Home Estate Planning Derek Fox: Corach Rambler can win the Gold Cup

Derek Fox: Corach Rambler can win the Gold Cup

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LUCINDA Russell may only have a handful of entries at this year’s Cheltenham Festival, but not one of them are without a chance, and for stable jockey Derek Fox, it’s a very exiting time of the year.

“I couldn’t pick the most likely winner out of the rides I have at Cheltenham,’ the 31-year-old rider said. “I’m very lucky, going down with such nice rides, and I could give them all an equal chance. If any of them won, I wouldn’t be surprised. Apple Away, Ahoy Senor and Corach Rambler are three very classy horses. I’m glad I don’t have to choose between any of them and they should all have great chances.”

Corach Rambler is a horse that has taken Fox’s career to new hights having partnered him to two Cheltenham Festival winners and of course last year’s Grand National, and while his odds suggest he’s an outsider for this year’s Gold Cup, Fox believes the bookies might have underestimated his chances.

“I think Corach Rambler will need to improve, but I do think he can win the Gold Cup,” he said. “He’s been round Cheltenham three times, and he’s won there three times; he finishes up that hill really strongly. He will have to improve a bit to get to the likes of Galopin Des Champs but, if any horse is having a below par day, they won’t want to see Corach Rambler coming at them after the last!

“I think, if the race is run to suit him and we get a bit of luck on the day, I think he could be in with a chance.”

Looking ahead to the Grand National itself, which has always been the main target for the gelding since his win last April, Fox explained “I was happy with his weight for the Grand National; I though 11st 2lbs was a good weight for him, although it’s more than he got last year, but I think it’s realistic. He was a very comfortable winner of the race last year and, all going well, he’s going the same route as he did last year, where he ran at Cheltenham and then on to the Grand National, so he’ll be spot on for fitness.

“It’s the Grand National, so you do need some luck in running, but – if we get that luck – I think he’s good enough.”

Another classy runner of Russell’s is Ahoy Senor, the winner of last year’s Cotswold Chase, who is aiming for the Ryanair Chase. When asked how the gelding would handle the shorter distance, Fox said “I think he’ll handle the drop back in trip just fine. He’d had a slow start to the season and I feel he’s coming back the right way now. He’s always a horse who is quick out the gate and into the bridle; he travels strongly early in his races and he’s a horse who likes to get on with it. For that reason, I don’t think a drop back in trip will be too much of a problem for him. He’ll jump fast out of the gate and he has a high cruising speed, so it could suit him. Cheltenham has such a stiff finish and, even at 2m4f, it’ll take a bit of getting round there.”

Running in the Ultima is Apple Away, who, the jockey says is in good form. “I think it’ll be the ideal race to run her in because she’ll suit a strong gallop and she has the characteristics of a mare who can go and win a big handicap like this. Hopefully, if she gets in, she’ll have a great chance.”

Derek Fox was speaking to City AM on behalf of William Hill.

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