Paul Nicholls-trained Saint Sonnet the favourite for glory at Saturday’s Paddy Power Gold Cup at Cheltenham
- Saint Sonnet, trained by Paul Nicholls, is favourite for the Paddy Power Gold Cup
- The horse won at Catterick before finioshing second at Marsh Novices’ Chase
- Simply The Betts and Martin Fisher also in contention for glory at Cheltenham
As a devout fan of the Paul Nicholls operation, Saint Sonnet (Cheltenham, 2.15) is the pick to land Saturday’s Paddy Power Gold Cup.
The bookmakers have not missed the chances of the French import, who has run just twice for the Ditcheat handler, winning in facile fashion at Catterick on his UK debut prior to running creditably behind Samcro in the Marsh Novices’ Chase at Cheltenham in March.
A 13-length defeat was far from a disgrace, given Saint Sonnet underwent a rushed preparation to get to the Festival after arriving in Somerset mid-season, and there are reasons to believe a summer’s break and a more orthodox training programme can produce a more rounded and complete performance.
Saint Sonnet, who is trained by Paul Nicholls, is favourite for the Paddy Power Gold Cup
It took Nicholls a good while to win Saturday’s feature, but success for Al Ferof and Caid Du Berlais in the last eight renewals have laid to rest that hoodoo and the unexposed Saint Sonnet tops a lengthy shortlist.
Second-season chasers with course form are often the ones to concentrate on for this race, so Simply The Betts and Mister Fisher look likely to be on the premises.
Simply The Betts is another contender for glory in Saturday’s intriguing race at Cheltenham
Mister Fisher, who finished ahead of Saint Sonnet in the Marsh Chase, is also in contention
The former rallied gamely after the last fence to land a 23-runner Festival handicap from the admirable Happy Diva, who was the winner of this race 12 months ago, back in March and is respected given the form of his stable and the fact he has won first time out all three seasons.
Mister Fisher actually finished in front of Saint Sonnet in the Marsh Chase, keeping on tidily after the last fence to finish on the heels of the main protagonists.
The only slight reservation to his chance is a downpour, as connections are on record revealing he is a better horse on a sound surface because deeper ground compromises his change of gear. If the rain does miss Cheltenham, he must take a hand.