Tom Cooper believes Forpadydeplasterer could be the forgotten horse of Saturday’s Paddy Power Gold Cup at Cheltenham.
While the 10-year-old may not fit any of the statistics in that he has been around the block a bit and no horse with a double figure age has won since Clear Cut in 1975, Cooper feels there is still plenty of life in him yet.
He may be without a win since the 2009 Arkle but in that time he has finished second in another five Group Ones and run well in several other big races, usually when the ground has been against him.
He still holds an entry in tomorrow’s Clonmel Oil Chase but another trip to Prestbury Park is on the cards, where he will take part in his first ever handicap.
“He’ll be going to Cheltenham, not Clonmel,” said Cooper.
“He’s never run in a handicap before and that’s part of the reason why we’re going, we want to see how he gets on.
“I think he’s on a very attractive mark (150), that’s why we’re keen to go.
“Obviously there’s a couple of very nice horses in there but they are only approaching their second season over fences whereas our lad is a seasoned campaigner.
“The ground should be lovely, the trip is what he wants these days and they’ll go a good clip which should be perfect for him – you never really get it in the small fields in Ireland he’s been running in. He might be getting on but he’s very consistent and he was only seven lengths behind Sizing Europe on his first run of the season.”
Whether or not Gordon Elliott run Jamesie Hall in the race depends on the participation of top-weights Poquelin and Wishfull Thinking.
Elliott’s nine-year-old is currently 7lb out of the handicap but if those two were to miss the race for any reason, the weights could rise 4lb.
“We haven’t totally decided yet because he’s 7lb out of the weights,” said Elliott.
“It’s 50-50 I’d say and if he doesn‘t run he’ll go in the conditional jockeys’ race on Friday.”
Meanwhile, just seven possible runners remain in Sunday’s Dobbins & Madigans @ Punchestown Morgiana Hurdle but all are top-class.
The star name is 2011 Champion Hurdle winner Hurricane Fly from the Willie Mullins yard, who lost his title at Cheltenham in March.
Hurricane Fly did go some way to redeeming his reputation at Punchestown, beating his stablemate Zaidpour who could once again be in opposition.
Mullins could also run Blackstairmountain.
Go Native could prove to be Hurricane Fly’s toughest foe, having returned from almost two years off seemingly as good as ever.
Noel Meade has used all his skill to nurse the nine-year-old back to the track and he showed a blistering turn of foot to win a Flat race last month. But Meade has taken out Monksland.
Dermot Weld’s mare Unaccompanied could return to hurdles having run on the Flat recently, while Eddie Harty’s Captain Cee Bee, who showed his engine remains intact when beating Rebel Fitz at Tipperary, is also in the mix.
Edward O’Grady’s Staying Article is another interesting runner having finished third in a valuable handicap on just his third start over timber last season.
Mouse Morris has entered his prolific winner Baily Green in the AGK Displays Craddockstown Novice Chase at Punchestown on Sunday.
The six-year-old has won seven races in a row, including one success over hurdles, and though Morris had intended to give him a break, his amazing constitution means he remains on the go.
However, he is likely to face his toughest task since his winning streak started in May as Jessie Harrington has entered her two smart novices, Oscars Well and Jenari.
Henry de Bromhead’s Buckers Bridge also looks a smart prospect and his stablemate Darwins Fox may also run.
Dylan Ross and Twinlight make up the list.
Willie Mullins’ Back In Focus may reappear in the Florida Pearl Novice Chase after his sparkling debut over the bigger obstacles at Listowel in September.
His stiffest test may come from Dessie Hughes’ Lyreen Legend, also a winner on his chasing bow.
Mullins’ Champagne Fever, winner of the major bumpers at the Cheltenham and Punchestown Festivals in the spring, has been entered in a maiden hurdle on the same card.
He is also entered over timber at Cork on the same day and, interestingly, in a beginners’ chase at Punchestown on Saturday.
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