Poquelin has turned the December Gold Cup at Cheltenham into his own race over the past two years and it has been confirmed he will be going for the hat-trick next month. The race at the International Meeting is always a big early season betting heat and also acts as a key Ryanair Chase trial for the Festival later in the campaign. The Paul Nicholls trained horse won the December Gold Cup in style last season before finishing second in the Ryanair Chase at the Festival and connections are likely to be aiming him down the same route this winter. Poquelin is likely to be at his best for the race at the International Meeting with his owner, Andy Stewart, also sponsoring the race through his spinal research charity for the first time.
The December Gold Cup is run over the same course and distance as the Ryanair Chase at the Festival and any horse that runs well will immediately be slashed in the Cheltenham Festival Betting. Another interesting contender who could run in the December Gold Cup is the excellent grey Medermit who had a good Novice Chasing career last season. The Alan King horse won the Haldon Gold cup at Exeter recently and with the Ryanair Chase his likely target in March this is the ideal target for him as we head towards the new year. Such is the form of the Paul Nicholls yard this season though that it would be foolish to ignore Poquelin in the betting, we know he loves the course and distance and the owners will be desperate for him to head to the International Meeting on his very best form.