Unioniste Out To Become Youngest Charity Challenge Gold Cup Winner
Connections of four-year-old gelding Unioniste are confident that the youngster can become the youngest winner in the history of the Charity Challenge Gold Cup at Cheltenham on Saturday.
The son of Dom Alco finished third behind Dynaste at his last start in the Steel Plate and Section Novices’ Chase and owner John Hales believes he can return to the winners circle on Saturday.
“I thought he ran an excellent race behind Dynaste last time and we have no hesitation in running him in this race because he jumps like a veteran,” Hales said.
“I would be quite confident of a big run and if the ground is on the soft side that won’t bother him either being by Dom Alco.”
Despite the confidence of his owner Unioniste is not guaranteed a start in the Charity Challenge Gold Cup and as first reserve needs a horse guaranteed a start in the field to withdraw.
Trainer Paul Nicholls also has Cristal Bonus in the race but believes Unioniste is the horse that is weighted to win.
“He’s got his weight because he’s got a rating of 137, but he gets a 7lb allowance as a four-year-old,” Nicholls said.
“Hopefully he will get in because with Harry taking off 5lb he’s got a nice-looking racing weight of 9-9.”
However, Nicholls would not rule out Cristal Bonus saying that the six-year-old gelding will thrive in the likely wet conditions.
“Every bit of rain that arrives on Friday will help his chances, because he loves soft ground,” Nicholls said.
Unioniste and Cristal Bonus are both on the second line of the Charity Challenge Gold Cup betting market at Bet365, priced at 5/1, while Alan King-trained Walkon is the favourite at 5/2.
You can get the best odds for the Charity Challenge Gold Cup and every other race this weekend at Bet365.