Timeform's weight-adjusted ratings for the Coral Gold Cup (14:50) are headed by Datsalrightgino (181), one of two potential runners for Jamie Snowden, who has the 'Hot Trainer' Flag to denote that his yard is in rude health. Datsalrightgino wasn't seen to best effect after six months off when finishing down the field in the Old Roan Chase at Aintree last time, still having plenty to do on the home turn having lost his place completely when shuffled back early on the final circuit. He is better judged on his previous form and the way he shaped when winning the Future Champion Novices' Chase at Ayr back in April suggests he's well worth a try over this sort of trip.
Snowden could also be represented by Ga Law (177), though his first preference is the Rehearsal Chase at Newcastle. Like stable companion Datsalrightgino, Ga Law has his stamina to prove over this trip, though he was still finding when falling at the last in the Sky Bet Chase at Doncaster in January, his first run over three miles. He is now 2 lb lower in the weights and has cheekpieces fitted for the first time following a lacklustre effort on his return to action in the West Yorkshire Hurdle at Wetherby.
Complete Unknown (179) fared better when returning from six months off (had a breathing operation in the interim) at Newton Abbot last time, albeit he made rather hard work of winning that intermediate chase, needing to be kept up to his work on the run-in to land the spoils by a length. A very smart novice last season, he remains low mileage after just five starts over fences and could have more to offer as his stamina is drawn out further. He's certainly in the right hands with Paul Nicholls, another with the 'Hot Trainer' Flag as he seeks a fourth win in this prestigious handicap.
Monbeg Genius (178p) came a long way in his five starts over fences last season and he ended the campaign with a fine third in the Ultima Handicap Chase at the Cheltenham Festival, impressing with the way he went through the race and keeping on well to be beaten only two and a quarter lengths. The first two from that contest, Corach Rambler (Grand National) and Fastorslow (Punchestown Gold Cup and John Durkan Memorial Chase), have both won big races subsequently, so it's clearly a very strong piece of form. It's worth putting a line through Monbeg Genius' reappearance run at Ascot, when one jumping error cost him his chance, and he remains one to be positive about from this mark with further progress on the cards.
Top weight Ahoy Senor (177x) must concede at least 12 lb to each of his 19 rivals, but he's clearly the class act in the line-up having run to a very high level on a couple of occasions last season, notably winning the Cotswold Chase at Cheltenham and chasing home Shishkin in the Bowl Chase at Aintree. He was let down by his jumping in the Cheltenham Gold Cup in between, though, and it was a similar story when he was pulled up on his return to action in the Charlie Hall Chase at Wetherby last month. He has the 'Horse For Course' Flag having impressed on his only previous visit to Newbury, but there's no margin for error from this lofty mark.
Midnight River (177) was similarly no match for the first two when he finished third in the Charlie Hall, but that outing should have blown the cobwebs away after seven months off and plenty of horses from the Dan Skelton stable have been improving for a run this season. Skelton, who also has the 'Hot Trainer' Flag, won this race last year with Le Milos and Midnight River is no forlorn hope to follow up from just a 5 lb higher mark than when comfortably winning a valuable handicap at Aintree in April.
Stolen Silver (177) has a 7 lb rise in the weights to contend with having returned from seven months off with an impressive victory in a handicap at Chepstow in October, proving well suited by the step up to three miles as he stormed clear in the straight to win by six lengths (eased close home). That was a career-best effort and it earned him the 'Horse In Focus' Flag to underline that he remains one to be interested in for Sam Thomas, another with the 'Hot Trainer' Flag. Thomas also saddles Our Power (176), who enjoyed a productive campaign over fences in 2022/23 and shaped as if needing the run after seven months off when well held in a handicap hurdle at this course last time.
Cloudy Glen (177) and Remastered (177?) both have the 'Horse For Course' Flag having played a leading role in previous editions of this race, though neither horse is the easiest to predict. Cloudy Glen was a determined winner in 2021 for Venetia Williams – who also has the 'Hot Trainer' Flag – and he shaped as if retaining most of his ability when filling the runner-up spot on his reappearance at Cheltenham a couple of weeks ago, while Remastered was still travelling strongly when falling four out the year Cloudy Glen won this race. Remastered then filled the runner-up spot behind Le Milos 12 months ago, but he's been out of sorts since winning his next start at Kempton from 4 lb lower than today's mark.
Total Recall is the only Irish-trained winner of this race since 1980, but Mahler Mission (176) and Stumptown (173) are a couple in this year's line-up with claims of emulating him. A smart novice chaser last term, when he probably would have won the National Hunt Chase at Cheltenham but for falling two out, Mahler Mission shaped well after eight months off when finding one too good in an intermediate chase at Carlisle last time, doing well to be beaten only three and a half lengths over an inadequate trip. That performance earned him the 'Horse In Focus' Flag and he's an interesting contender now back up in trip for his handicap debut.
As for Stumptown, he contested some good handicaps in 2022/23, producing his best effort when beaten just a neck in the Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Chase at Cheltenham. This demands more from an 8 lb higher mark, though, and his two starts this season have lacked the enthusiasm that characterised his quick rise through the handicap ranks last season.
Similar comments apply to Kitty's Light (176), well held in two starts over hurdles so far this season. He's a smart and most likeable staying chaser on his day, though, with his remarkable hat-trick of victories in the Eider Chase at Newcastle, Scottish Grand National at Ayr and bet365 Gold Cup at Sandown at the end of the last campaign still fresh in the memory.
Of the rest, Twig (176) and Bill Baxter (173) both deserve a mention. Twig won the Summer Cup at Uttoxeter back in July and showed he can be competitive from this sort of mark when last seen filling the runner-up spot in a handicap at Cheltenham a few weeks ago, while Bill Baxter won four of his five completed starts over fences last season, culminating with a game success in the Topham Chase at Aintree. He's still unexposed as a staying chaser and this test will suit him better than the intermediate chase he contested on his return from seven months off at Carlisle (had a breathing operation subsequently).
Timeform Analyst's Verdict:
Highly progressive in his novice season over fences, Monbeg Genius was undone by a mistake on his return at Ascot four weeks ago. The pick of his form last term, not least his third behind subsequent National hero Corach Rambler at Cheltenham in March, indicates he remains one to be interested in from this mark. Mahler Mission produced a solid comeback run at Carlisle and he's feared, along with Datsalrightgino. Complete Unknown and Midnight River complete the shortlist.
Timeform's weight-adjusted ratings:
179 Complete Unknown
178p Monbeg Genius
177 Cloudy Glen
177 Ga Law
177 Midnight River
177 Stolen Silver
177x Ahoy Senor
176 Eldorado Allen
176 Kitty's Light
176 Mahler Mission
176 Our Power
173 Bill Baxter
173 Shakem Up'Arry
168 Max Flamingo
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