Coral Gold Cup Meeting Day 1 | Kid’s Time to shine

Cheltenham Festival 2024

The Coral Gold Cup – or Hennessy for those vintage racing fans – is an event that I enjoy for many reasons. 

Firstly, the feature contest is usually a competitive betting heat with plenty holding strong claims and secondly, the supporting card on both days is top class. 

From Graded action to interesting maiden hurdles, novice events to intriguing handicaps, these two days at Newbury have a lot to offer. 

With this in mind, three horses have caught my attention for Friday’s card at the Berkshire track, so let’s dive in. 


12:40 Newbury – Persian Time @ 9/4 with William Hill – 1pt Win 

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Nicky Henderson’s recent strike rate speaks for itself thanks to 11 winners from his last 34 runners, and with Constitution Hill set to give him a nervous few nights of sleep, hopefully, Persian Time can help settle any pre-Fighting Fifth jitters in the 12:40 at Newbury on Friday. 

Owned by the McNeill and Stone Family, the five-year-old is making his debut over fences on Friday and is the choice of stable jockey Nico de Boinville over the more experienced Russian Ruler. 

When we last saw Persian Time, he finished second to Paul Nicholls’ Hugos New Horse at Ayr when looking like the winner for the majority of the race. 

Arguably, hitting the front at the third-last was a bit too soon as the winner passed him late on when A P Heskin’s mount started to fade. 

Although he didn’t win, the Califet gelding showed great promise having pulled up in the Grade 1 Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle one month prior. 

This race, as well as two previous runs, were over two-and-a-half miles, though this drop back to two miles looks like a wise decision as this horse isn’t short of speed and a stiff test around Newbury should play to his strengths. 

Therefore, if he takes to fences well – which can only be assumed if Henderson is running him in a novice handicap chase on his seasonal reappearance – he should be a big player. 


2:25 Newbury – Kandoo Kid @ 7/2 with William Hill – 1pt Win 

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In a recent Racing Post stable tour, Paul Nicholls said that he hadn’t “scratched the surface” yet with Kandoo Kid who makes his third start over fences in the 2m4f handicap chase. 

The seven-year-old by Kapgarde has good course and distance form thanks to his second-place effort earlier this month to Galop De Chasse; the pair pulled 32 lengths clear of the third, Our Jet, who won at Kempton on Monday. 

Looking back on last season, the gallant grey finished a good third to Persian Time at Ascot when giving five pounds away to the winner.

Before that, he impressively beat Shallwehaveonemore, a horse who won at Sandown by 20 lengths on his next start before his second to Aucunrisque in the 2022 Grade 2 Dovecote Novices’ Hurdle, at Ascot in October 2021. 

The ever-quickening Newbury ground will be fine having won on good to firm at Taunton on his hurdling debut and with a few of his rivals needing to prove they are well-handicapped to win, Kandoo Kid should be close at the finish. 


3:35 Newbury – Hoe Joly Smoke @ 4/1 with William Hill – 2pt Win 

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Last week, Beat The Bat and Welcome To Cartries put on a good duel at Ascot with the former coming out on top. 

Prior to this success, Harry Fry’s exciting novice started his season with a second at Chepstow in October behind the impressive Masaccio and this weekend, the third from that contest, Hoe Joly Smoke, is looking to get a first win under rules. 

Dan Skelton’s point-to-point winner has good form from his novice hurdling season thanks to his second to Makin’yourmindup, a Grade 2 Prestige Novices’ Hurdle winner in February, at Chepstow in October 2022. 

The five-year-old then finished second to Doyen Star, an unexposed Evan Williams-trained five-year-old, at the same course three months later.

Also in that race was Crebilly who crossed the line in second; he has improved 11 pounds since that run and looked a likely winner at Cheltenham over fences earlier this month.

Furthermore, his experience around Chepstow puts him in good shape for the challenge of Newbury and this step up to three miles is welcomed due to his big galloping nature. 

As a result, Hoe Joly Smoke looks like a good each-way bet in the lucky last. 

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