Kempes Enters Gold Cup Picture

William Hill

Tagged under: 3.20 Betfred Cheltenham Gold Cup Steeple Chase 3m 2 1/2f

The Willie Mullins stable's Gold Cup prospects took a severe knock yesterday when leading staying chaser Cooldine was ruled out for the season with a serious wind problem, but after running away with the Grade 1 Hennessy Gold Cup at Leopardstown today, stable companion Kempes now looks a lively outsider for the championship event next month.

Twelfth behind Go Native in the 2009 Supreme Novices' Hurdle at the Festival, the eight-year-old has taken well to the bigger obstacles and in beating the likes of Glencove Marina and Joncol the gelding has proved himself a top class staying chaser.

Always going well under jockey David Casey the 5/1 shot showed a good turn of foot to record a comfortable four and a half length victory, impressing Coral enough for that firm to go no bigger than 12/1 for the totesport Gold Cup.

Betfred, Victor Chandler and William Hill were quick to slash previous odds of 50/1 and 66/1 but still offer 25/1, a price which looks more than generous, considering the likely better ground at the Festival is sure to suit the horse, as opposed to Leopardstown's Soft to Heavy conditions.

Owner JP McManus now looks to have a credible Gold Cup candidate, as the son of Intikhab is open to plenty of improvement, pleasing racing manager Frank Berry, who said: " I was surprised how well he handled the ground.

" Davy gave him a lovely ride but I was surprised with how easily he picked them up."

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