14-1 (7 places Skybet)

Midnight Shadow 2.15 Cheltenham 1pt e/w @ 10-1 (7 places Skybet)

Scheu Time 2.50 Cheltenham 0.75pts e/w @ 22-1 (4 places William Hill/Betfair)

Unexpected Party 3.25 Cheltenham 3pts win @ 100-30


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