Top racing tipster Kevan Minter, known as The Colonel, gives readers his top tips for the week ahead. Kevan, who lives in Stamford, is trackside most days and is regularly on television.
Jonjo O’Neill’s Paddy Power Gold Cup hero Johns Spirit is among 35 entries for the £100,000 December Gold Cup at Cheltenham on the second day of The International, Saturday, December 14.
O’Neill completed the Paddy Power Gold Cup and December Gold Cup double in 2006 with Exotic Dancer, who became only the third horse to win both contests in the same season.
The smart Johns Spirit, owned by Christopher Johnston, is unbeaten in two starts this season at Cheltenham under Richie McLernon, having also captured the £50,000 Equus-Fine Dining at The Festival Handicap Chase impressively at The Showcase in October.
The six-year-old will be attempting a unique Cheltenham handicap chase treble if he goes for the December Gold Cup, following his victory in the £160,000 Paddy Power Gold Cup feature race of The Open, by three quarters of a length on Saturday, November 16.
Jonjo O’Neill, who trains not far from Cheltenham Racecourse at Jackdaws Castle, reported: “I don’t know if Johns Spirit will run in the December Gold Cup - it is too early to say.
“We were delighted with his performance in the Paddy Power Gold Cup, but he has gone up nine pounds and that is a lot of weight. I don’t think he has improved this year, he has just got stronger. He is a six-year-old and is still a relatively young horse.”
Champion Hurdle contender Jezki landed the Bar One Racing Hatton’s Grace Hurdle at Fairyhouse on Sunday for Jessica Harrington and Tony McCoy, getting the job done in working man’s fashion on the 4/6 favourite beating Zaidpour and Diakali.
The champion jockey reported: “Jezki is pretty professional. He stayed well and he’ll probably be better going the other way, as he has a tendency to jump out to his left.”
Royal Regatta remains unbeaten under rules after taking the Fernie Novices Hurdle at Leicester on Sunday and now looks ready for a step up in class. The five-year-old has a quote of 20/1 for the Neptune at Cheltenham.