Heading for Gold Cup glory

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  • Shooting Light is favourite for the Thomas Pink Gold Cup at Cheltenham

    The all-conquering Pipe stable attempts to win its fourth Thomas Pink Gold Cup in six years with Shooting Light at Cheltenham on Saturday.

    The Nicholashayne trainer’s three previous successes came via Challenger du Luc (Richard Dunwoody) and Cyfor Malta and Lady Cricket, both partnered by Shooting Light’s jockey A P McCoy.

    Shooting Light is 2-1 favourite and, even at such skinny odds, cannot be opposed after making such an impressive first appearance for Pipe and McCoy over the course last month.

    Owner John Brown, chairman of bookmakers William Hill, is adamant that McCoy’s persuasion in the saddlehas transformed Shooting Light from promising chaser to the finished article.

    “Shooting Light has always been a hesitant, careful jumper; when he gets to a fence he takes a look, shuffles and loses about five lengths,” said Brown who is currently on holiday in Florida. “But at Cheltenham the other day the further he went the better he jumped and in the end he was letting McCoy tell him when to jump.”

    Celibate and Eau De Cologne, first and second at Wincanton, will make their presence felt, while Foly Pleasant, from the Henrietta Knight stable, won his seasonal debut at Stratford and has been the subject of a hefty gamble.

    Stan’s Your Man won at Kelso this week in the style of a very progressive chaser and is another to make this a fascinating contest.

    Knight could be on the mark with Hati Roy in the Intervet Trophy, where Earthmover, Beau and You’re AGoodun will ensure a keen contest.

    Philip Hobbs’s Brother Joe is difficult to oppose in the Tote Bookmakers Handicap Hurdle after his impressive reappearance here recently.

    Westender, representing the Pipe-McCoy combination, trotted up here last time and should continue his progress through the ranks in the Rehabilitation of Racehorses Hurdle on Sunday.

    At Haydock Kingsmark may win the Edward Hanmer Chase for the second year, though Frantic Tan and Behrajan will help to make this an intriguing trial for the Hennessy Gold Cup at Newbury in a fortnight.

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