Cape Tribulation (white) pictured on his way to victory at Cheltenham last March
©Healy Racing Photos
Malcolm Jefferson believes Cape Tribulation has earned the right to take his place in the Betfred Cheltenham Gold Cup after his win in the Argento Chase.
The David Abell-owned gelding gave the North Yorkshire trainer one leg of a double at the Cheltenham Festival last year when winning the Pertemps Hurdle Final before going on to further success at Aintree.
And the nine-year-old left Jefferson with reason to be optimistic of a solid run in the Gold Cup when collaring 2010 hero Imperial Commander close home on Saturday.
"He's grand, no problem. I thought Denis (O'Regan) gave him a great ride and it's nice to win a race like that. You have to enjoy those victories," said Jefferson.
"This horse has got a lot of guts and he's a very good horse on his day. He'll have a quiet week or two now, then we will go straight to Cheltenham.
"If you're not in, you can't win. I'm not saying he would win a Gold Cup, but he might just get placed in one.
"I've been talking to Phil Smith (head of handicapping at the British Horseracing Authority) and he says the horse is going to be up in the 160's now.
"It's very hard for horses. You can break their hearts in big handicaps off top weight. They become hard races for them and there's good money in the Gold Cup if you finish in the places.
"I don't think he's bothered about the ground and he won his two hurdle races last year on what the times suggested was almost good ground at both Cheltenham and Aintree.
"He'll run up the hill in the Gold Cup and when you look at some of the Irish horses in it you just don't know if they are going to get three and a quarter miles the way they have been running.
"They have to prove it yet and it is three and a quarter not just three miles. We'll give it a try if he's right. We'll give them a go."