King targets Cheltenham repeat with Annacotty

Annacotty and Ian Popham winning last year's race

PICTURE: Edward Whitaker ( King targets Cheltenham repeat with Annacotty By Keith Melrose 3:00PM 2 NOV 2016

LAST year's winner Annacotty will be aimed at the BetVictor Gold Cup at Cheltenham next Saturday, his trainer Alan King has revealed, as weights for the major early-season handicap are published.

Annacotty made a winning start for King when landing the race last year, and keeping the horse fresh is key to his chances the trainer feels.

King said: "It is the plan to go for the BetVictor Gold Cup again with Annacotty. He is well and in good form. We would like to see a drop of rain before next weekend.

"He is a horse who is better fresh, so it was always the plan to go straight to Cheltenham again with him."

Annacotty has been allotted 11st 8lb, the equivalent of a BHA mark of 156, for the 2m4f contest, which would rise should neither of the appointed topweights, Irish Cavalier or Top Gamble, line up.

Fancy entries

Former World Hurdle winner More Of That, who won on his chasing debut at the same meeting last year and will carry 2lb less than Annacotty, is generally favourite for the race and is a best-priced 10-1 with the sponsors. His chase rating is 13lb lower than over hurdles.

Also prominent in the betting are Bristol De Mai (11st 6lb), Garde La Victoire (11st 3lb) and Double Shuffle (10st 11lb), all of whom finished second in their most recent starts.

There are also a couple of interesting runners further down the weights. King's Socks has been given 10st 4lb for what would be his first run for David Pipe since being bought from France for €210,000. Paul Nicholls' four-year-old novice Frodon is on 10st 3lb and is eligible to run in this race owing to one start over fences in France as a three-year-old.

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