1) 2313 Azertyuiop 38 Paul Nicholls 8-11-10 Ruby Walsh
Ran below par at Cheltenham when Well Chief was ahead of him. He has yet to win at Sandown too. Too short a price to take any chances with. BP= 5/4
2) 1317 Contraband 14 Martin Pipe 7-11-10 Tony McCoy
Very useful novice who ran poorly at Aintree - the ground may have been against him - and this faster ground will suit. Can be moody but has the right jockey in Tony McCoy. BP= 16/1
3) F122 Well Chief 38 Martin Pipe 6-11-10 Timmy Murphy
Very consistent and improving sort. Sure to run well again but does not look any value after a hard season. BP= 6/4
4) 7393 Armaturk 7 Paul Nicholls 8-11-06 Christian Williams
Useful sort but will struggle in this contest. BP= 25/1
5) -349 Golden Alpha 16 Martin Pipe 11-11-06 Rodi Greene
Likes fast ground but is not up to this class. BP= 50/1
6) 9F33 Le Duc 2 Paul Nicholls 6-11-06 Mick Fitzgerald
The trip is too short and the horse too moody. BP= 50/1
7) 4522 Le Roi Miguel 10 Paul Nicholls 7-11-06 Barry Geraghty
Very useful sort but two miles is almost certainly too short. BP=11/1
8) 65PP Seebald 37 Martin Pipe 10-11-06 Tom Scudamore
Out of form and outclassed. BP= 40/1
9) 1F11 Locksmith 7 Martin Pipe 5-11-03 Tom Malone
Useful front running novice but this is a considerable step up in class. BP= 16/1
A race to watch really but if you want a bet CONTRABAND each-way is the value.
BETFRED GOLD CUP CODEBREAKER
3.15pm Sandown, Saturday, April 23, 2005, 3m 5.5f
all of the last 18 winners were placed in the first two at least once earlier in the campaign
16 of the last 18 winners were aged between seven and 10
16 of the last 18 winners started at 14/1 or below
15 of the last 18 winners carried 10st 10lb or less to victory
The valuable Betfred Gold Cup, run over nearly three miles and six furlongs, takes pride of place on Saturday, April 23, in a mixed programme at Sandown Park.
Since 1987, all of the 18 winners of this last big handicap chase of the season had been placed in the first two at least once earlier in the campaign.
Therefore, out of the 19 declared runners, Codebreaker can immediately discount Lucky Bay and Jurancon II who have failed to be first or second this season.
Age is another important factor, with one six-year-old and one 11-year-old having been successful in the last 18 runnings, with the coveted prize normally going to horses aged between seven and 10.
Two of trainer Martin Pipe’s runners fall by the wayside here, the young Comply Or Die and the older Maximize.
15 of the last 18 winners carried 10st 10lb or less to victory. The three exceptions were Puntal (11st 4lb) last year when the weights went up a lot at the declaration stage, Life Of A Lord on 11st 10lb in 1996, and the great grey Desert Orchid on 11st 11lb in 1988.
Therefore, Therealbandit, last year’s second Royal Auclair, Joly Bey, Stormez, Ballycassidy and Iris Bleu can go on the discard pile for having too much weight.
16 of the last 18 winners started at 14/1 or below - the two anomalies being Puntal and Howard Johnson’s Ushers Island in 1994 who both struck at 25/1.
Boy’s Hurrah, Merchant’s Friend and Joint Authority get the chop on this issue.
This leaves six still to consider. The favourite, French raider Kelami, Inca Trail, Juveigneur, Zeta’s River, Whitenzo and Irish hope Jack’s High.
A favourite has not won this competitive chase since 1991 and so Kelami is left behind.
All the last 18 winners had their previous outing at the Cheltenham Festival in March or afterwards which means Inca Trail, who won at Sandown on March 12, joins the discards.
Only one of the 18 latest scorers - Harwell Lad - had not run at major meetings in April or March, mainly the Aintree Grand national three days or the Cheltenham Festival.
Whitenzo has been cleverly placed by trainer Paul Nicholls to win his last three races but none were at major meetings and he is left out.
Irish winners of the Betfred Gold Cup are rare - there has been one in the last 18 years (Life Of The Lord) - and so Jack High disappears too.
This leaves the choice between the Nicky Henderson-trained Juveigneur and novice Zeta’s River from Martin Pipe’s stable.
It is no easy matter to decide which of the pair becomes the Codebreaker selection.
There is little between them but the fact that Martin Pipe has won two of the last three renewals while Nicky Henderson was successful with Brown Windsor back in 1989 means that the pick is ZETA’S RIVER.