With just six weeks to go until the Cheltenham Festival, we’ve provided an update on some of the key players following on from last weekend’s Festival Trials Day at Prestbury Park.
Gold Cup Update
Bristol De Mai Disappoints
The Betfair Chase winner did nothing in Saturday’s Grade 2 Cotswold Chase to prove to doubters that he is the real deal and can handle the undulations of the Gloucestershire circuit. Bristol de Mai could only manage third behind Definitly Red and American and never looked like winning in conditions said to favour Nigel Twiston-Davies’ gelding.
Many feel that the horse should stick to flat tracks like Haydock where he is thought to be better suited. Accordingly, Bristol De Mai is now being considered for three races at Aintree in April, including the Randox Health Grand National. However, The Timico Gold Cup is yet to be ruled out and much will depend on whether any further reason for Saturday’s disappointment comes to light.
Bristol De Mai is generally available at odds of 33/1 for both the Timico Gold Cup and The Randox Health Grand National.
Definitly Red Stars
On the flip side, Definitly Red, winner of The Cotswold Chase has had his odds cut for the Timico Gold Cup from 40/1 to 16/1 immediately following the Grade 2 Chase. The Northern trained horse produced a dominant display to win by eight lengths, with trainer Brian Ellison stating that the horse is “probably the best I’ve ever trained”. King George winner Might Bite remains favourite for the showpiece race at odds of 3/1.
Triumph Hurdle Update
Apple's Shakira maintained her unbeaten record in the JCB Triumph Trial Juvenile Hurdle at Cheltenham, although she was made to work hard for her victory. Sent off the 1/7 favourite having been superb in her previous two outings for Nicky Henderson, she briefly looked in trouble turning into the straight after Tom Scudamore and Look My Way stole a few lengths.
Ultimately though, Apple’s Shakira’s class shone through as she ran out an eight length winner with 3rd place back a further 13 lengths.
Apple’s Shakira is still outright favourite for the Triumph Hurdle at odds of 11/4.
RSA Chase Update
Presenting Percy returned to hurdles last Thursday in the three mile John Mulhern Galmoy Hurdle as a warm up for the Grade 1 RSA Chase. It proved to be a testing race, with Davy Russell having to work hard on Percy to keep off the threatening Augusta Kate. Last year’s Pertemps Final winner eventually ran out the winner by five lengths and connections feel that “The RSA Chase looks made for him”.
Presenting Percy is generally 3/1 favourite for the RSA.
Arkle Chase Update
Sceau Royal was asked some serious questions by Dan Skelton's Shantou Rock and responded as willingly as we've come to expect from the quality six-year-old when winning the Lightning Novices’ Chase at Doncaster. Options remain open for Alan King’s horse who now won’t be seen again until Cheltenham with most feeling that he is set to take on Footpad for the same owners, in the Arkle. Footpad already heads the Racing Post Arkle betting for the ownership duo, with Betfair offering the longest odds of 6-4, although this could change if Mullins’ gelding disappoints at Leopardstown on Saturday.
Sceau Royal is generally available for the Racing Post Arkle at odds of 6/1.
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