PATRICKS AND IRIS POSSIBLES FOR ROBIN COOK MEMORIAL GOLD CUP
The £110,000 Robin Cook Memorial Gold Cup sponsored by totesport, run at Cheltenham on Saturday, December 10, looks like developing into a thrilling contest, and the latest two horses named as possibles are Patricksnineteenth and 2003 winner Iris Royal.
The long-awaited reappearance of Patricksnineteenth could happen in the handicap chase run over two miles and five furlongs.
Paul Webber's promising chaser has not run since finishing fourth behind Rule Supreme in the Royal and SunAlliance Chase at the 2004 Cheltenham Festival.
The Banbury handler revealed: "We'll give serious consideration to the Robin Cook Memorial Gold Cup. He's in very good form and is a much stronger, more mature horse than he was a year ago.
"If he stays sound, he'll certainly be a force to be reckoned with this season, although we certainly won't be dreaming about the Gold Cup yet - he's only rated 139 and he's got a long way to go to be considered for that race.
"We just want to see him come back safe and sound after his layoff, and then we'll think about future plans. Good to soft ground would be ideal for him."
Another possible is the 2003 victor, Iris Royal, who would be attempting to become the first horse ever to win the race twice.
Nicky Henderson's chaser finished sixth behind Impek in the totesport Peterborough Chase at Huntingdon on November 19 after returning from a long absence.
Owner Sir Robert Ogden's Racing Manager, Barry Simpson, said: "Iris Royal is no more than a possible at this stage. He seems to have come out of his comeback run fine, but you never know how these horses who have had time off will go second time out.
"He needed the race at Huntingdon and jumped well, which he always does, and we'll look at all the available options - he may even step back up to three miles."
Simpson added that the same owner's Halexy is an unlikely runner in the race.
Latest Sponsors' Betting - Robin Cook Memorial Gold Cup (sponsored by totesport)
2m5f, Cheltenham, December 10th
4 Our Vic, 7 Bold Bishop, 8 Monkerhostin, Thisthatandtother, 10 Red Devil Robert, 12 Celestial Gold, Europa, Lacdoudal, Redemption, Scots Grey, 14 Fondmort, Kandjar D'Allier, 16 Backbeat, Iris Royal, King Harald, Le Passing, Locksmith, Our Armageddon, 20 Brooklyn Breeze, Chauvinist, Hasty Prince, Ladalko, Made In Japan, My Will, Patricksnineteenth, Quazar, Therealbandit, 25 Dark'N Sharp, It Takes Time, Joly Bey, Kadount, Limerick Boy, Mambo, Risk Accessor, Sir Oj, Tigers Lair, Whispered Secret, 28 Armaturk, 33 Almost Broke, Claymore, Halexy, Lulumar, Tango Royal, 40 Jakari, Little Big Horse, Mixsterthetrixster, Vandas Choice, 50 Alexanderthegreat, East Tycoon, Polar Red, 66 Bleu Superbe, 100 You're Special
Each-Way 1/4 odds 1, 2, 3, 4
The two-day December Meeting boasts prize money of over £440,000.
Admission prices on both Friday, December 9 and Saturday, December 10 - Club/Tattersalls combined £20 on the day, £18 in advance and 16-24-year-olds £12; Best Mate Enclosure £8. Book online at cheltenham.co.uk or call 01242 226 226.
Accompanied children under 16 enjoy FREE entry while car parking is also FREE.