Haldon Gold Cup Tips & Betting Preview

The feature race of the season at Exeter is the Grade 2 Haldon Gold Cup. This year’s line-up includes a former Champion Chase winner. Read on for our full race preview and experts’ betting tips.

IN SUMMARY: 2015 Champion Chaser Dodging Bullets made late headway for a creditable third behind Sprinter Sacre at Sandown on the final day of last season but was probably flattered by his proximity to the winner there and, overall, last season’s light campaign was disappointing. It’s possible he’ll get back on track after a break but a much stronger fancy is GARDE LE VICTOIRE, who came to grief at two of the spring festivals but is a tough and consistent performer who proved his well-being when taking the Welsh Champion Hurdle last month and still has untapped potential over fences. Pain Au Chocolat is a lightly raced 5yo with some potential, while Presenting Arms comes here in good form and ought to be on the premises.

1 Dodging Bullets – Gained the latest of his three Grade 1 wins during the 2014/15 campaign in the Champion Chase at Cheltenham but seemed to have lost some zip and was below best on all three starts last season; will be fine on today’s ground and could outclass this field if back on song after a break, but his current ability is tricky to gauge.

2 Garde La Victoire – Ended first season over fences with falls at both the Cheltenham and Aintree festivals in the spring but made very good start to his chasing career beforehand, winning three times, and collected the Welsh Champion Hurdle at Ffos Las (2m, good to soft) when back in action last month; earns good marks for consistency and is a major player.

3 Sir Valentino – Completed a 2m hat-trick in late 2015 and produced another very good performance when scoring by 8l at Market Rasen (2m3f, good) in May; further progress certainly not out of the question but he was disappointing in the Summer Plate back at Market Rasen on latest outing in July and needs to bounce back with a new career-best effort here.

4 Pain Au Chocolat – Fell in a chase at the Scottish Grand National meeting in April and signed off with a disappointing hurdle run in France in May but is only a 5yo and still has fairly low mileage; collected two 2m novice chases on soft ground during the winter and has scope for improvement if he handles the quicker conditions here; sports refitted tongue-tie and first-time hood.

5 Presenting Arms – Just one win from nine starts over fences but seems to be making steady progress and has run very well to finish second on both starts since fitted with cheekpieces this autumn, in a 2m5f Listed handicap at Market Rasen and a good-quality 2m novice event at Cheltenham; climbing up the weights but probably won’t be far away.

6 Dresden – Struck form and won two good-quality handicaps in this month year, at Aintree (2m, soft) and off today’s mark Ascot (2m1f, good to soft); subsequently not beaten far in the Grand Annual Chase at the Cheltenham festival but made a very disappointing return to action last month and others have less to prove.

7 Ultragold – Won twice over about 2m last season and ended the campaign with a good second in a Listed handicap at Ayr (2m, good to soft) in April but was comfortably held when back in at Cheltenham last month and will need to have taken significant benefit from that outing to have any chance from 3lb out of the weights here.

8 Purple ‘n Gold – Quirky customer who can sometimes be a tricky horse to win with; will be suited by today’s ground and ran well when second at Fontwell (2m1f, good) in late September but is very inconsistent and even his best might not be good enough from 4lb out of the handicap today.

myracing Forecast Prices: 9/4 Garde La Victoire, 4/1 Dodging Bullets, 9/2 Pain Au Chocolat, 5/1 Presenting Arms, 8/1 Sir Valentino, 10/1 Ultragold, 14/1 Dresden, 25/1 Purple ‘n Gold

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