This year Tranquil Sea could bid to become the latest horse to capture both races following his impressive four-and-a-half length defeat of of Poquelin in the Paddy Power Gold Cup at The Open on November 14. Eight horses have managed to win both the Boylesports.com Gold Cup and Cheltenham s other early-season feature, the Grade Three Paddy Power Gold Cup. Three of those completed the double in the same season, most recently Exotic Dancer in 2006.
Tranquil Sea is one of four entries for Irish handler Edward OGrady along with the Skys The Limit, the 2006 Coral Cup victor at The Festival and a Grade One winner over fences, Bringbackthebiff and Shazand. OGrady landed the Boylesports.com Gold Cup with Go Roger Go in 2000.
In addition to Paddy Power Gold Cup runner-up Poquelin, champion trainer Paul Nicholls could also be represented by Topham Chase victor Gwanako and Chapoturgeon, who landed the Jewson Novices Handicap Chase at The Festival last season but fell at the eighth fence on his reappearance in the Paddy Power Gold Cup.
Trainer Keith Goldsworthy recently confirmed Paddy Power Gold Cup third Hold Em as on course for the Boylesports.com Gold Cup, while other runners from the November 14 contest that could return to Cheltenham next month include the sixth, Our Vic, the seventh, Il Duce, as well as Knowhere, Tarotino, My Petra and Im So Lucky who were all pulled up.
The 11 Irish-trained contenders include plenty of classy performers. In addition to the Edward OGrady-trained quartet, the potential Irish challenge could also include five from the Willie Mullins stable headed by last terms Seasons Holidays Queen Mother Champion Chase fifth Scotsirish as well as the 2008 Grand National third Snowy Morning, Pomme Tiepy, JY Vole and Jayo. Also among the contingent from Ireland are Horner Woods, who finished second to Cooldine in last seasons Grade One RSA Chase at The Festival and The Last Derby, who caused a 33/1 upset when triumphant in a Listed handicap chase at Ascot on October 31.
Other interesting contenders include Razor Royale, trained by Nigel Twiston-Davies and successful in the Irish Times Amateur Riders Handicap Chase at The Open last time out when partnered by his son Sam. Welsh handler Tim Vaughan has two entered, both owned by Paul Beck and previously trained by Venetia Williams. Atouchbetweenacara registered a facile victory over the course and distance in the Grade Two ESN Silver Trophy Limited Handicap Chase at Cheltenham s April meeting, while Stan won the same contest in 2008.