Henderson may let Finian’s Rainbow take chance in Paddy Power Gold Cup

Finian’s Rainbow on his way to winning the Queen Mother champion steeple chase at  the Cheltenham  Festival last year. Photograph: Andrew Yates/AFP/Getty Images

Finian’s Rainbow on his way to winning the Queen Mother champion steeple chase at the Cheltenham Festival last year. Photograph: Andrew Yates/AFP/Getty Images

Wed, Nov 13, 2013, 11:31

Trainer Nicky Henderson is leaning towards letting Finian’s Rainbow take his chance off top weight in Saturday’s Paddy Power Gold Cup at Cheltenham.

His participation is likely to have big repercussions on the race as trainer David Pipe suggested he was not keen on letting ante-post favourite Dynaste carry top weight if the former champion chaser was not declared.

Henderson told Racing UK: “I spoke to Michael (Buckley, owner) this morning and I’m seeing him tomorrow to discuss it, but I think there’s a big chance that he will run in the Paddy Power.

“Because he’s come down (in the weights) there is the temptation to do it.

“It’s the intention to run the other two (Rajdhani Express and Nadiya De La Vega), too.”

Trainer Steve Gollings has secured the services of top Irish jockey Bryan Cooper for Conquisto.

With Tony McCoy likely to be required for owner JP McManus, Lincolnshire-based Gollings is delighted to have rising star Cooper in the saddle. Gollings said: “He is an intended runner and will be ridden by Bryan Cooper.

“AP (McCoy) won the Old Roan on him but his boss (McManus) has got horses in the race and I’m sure he will be riding one. Tom Scudamore has also won on him, but he could be needed for Dynaste or possibly something else so basically we moved to make sure we know where we are.

“I spoke to Bryan’s agent, he confirmed he will definitely be coming over and will ride. The last thing we wanted was to wait and wait, and end up with a jockey we didn’t want. We needed to do the best for Conquisto.

“I know it’s a cliche, but he’s come out of Aintree 100 per cent – you’d soon know with Conquisto as he wears his heart on his sleeve every day.

“Another factor (in deciding to run) is the ground is in his favour. I suppose I’d be a little concerned if the top horse (Finian’s Rainbow) and Dynaste came out and the weights did go up as he’s not a big horse, but we’re in now and the intention is to run.”

Meanwhile, Martin Keighley expressed his delight with Champion Court. “He’s had a fantastic preparation, summered really well, and the Paddy Power was always the aim.“