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Simply The Betts set for showjumping lesson on day of Cheltenham

"If it ain't broke don't fix it" is the phrase inspiring Harry Whittington ahead of Simply The Betts' run in the Paddy Power Gold Cup.

The leading contender is booked for a showjumping lesson with Laura Collett on the morning of the race – a tactic which worked a treat at the 2020 Cheltenham Festival.

Simply The Betts was coached by the winner of seven international eventing gold medals, hours before battling to victory in the Brown Advisory and Merriebelle Stable Plate Handicap Chase.

He was joined by Ryanair Chase runner-up Saint Calvados on the trip from Lambourn to Salperton, just 11 miles from Prestbury Park.

Whittington has repeated the plan since the day of Simply The Betts' Festival warm-up win from the exciting Imperial Aura, a performance he considers to be the seven-year-old's best.

"It's a winning formula," he said.

"We did it on Trials Day.

"I had the idea at the beginning of the week because when he ran at Kempton he just didn't jump well enough, it was as simple as that. His jumping was way off the mark.

"He didn't know what to do when he was in tight to a fence, so he was just trying to kick it out of the way.

"Showjumping at Laura's taught him where to put his feet when he was coming into a jump."

Whittington said the seven-time scorer, half of his 14 starts, is "sparkling" in his preparation for Saturday's £130,000 contest.

Racing off a mark of 157, 8lb higher than his March heroics, he bids to confirm the form with runner-up Happy Diva, the winner of this in 2019.

"I think he's going to have to perform like a Grade One horse to win on Saturday but look he's confident around the track, he's a dual handicap winner around there, he's a course and distance winner," Whittington added.

Rouge Vif also heads to the meeting from Hill Barn Stables, to compete in Sunday's Shloer Chase.

Unlike his stablemates, the 16-1 shot for the Queen Mother Champion Chase has not benefited from schooling with Collett.

Jockey Gavin Sheehan, back to ride this week after recovering from a broken wrist, popped him over a few fences at home this morning.

"Rouge Vif is built like a tank," Whittington added in a Zoom call hosted by Great British Racing.

"I think where he's so impressive is he's so economical, he doesn't necessarily make a shape.

"He's just so quick from A to B but when he lands he just has this ability to accelerate away from a fence.

"I think that's what makes him so lethal especially on good ground.

"We are looking forward to the Shloer on Sunday with him."

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