Don’t overlook Attaglance in Stewart Family Thank You Gold Cup

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Seemingly overlooked by the handicapper despite putting in a career best performance in the Paddy Power Gold Cup, readers shouldn’t make the same mistake about Attaglance, 10/1 to win the Stewart Family Thank You Gold Cup at Cheltenham.

Malcolm Jefferson’s yard in Norton North Yorkshire had been enduring a quiet spell before Attaglance and Cape Tribulation landed a massive handicap hurdle double at the 2012 Cheltenham Festival.

The pair then pulled out all the stops for their handler by going on to defy massive weights to complete handicap double-doubles at the Aintree Festival a month later.

Both geldings’ 2012/13 chase campaigns were hotly anticipated, but while Cape Tribulation won the Argento Chase on the way to a Cheltenham Gold Cup appearance, Attaglance faltered over the larger obstacles.

The then six-year-old failed to get within 19l of the winner in three of his four runs over fences last term.

His first outing of 2013/14 offered encouragement that the clouds were lifting, but it was his 6l fourth in the Paddy Power Chase a month ago that really served notice that the son of Passing Glance was beginning to relish his steeplechasing.

The significance of that run should not be lost on punters, with five of the last eight winners of the Stewart Family Thank You Gold Cup – or December Gold Cup as it’s often known – having finished in the first five of that year’s Paddy Power.

The prevalence of crossover success is hardly surprising given the races are run at the same track, with the December contest run over just half a furlong further.

Two of the three horses who beat Attaglance home in November are in opposition once more for the International Meeting’s Saturday showpiece.

John’s Spirit and Colour Squadron share 6/1 favouritism despite having been raised 9lbs and 7lbs respectively for their exertions last time.

Yet oddly Jefferson’s seven-year-old was left unchanged on a mark of 137 by the assessor for finishing no more than 6l behind the pair.

Six lengths is a fair distance, but when it’s considered that Attaglance’s lowly rating had him 6lbs wrong at the weights that afternoon, the fact that he races from inside the handicap this time around makes him far better off on official ratings.

Having finished first in an ultra-competitive Cheltenham handicap over hurdles then fourth in an even higher quality race over fences, he’s a great each-way bet at 10/1, with four places on offer.

Less exposed than John’s Spirit over fences, Attaglance also swerves a 5lb penalty as he’s yet to break his chasing duck, a fact which he could well change at Cheltenham.

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