Play may go straight for Gold

Hennessy Gold Cup winner State Of Play may head to the totesport Cheltenham Gold Cup without another run.

Hennessy Gold Cup winner State Of Play may head to the totesport Cheltenham Gold Cup without another run.

The seven-year-old won the Newbury showpiece in fantastic style by four lengths from Juveigneur, but Evan Williams is reluctant to run his pride and joy in testing conditions, which are currently prevalent throughout the UK.

“The weather is prompting me to leave him until the Gold Cup as the last thing I want to do is run him in this sort of ground,” he said.

“I think that would be an absolutely ridiculous thing to do. The best trial for him could be the Gold Cup.

“I have to say the horse is exceptionally well in himself. He came out of the Hennessy win extremely well and there is an air of confidence about him currently.

“With the way the weather is at the moment, it would not be a great surprise if he went straight to the Gold Cup and then we can plan the rest of the season after that,” he told At The Races.

“Everybody said I was mad to take him straight to the Hennessy. People were saying: ‘What is the mad Welsh farmer doing?’ but if you are confident in what you are doing, and he did all his work at home for the Hennessy, it is okay.

“We have brought plenty of horses back (from long absences) and my supporters realise that we can do that, so it makes no difference to me if he went straight to the Gold Cup.

“In fact, it could be a benefit as State Of Play does go incredibly well fresh and in this day and age you should be able to prepare a horse for a big race without a run.”

State Of Play is a general 14-1 chance for big-race glory at Cheltenham in March.

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