Weird Al will take on the likes of Imperial Commander, Long Run, Kauto Star and Denman in the Cheltenham Gold Cup after connections decided the showpiece race was a more tempting proposition than the Ryanair Chase.
Weird Al was a huge price at 20/1 to win the Ryanair Chase and many ante post punters would’ve been hoping for a strong run from the Ian Williams-trained eight-year-old against the likes of Poquelin (5/2), Kalahari King (4/1) and Tranquil Sea (11/2).
But those ante posts hopes have been dashed and punters may be a little more sceptical about backing Weird Al at 33/1 to win the Cheltenham Gold Cup.
A disappointing Hennessey Gold Cup run led to Weird Al’s first defeat over fences when finishing eight behind the likes of Diamond Harry and Denman, but the eight-year-old has since gone through a breathing operation and trainer Williams is hopeful of a big performance from his star.
But despite giving away almost two stone to Denman in the Hennessey Gold Cup, Weird Al finished 27 lengths behind the 2008 Gold Cup winner, and at 6/1 to win the 2011 Gold Cup, Denman is surely the better bet.
Weird Al was a leading novice chaser in 2010 and was a market leader in the 2010 RSA Chase betting before injury ruled him out.
A dead-heat finish with Paddy Power Gold Cup winner Little Josh and an underwhelming Hennessey run since suggests Weird Al has not yet regained the form that propelled him to the top of the novice chaser ranks, and backing him in the Gold Cup betting on that form would be difficult.
He does have two course wins to his name though and if he does run well fresh like his trainer says he does, then he potentially has the ability to trouble the place positions.
A £25 stake on Denman winning the Gold Cup would return £150. New customers can sign up here for a free £25 bet.