Caspian Carviar Gold Cup Preview: Long House Hall to take victory for in-form Dan Skelton

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Long House Hall – 16-1 Betfair Sportsbook

Cheltenham stage the big handicap of the week, weather permitting, on Saturday afternoon with the Caspian Caviar Gold Cup for which 17 horses stood their ground at Monday’s forfeit stage headed by the Paul Nicholls-trained Clan Des Obeaux. The master of Ditcheat holds a strong hand in the 2m 5f handicap chase for as well as being responsible for the top weight Nicholls has another two potential live challengers in Romain De Senam and Betvictor Gold Cup third Le Prezien.

Bookmakers fail to agree on the chances of Nicholls’ two main contenders with Ladbrokes offering 6-1 about both Clan Des Obeaux and Le Prezien while Skybet, William Hill and Betfred have the latter two points bigger on 8-1. Romain De Senam is a best price 12-1 with Skybet, ladbrokes and Coral and it is easy to see one or more of the trio being concerned at the business end of the race formerly known as the Massey Ferguson Gold Cup and December Gold Cup, among others.

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The two horses who finished in front of Le Prezien in last month’s Betvictor Gold Cup – Splash Of Ginge and Starchitect – are sure to be in opposition once again as is our unlucky 25-1 selection on that occasion Guitar Pete who lost any chance when brought to a standstill by the fall of Theinval at the first fence. With a clear run this time Nicky Richards charge could outrun his odds of 20-1 but the horse who really takes the eye at the 16-1 available with Betfair Sportsbook is the Dan Skelton inmate Long House Hall.

The nine-year-old was a talented hurdler, finding only Diamond King too good when second in last year’s Coral Cup at the Cheltenham Festival, and is lightly raced over the bigger obstacles winning two of his four starts. After an impressive debut over fences when winning a Bangor novice chase by 12 lengths the son of Saddlers’ Hall suffered a bad experience on his next start at Cheltenham when unseating his jockey early on before falling riderless at the second-last. Following a couple of confidence boosters over hurdles Long House Hall reverted back to fences when a close-up fourth at Uttoxeter in May 2016.

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Tenderly ridden on that occasion the gelding got back to winning ways just over six weeks later when taking the valuable Betfred Summer Plate at Market Rasen. Trainer Dan Skelton is having an amazing start to the season and despite the horses’ long absence is sure to have his charge spot-on for his first major target of the current campaign and can provide the stable with yet another big payday this weekend.

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