Horse Racing By Jon Ivan-Duke

Nicholls Second-String Backed For Saturday

Punters are backing the second-string Paul Nicholls horse with William Hill for this weekend’s Grade 3 Gold Cup Handicap Chase at Cheltenham, in a move that has seen As De Mee shorten to 10-1 from 14-1.

“Paul Nicholls has a really strong hand for this weekend, but As De Mee has been the real market eye-catcher,” said William Hill spokesman Jon Ivan-Duke. “Frodon remains a pretty well-backed favourite, but maybe his biggest danger could come from his stablemate.”

More Of That has also been cut, with Jonjo O’Neill’s horse 6-1 from 7-1. The trainer has suggested More Of That could be a potential Cheltenham Gold Cup runner, with William Hill offering 33-1 for him to win National Hunt racing’s crown jewels.

Meanwhile, in the Greatwood Hurdle, Winter Escape is easily the best-backed. Alan King’s unbeaten gelding has been supported from initial odds with William Hill of 12-1 to just 11-4. However, another JP McManus-owned rival trained by Paul Nicholls, Modus, is a credible danger after staying on strongly to finish third in the William Hill Handicap Hurdle recently.

“Winter Escape is a very exciting prospect, but Modus almost won at Ascot and could go close again,” said William Hill spokesman Jon Ivan-Duke.

Winter Escape is a 40-1 chance with Hills for the Champion Hurdle.

Betvictor Gold Cup: 5-1 Frodon, 6-1 More Of That, 8-1 Double Shuffle, Taquin Du Seuil, 10-1 As De Mee, 12-1 Art Mauresque, 14-1 Bouvreuil, Buywise, Village Vic, 16-1 Annacotty, Sizing Platinum, 20-1 Aso, Stilletto, Top Gamble, Vintage Vinnie, 25-1 Ballynagour, Potters Cross, Sizing Granite, Thomas Crapper, 33-1 Full Shift, Tenor Nivernais, 40-1 Johnny Og, (EW ¼ Odds Places 1,2,3,4)

Greatwood Hurdle: 11-4 Winter Escape, 13-2 Modus, 10-1 A Hare Breath, Brain Power, Ch’Tibello, Sternrubin, 11-1 North Hill Harvey, 14-1 Leoncavallo, 16-1 John Constable, Mad Jack Mytton, Tommy Silver, 20-1 Consul De Thaix, Hargam, 33-1 Cyrius Moriviere, 40-1 Jack The Wire, Thunder Sheik, Wolf Of Windlesham, 50-1 Rossetti, Song Light, (EW ¼ Odds Places 1,2,3,4)