SOMEONE once told me not to take too much notice of statistics and trends when it comes to picking big race winners as they are simply there to be broken.
Tomorrow’s BetVictor Gold Cup (2.25pm) hadn’t previously been a happy hunting ground for horses aged eight or over carrying more than 11st 6lbs until Taquin Du Seuil won 12 months ago.
Only one horse older than eight had won since 2003 (Little Josh in 2010) and in that same time period only Our Vic (2005) and Al Ferof (2012) had shouldered more than 11st 2lbs to victory.
However, the class of former Grade One winner Taquin Du Seuil shone through and the nine-year-old bucked the trends in a thrilling finish.
I’m expecting the classiest horse in the line-up to get the job done again tomorrow as I am pretty sweet on the chances of KYLEMORE LOUGH on his first start for Harry Fry.
The eight-year-old enjoyed plenty of success for his former trainer Kerry Lee including victory in the Grade One Ryanair Gold Cup at Fairyhouse back in March 2016.
Things didn’t really go to plan last season as he failed to win any of his four starts and connections decided a change of scenery was in order.
He joined Harry Fry, who incidentally has his string in unbelievably good form at present, back in May and this race has been the target since then as the horse historically goes so well fresh.
The best performance last season came on his first start of the campaign when beaten a head in a Grade Two at Ascot and he had previously showed the benefits of a break when winning at Haydock in February 2016 after a couple of months off.
Fry will have straightened out any physical problems hindering the horse and a mark of 154 looks fair considering he ran so well from 2lbs higher in a similar race here last December.
Annacotty won this race two years ago on his first start for Alan King after switching from Martin Keighley’s yard and I’ve got a sense of déjà vu here.
All the fancy prices about Kylemore Lough have long gone, but 5/1 with Ladbrokes and Coral still looks fair to me.
There has been plenty of support in recent days for Irish raider Tully East who did us a great turn by landing the novice handicap at last season’s Cheltenham Festival.
He would have blown the cobwebs away with a recent spin over hurdles last month and won’t be far away, even off a 10lb higher mark.
The pick of Paul Nicholls’ team is probably Romain De Senam who looks a different horse this season.
He is definitely improving having won both starts over fences recently, but will find things tougher now he is 12lbs higher in the weights.
Trainer Martin Pipe won this race eight times in his glittering career, so it must have been special to watch his son David land the prize six years ago with Great Endeavour.
One thing for certain is that the Pipe family know how to ready one for this contest and STARCHITECT could be the one who gives my selection most to think about.
He has slightly fluffed his lines on the big stage, having finished fifth on both of his two starts at the Cheltenham Festival.
Both were fair runs but the market on those occasions suggests more may have been expected.
That said, he looked on good terms with himself on his reappearance at Stratford and it may just be that he is about to fulfil his potential at the age of six even from a career high chasing mark.
My final vote goes to Nigel Twiston-Davies’ FOXTAIL HILL who jumped them ragged here at the last meeting.
He has such a likeable attitude that he is hard to leave out of calculations even racing off a 7lb higher mark.
The step up in trip should be no problem as he won over the distance here in January under today’s pilot Jamie Bargary who steps in to replace the injured Sam Twiston-Davies.
He takes off a valuable 3lbs and the pair should take plenty of catching if returning on another going day.