Now or never time for Grands Crus in Paddy Power Gold Cup

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There are some potentially big challenges awaiting Grands Crus in his second chasing season, but a failure to win the Paddy Power Gold Cup must put his chances of fulfilling his lofty ambitions for the campaign in jeopardy.

Grands Crus is 3/1 to win the Paddy Power Gold Cup and this would seemingly be his easiest assignment of the campaign.

Firstly in his favour is the reduced trip to 2m4f, a distance at which he won his only previous chase start by 10 lengths.

Although he does have a 3m victory on his resume, it was not totally convincing that he saw out the whole trip and stamina could prove problematic again, especially if at a demanding track like Cheltenham.

Therefore, a significant challenge over 3m2f in the Cheltenham Gold Cup this season would appear far-fetched.

The King George at a flatter Kempton is possible, but sticking to 2m4f would make more sense.

This means that the Paddy Power represents a bit of a crossroads for Grands Crus, as if he loses, where to target him for the rest of the season would not be obvious.

He is clearly well handicapped for the Paddy Power, getting in at a lighter weight than the likes of Menorah and Al Ferof.

In reality, if he cannot not win this race off a rating of 157 he has no chance in the King George, for which he is currently the 5/1 second favourite behind Long Run.

Also in his favour is that six of the last ten winners have been aged seven, while seven in this time have been rated at least 146.

Throw in that every winner since 1991 had previous triumphed at 2m4f and 11 of the last 14 was a previous chase victor at Cheltenham, then Grands Crus is tough to oppose.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Craig Kemp

Craig has written for Ladbrokes since the 2010 World Cup, having previously gained a Media & Sports Journalism degree and contributed to publications including the Racing Post. His main areas of interest are horse racing and UFC, but he is also an avid X Factor gambler and likes nothing more than indulging in a spot of Hip Hop Karaoke.