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Off The Fence: Don’t discount L’Homme Presse for Gold Cup

The Off The Fence panel are not counting out L’Homme Presse as a Cheltenham Gold Cup hope despite disappointing in the Ascot Chase on Saturday.

It was Pic D’Orhy who proved too fast off the front in last weekend’s showpiece, putting five lengths between him and L’Homme Presse at the line.

But Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Barry Geraghty is more positive about the Venetia Williams-trained nine-year-old’s chances in the blue riband event, citing going left handed and the further distance likely to be in his favour next month.

Pic D'Orhy produced a stunning jumping display
Image: Pic D’Orhy produced a stunning jumping display

“It was a great ride [on Pic D’Orhy],” Geraghty told the Off The Fence digital show. “The horse was the most natural at this trip and his jumping was really well suited to Ascot.

“If you have a horse going away from the stands that attacks his fences like this fella did you can make lengths and he did that.

“Harry [Cobden] gave him a really good ride and maximised his horse’s ability in the process. That said, I think it was a little unfair to judge the other riders so negatively.

“I don’t think he dictated, he went a good gallop and the other horses weren’t able to go with him.

“L’Homme Presse looked laboured at this trip and he was going left, losing ground, but at Kempton last Christmas, for me he travelled better.

“I just felt it came quick enough after his return at Lingfield last time and I’m not fully sure we saw him at his best.

“I don’t think Charlie Deutsch did as much wrong as was made out and Derek Fox was always going to drop in Ahoy Senor, get him relaxed and jumping.”

Pundit Tony Keenan agreed with that assessment, although warned that the Gold Cup hope will likely need softer ground to be at his best.

“I don’t think L’Homme Presse could go any faster than he was going at this trip. The second run will do no harm and as a novice chaser he thrived for the racing,” he said.

“He’s drifted out but he doesn’t strike me as a terrible price for the Gold Cup, although it would certainly be a help if they got a bit of slow ground.

“I wouldn’t be ruling him out totally; it was more a sharpening up run over a be all and end all with Friday in three weeks’ time.”

Watch the Off The Fence digital show on the At The Races YouTube channel.

Sky News
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