According To Pete is one of 47 entries for the 150,000 Grade Three Boylesports.com Gold Cup (2.30pm) at Cheltenham on Saturday, December 13, and trainer Malcolm Jefferson is hoping to run his exciting novice in the prestigious two mile, five furlong handicap chase. The seven-year-old, rated a 14/1 chance by Boylesports, ran a great race over hurdles at The Festival in March when third to Ballyfitz in the three-mile Pertemps Final. Switched to fences this autumn, According To Pete is unbeaten in two starts over the bigger obstacles and showed his class and versatility at Haydock on November 22,when capturing the lucrative Betfair Fixed Brush Handicap Hurdle by nine lengths from Souffleur.
Jefferson revealed today: "Theres a good chance According to Pete would go to Cheltenham for the Boylesports.com Gold Cup, providing the ground isnt too quick. If it were to be soft ground like it was at Haydock, theres a very good chance he would go there.
This years strong entry represents an increase of two on last year when 45 horse were engaged. The Boylesports.com Gold Cup is one of the feature races on the second day of the two-day Boylesports International, which takes place on Friday, December 12 and Saturday, December 13.
The entry also includes Imperial Commander who won the Grade Three Paddy Power Gold Cup over half a furlong shorter at Cheltenham on November 15 and has been installed as the 7/2 favourite by Boylesports to complete the double. Nigel Twiston-Davies charge will bid to emulate Exotic Dancer, who won both contests in 2006 for trainer Jonjo ONeill and could line up again this year.
LAntartique won the Paddy Power Gold Cup for trainer Ferdy Murphy in 2007 and the nine-year-old could bid for further Cheltenham glory along with stablemates Aces Four and Three Mirrors, who was a staying on fifth behind Imperial Commander at The Open last time.
Champion trainer Paul Nicholls has yet to win the Boylesports.com Gold Cup but has seven horses engaged, including Silverburn who was sent off favourite for the Paddy Power Gold Cup earlier this month but blundered two out and ultimately finished sixth.
Nicholls could also run Noland, winner of a Grade Three Chase at Down Royal on November 1, Galway Plate victor Oslot, the progressive Nozic, Grade Two John Smiths Mildmay Novices Chase hero Big Bucks, Racing Post Plate runner-up Gwanako and former top-class novice New Little Bric.
Nicky Henderson could bid for a third success in the race with the aptly-named 8/1 joint third-favourite Jack The Giant, who was the easy winner of a two mile, one furlong Ascot handicap chase on November 22. The towering gelding could line up alongside stablemate Barbers Shop, the 7/1 second favourite with Boylesports who is owned by The Queen and was runner-up to Imperial Commander in the Paddy Power Gold Cup. Hendersons quartet of entries is completed by recent Grade Two Amlin 1965 Chase victor and 8/1 joint third-favourite My Petra and Trabolgan. The last-named, winner of the Grade One Royal & SunAlliance Chase at the 2005 Festival, has not been seen since winning the Hennessy Cognac Gold Cup under top-weight three years ago.
Tamarinbleu landed the Boylesports.com Gold Cup last year for trainer David Pipe. His quartet consists of the former classy hurdler Acambo, Abragante, the hat-trick seeking Im So Lucky and Paddy Power Gold Cup also-ran Piraya.
Philip Hobbs, victorious with Monkerhostin in 2004, saddled Private Be to take third in the Paddy Power Gold Cup and the Somerset trainers quintet also includes Oceanos Des Obeaux, Ring The Boss, Gold Medallist and Lord Henry.
The last Irish-trained winner was Sir OJ for Noel Meade in 2005 and there are four Irish horses engaged this time, headed by the Tom Taaffe-trained Finger Onthe Pulse, winner of the Listed Jewson Novices Handicap Chase over the course and distance at The Festival in March.
Skys The Limit, twice a Grade One winner as a novice chaser last season, could represent Edward OGrady, who won the race in 2000 with Go Roger Go, while Willie Mullins has entered Scotsirish and Arthur Moore may saddle Notable DEstruval.
Sue Smith has entered Grade Three Racing Post Plate winner Mister McGoldrick and Crozan, while the in-form Peter Bowen could run Yes Sir, who was still in the mix when falling four out in the Paddy Power Gold Cup last time.
Il Duce is one of four entries for trainer Alan King, while Henry Daly has entered Billyvoddan and recent Haydock winner Possol. Others entered include the Nick Williams-trained Maljimar, Nation State, trained by Gary Moore, Regal Heights from the Donald McCain yard, the Howard Johnson-trained Frankie Figg, and Stan, who could represent trainer Venetia Williams. Weights for the Boylesports.com Gold Cup will be revealed on Wednesday, December 3.