Caspian Caviar Gold Cup betting tips: Rather Be looks tasty in Cheltenham feature

Horsebetting.com experts give their Caspian Caviar Gold Cup betting tips for the 2m 4f feature Grade 3 handicap chase on a cracking seven-race card at Cheltenham on Saturday, 15 December. Rather Be looks potentially ahead of his mark and thus worth a wager to provide in-form trainer Nicky Henderson with a fourth winner of the race. Baron Alco landed the valuable BetVictor Gold Cup at the track las month and looks sure to make a bold bid to follow-up, so is feared most. Last year’s winner Guitar Pete, meanwhile, looks to have been primed to make a bold bid to retain his crown and appeals each-way in an ultra-competitive 15-runner affair. Read our in-depth 2018 Caspian Caviar Gold Cup betting tips preview for more details on these horses’ chances on day two of The International meeting at Prestbury Park.

Unibet logo
Odds
100/30
Selection
Rather Be
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Betfred logo
Odds
6/1
Danger
Baron Alco
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William Hill logo
Odds
10/1
E/W
Guitar Pete
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Rather Be the one to be on in Caspian Caviar Gold Cup

Rather Be looks to hold outstanding claims of providing trainer Nicky Henderson with a fourth winner of the Caspian Caviar Gold Cup, the 2m 4f feature handicap chase on a cracking seven-race card at Cheltenham on Saturday (13:55). This seven-year-old showed progressive form as a hurdler when winning three times, landing an ultra-competitive Grade 2 handicap hurdle at Aintree by half-a-length in the last of those off a mark of 136.

He could not have been more impressive on chasing debut at Towcester 12 months ago when making all to easily beat War Sound by 19 lengths off an official rating of 143. After then unseating his rider at the third next time up at Plumpton, Rather Be got back to winning ways when making all and winning at a canter by 17 lengths at Fakenham.

Rather Be then ran a screamer in defeat when a head second of 18 to Mister Whitaker over course and distance in the Close Brothers Novices’ Handicap Chase at the Festival off an opening chase mark of 143. He looked poised for glory when jumping the last in front but, following a titanic tussle on the run-in, lost out in the dying strides.

Festival form regarded

The winner, to whom he was conceding 6lb, has since landed a Listed contest at Carlisle before finishing a fine fourth in last month’s BetVictor Gold Cup here off a mark of 152, so that gives the form a really solid look.

It suggests that a current rating of 149 could still seriously underestimate Rather Be’s ability, as he was in the process of running a big race off it in that same race on seasonal reappearance when getting brought down at the fourth last and holding every chance.

So, with underfoot conditions ideal, and the yard in fine form and operating at a strike rate of 30 per cent in the past fortnight at the time of writing, Rather Be looks to have plenty going for him in this. We therefore had no hesitation in making him the main selection in our 2018 Caspian Caviar Gold Cup betting tips.

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Big double chasing Baron Alco feared most

Baron Alco showed a really willing attitude to land the aforementioned BetVictor Gold Cup and looks sure to make a bold bid to follow-up off 6lb higher. Trained by Gary Moore, the seven-year-old has the chance to become just the fourth horse to win both that and the Caspian Caviar in the same season – after Pegwell Bay (1988), Senor El Betrutti (1997) and Exotic Dancer (2006).

The son of Dom Alco raced at the head of affairs throughout under Jamie Moore and, after being driven four lengths clear approaching the last, responded generously for pressure to gamely fend off the challenge of Frodon and score by two lengths. Baron Alco idled on the run-in and was always doing enough, so looked value for more than the winning margin.

Prior to that most taking success he had run a cracker when a head second to Charbel at Chepstow following a lengthy spell on the sidelines. The winner has gone on to land the Grade 2 Peterborough Chase at Huntingdon in fine style by eight lengths, so that is strong form.

Don’t forget back form

It’s also worth bearing in mind that Baron Alco had some very smart form to his name as a novice in 2016-17 before getting injured. He won twice, finished a five-length runner-up to Top Notch in a Grade 1 at Sandown and rounded off the campaign with a excellent six lengths second of 24 to subsequent three-time Grade 1 winner and now 169-rated Road To Respect in the Brown Advisory Plate at the 2017 Festival here over roughly this trip.

As Baron Alco was giving Road To Respect 1lb that day, a revised rating of 152 does not look beyond him. His proven course form is also a big plus, so he looks sure to go well and appeals as the one to give Rather Be most to think about in our 2018 Caspian Caviar Gold Cup betting tips.

Defending champ Guitar Pete the each-way play

Last year’s winner Guitar Pete ran very well when a 10-length third to Baron Alco in the BetVictor Gold Cup and now meets that rival on 5lb better terms. That was his third run of the season and he looks to have been primed to make a bold bid to retain his crown by Penrith-based handler Nicky Richards.

The eight-year-old stayed on strongly to land the spoils 12 months ago when beating the very smart Clan Des Obeaux by 2 3/4 lengths off a mark of 134, and the pair pulled five lengths clear of the third home. Guitar Pete also ran well in a Grade 3 at the Festival here in March when keeping on well to finish a never nearear 9 1/4 lengths sixth of 22 to The Storyteller off 139.

He is now able to race off a rating of 137 – just 3lb higher than last year – and that makes him a big player at the weights. The stable has also been among the winners of late and is operating at a strike rate of 25 per cent in the last 14 days at the time of writing. Guitar Pete is also versatile as regards ground and has sneaked in off joint bottom weight of 10st.

Only Poquelin has won back-to-back runnings of this (2009 and 2010), but Guitar Pete looks to have lots in his favour and every chance of doing the same. That’s why, at the odds on offer, he features as the each-way punt and completes our 2018 Caspian Caviar Gold Cup betting tips.

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