Paddy Power Gold Cup Betting and Odds Focus: Protektorat can bring the power for Team Skelton

Planet Sport counts down to the standout 20 runner chase at Cheltenham. Dan Skelton, Paul Nicholls OBE, Sam Thomas and Nicky Henderson have strong chances at jumps HQ on Saturday, November 13.

Cheltenham hosts a decent three-day's racing starting on Friday, November 12 and moving to the Paddy Power Gold Cup on Saturday, November 13. Planet Sport has the latest betting and odds news as the Grade 3, 20 runner Paddy Power Gold Cup approaches.

Protektorat expected to go well in the Paddy Power Gold Cup

The Skelton's are used to gold with their Olympian father and can scoop another glittering gong in the form of the Paddy Power Gold Cup on Saturday.

Carrying 11st 12lb in one of the most competitive handicap chases of the season is clearly no easy task for the six-year-old, but his welter burden is really the only negative.

Hailing from the bang-in-form yard of Dan Skelton, Protektorat is already a dual winner at Prestbury Park - coming home with 17 lengths in hand over the course and distance at this meeting last year.

The classy gelding was beaten at odds-on on his next couple of starts, but got his act together in some style at Aintree when securing Grade One honours at the Grand National meeting.

The application of a tongue-tie appeared to have a positive effect on Merseyside, with Protektorat readily beating two high-class performers in The Shunter and Hitman.

The Shunter has since finished fourth in the Galway Plate, while Hitman was narrowly beaten in the Haldon Gold Cup, proving that quality novice form in top-level handicaps.

Protektorat has undergone a second wind operation during the summer and is sure to be cherry-ripe for his return to action.

Full field of 20 goes forward for the Paddy Power Gold Cup.

Dan Skelton's Simply The Betts and Paul Nicholls' Protektorat top the weights for the Paddy Power Gold Cup after a maximum field of 20 was declared for the valuable handicap chase at Cheltenham on Saturday.

The original top weight, Assemble, was withdrawn at the 48-hour final declaration stage on Thursday leaving the Simply The Betts and Protektorat, part-owned by Sir Alex Ferguson, at the head of the list.

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Nicholls, the recent recipient of an OBE, also has leading ante-post fancy Lalor, formerly trained by Kayley Woollacott, going for honours. Team Skelton meanwhile, have Spiritofthegames, who was runner-up 12 months ago.

Last year's winner Coole Cody, trained by Evan Williams, bids to become only the sixth horse to land the prize twice with the last being Cyfor Malta in 1998 and 2002.

Al Dancer, who was third in 2020 when with Nigel Twiston-Davies, bids to go two places better for Sam Thomas.

Others in the mix include Nicky Henderson's Caribean Boy, Sue Smith's Midnight Shadow and the Brian Ellison-trained Nietzsche, winner of the Greatwood Hurdle in 2018.

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