Please Note: Next Race meeting is Wednesday 24th April 2024

L’Homme Press├® injury opens up Gold Cup market again

Venetia Williams is still smarting from the news that stable star L’Homme Press├® is set to miss the Cheltenham Gold Cup in March. The Herefordshire trainer was left disappointed after her star chaser suffered a setback after the King George VI Chase but is now concentrating on getting her other Gold Cup hopeful, Royale Pagaille, in peak condition.

L’Homme Press├®’s Injury Setback

After L’Homme Press├®’s withdrawal from the Gold Cup market, Noble Yeats is now the 7/1 second favourite and features heavily amongst the latest racing┬átips. The loss of L’Homme Press├® from the Gold cup will be hugely disappointing for Williams but she is sanguine enough to know that frustration is a familiar territory for racehorse trainers.

Her stable star was an impressive winner of the Brown Advisory Novices’ Chase at the Festival last year and returned to action this season with a weight-carrying victory in the Rehearsal Chase at Newcastle.

That performance saw him being sent off favourite for the King George VI Chase in December where it was all going well until the final┬áfence. Under pressure from the eventual winner, Bravemansgame, L’Homme Press├® pecked on landing at the last and unseated Charlie Deutsch in the process.

It is not known whether this mishap was the cause of L’Homme Press├®’s injury problems or not, but Williams announced earlier in the month that he would miss Cheltenham and possibly most of the season.

Could Royal Pagaille be a super-sub?

Royale Pagaille now stands as Venetia Williams’ sole Gold Cup hope. Unfortunately for the Grand National-winning trainer, he possesses less ability than his injured stablemate. The Rich Ricci owned 9yo has 6th-placed and 5th-placed efforts to his name in the Cheltenham showpiece, but that might be all we can expect again this year.

He picked up the pieces to finish second in the King George VI after L’Homme Press├®’s mishap but having a 2 beside his name for that performance may flatter. Royale Pagaille has been a fine servant to his connections and has paid his way, but winning a Gold Cup may be beyond him.

Venetia’s other Cheltenham contenders

Royale┬áPagaille┬áis not┬áthe only Venetia Williams-trained horse heading to Cheltenham in March. She currently has six others in the early entries across the four days, with Ryanair hopefuls Fanion D’Estruval and Brave Seasca probably the best of the lot.

Pink Legend is entered for the Mares Chase on the final day of the meeting, whilst Christopher Wood and Bellatrixsa could line up in the┬áTurners Novices’ Chase and National Hunt Chase respectively. Funambule Sivola┬áhas entries in both the Champion Chase and Ryanair Chase.

Of course, Venetia Williams is also known as a trainer who can get her handicap horses in tune at the right time, so she is sure to have some fancied runners ready for the big handicaps at the Festival. Ignore her at your peril.

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