Protektorat cut for Gold Cup glory
Coral have cut Protektorat to 8/1 (from 10/1) for the Boodles Gold Cup and removed the 12/1 shot from their Ladbrokes King George betting after trainer Dan Skelton confirmed his Haydock winner would prep for the blue riband in the Cotswold Chase next month, rather than at Kempton on Boxing Day.
Third in the Gold Cup behind A Plus Tard in the spring, the seven-year-old reversed that form with Henry de Bromhead’s misfiring champion in style when making a statement in Haydock’s Betfair Chase last month.
Protektorat came home an unchallenged 11 lengths clear of the second Eldorado Allen when scoring on Merseyside and with Skelton’s focus on keeping momentum high ahead of another tilt at the Festival’s showpiece contest, Kempton’s Christmas feature will have to take a back seat on this occasion.
He said: “The plan is he will go to the Cotswold Chase then the Gold Cup. He has come out of Haydock really well and looks fantastic.
“The reason for not going for the King George is that I don’t want to run him right-handed which isn’t necessarily in his favour, get beat, then get left with a rebuilding task on your hands to get him in shape for the Gold Cup.
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“To win a Gold Cup I think you have got to have a very smooth preparation and I can just see a King George being an unsmooth preparation.
“The reason I entered him is I thought if all the weather we are currently having happened and they suddenly rearranged for Cheltenham on New Year’s Day then I would want to be in it
“I think we will try a King George one day for sure, but I don’t want to do that at the moment as I think there is a smoother route for this horse to take.”
Coral’s David Stevens said: “With Dan Skelton – a brilliant target trainer – confirming his star will prep for the Gold Cup at Cheltenham next month rather than facing a tougher task in the King George, the Grade One winner has been clipped into single-figure odds for the March showpiece.”
Boodles Gold Cup betting
5/2 Galopin Des Champs
6/1 A Plus Tard, L’Homme Presse
10/1 Noble Yeats
16/1 Allaho, Stattler
20/1 Bravemansgame, Capodanno
All odds and market correct at date of publication