There is a red hot favourite for the Boylesports Gold Cup in Imperial Commander who looks well handicapped to complete the Paddy Power and Boylesports double. The sponsors have him in at 7/4 which for such a competitive handicap shows that they are taking no chances, with talk of him possibly turning out in the King George on Boxing Day.
Philip Hobbs is hoping to saddle Private Be (10st 9lb) and Gold Medallist (10st 3lb) in the Grade Three Boylesports.com Gold Cup as he goes in search of a second victory in the 150,000 contest on Saturday, December 13. The Somerset trainer previously landed the two mile, five furlong handicap chase, race 18 in the Order of Merit, with Monkerhostin in 2004.
Private Be, a 16/1 chance with the sponsor, heads to the Boylesports.com Gold Cup having finished third to Imperial Commander in the Grade Three Paddy Power Gold Cup at The Open over half a furlong shorter on November 15. The nine-year-old again ran well to be runner-up behind Classic Fiddle over two and a half miles at Newbury on November 29.
Gold Medallist (25/1), who defeated St Leger winner Brian Boru in a Deauville Group Two on the Flat in 2004, finished second to Tidal Bay in the Boylecasino.com Novices Chase over the course and distance at the Boylesports International 12 months ago. The eight-year-old was fifth to Possol on his seasonal return in a three-mile handicap chase at Haydock on November 22.
Hobbs revealed today: "We will probably run both Private Be and Gold Medallist but we will keep an eye on the weather forecast and see how the horses are in the morning."Private Be has run really well this season and I am happy with him. We had a problem with him last season so he had a breathing operation. The ground does not make a difference to him. That said, my only reservation would be giving him three fairly quick runs but he is in good heart at present.
"My concern with Gold Medallist is the prospect of softer ground. He would not want it any softer than it already is. He is a horse with class and did okay as a novice last season. He perhaps just did not get home over three miles on that softer ground at Haydock last time."
The Paul Nicholls-trained Oslot tops the weights on 11st 12lb, followed by stablemate Nozic (11st 10lb). Nicholls could also run Silverburn (11st), the 9/2 second-favourite. Finger Onthe Pulse (11st 7lb) is on course to represent trainer Tom Taaffe, while Ferdy Murphy is looking to saddle Three Mirrors (11st 2lb).
David Pipe was successful last year with Tamarinbleu and the Pond House trainer relies on Abragante (10st 2lb) this time. Other acceptors include the Nicky Henderson-trained My Petra (11st 4lb) and Scotsirish (11st 5lb) from the Willie Mullins stable.