15th March 2013
Cheltenham Festival Betting: Salsify can retain his Foxhunter title for his Irish supporters
4.00 Cheltenham: CGA Foxhunter Chase Challenge Cup (Class 2) (3m2f110y)
The Foxhunter Chase traditionally follows the Gold Cup and is run over the same course and distance; we have 24 runners declared including last years winner Salsify trained by Rodger Sweeney and is the favourite to retain his crown. Bookmakers Paddy Power have him at 11/4 to beat his rival from twelve months ago Chapoturgeon who also lines up again. Since that victory Salsify has won a further two races and last time got his revenge on Tammy’s Hill who had previously beat him on two occasions, he comes in here in good nick and he’s only an 8yo so is by no means finished improving yet.
Chapoturgeon is trained by the Barber’s who are closely linked with the Nicholls yard and is in fact partly owned by the Ditcheat maestro. The 9yo grey is lightly raced these days and finished extremely tired in last years race as they went very quick from start to finish. He won his prep race by 9 lengths at Newbury and has a job on to beat the favourite here. Last years third Oscar Delta was partly responsible for the fast pace and he goes again, he was well beaten by Salsify last time out and appears to have a stiff task and a place is the best he can hope for once again.
Paul Nicholls will have a double interest in the race as he trains Tricky Trickster; he actually ran in the Gold Cup in 2010 and was injured when falling in the Midlands National a year later. He has recently made his comeback and doesn’t appear to be anywhere near as good nowadays but should still put up a decent showing in this company. The Ex-Irish Cottage Oak is well fancied for trainer John O’Shea, he has won his last two races at Haydock and Kelso in good style and comes here in great heart. Although his recent wins have come on heavy ground he has form on a better surface and stays extremely well. The top horse is Backstage who is well known for running in the Grand National twice, trained by Gordon Elliott he has been busy in the point field and has won his last six races and he started odds on in all of them. He will find this company a different kettle of fish and may struggle to land a blow.
Of the others That’s Rhythm is a winner of eleven races in his career and won by 29 lengths last time out, he’s a 13yo now and may find one or two of these youngsters a bit quick for him at the highest level. Alan Hill is well known on the point circuit and he saddles Dante’s Storm, he’s a winner last time out at Doncaster where he beat the admirable Rumbury Grey who is also in the line up. That was quite impressive and could run well at a big price.
Last years first three do battle again and Salsify will take some beating here again, he has done nothing wrong this season and should beat old rival Chapoturgeon once again. Cottage Oak could go well for the North and I like Dante’s Storm of the bigger priced runners, he won very easily last month and comes here in top form.
2pts Salsify 11/4 Bet365
1pt EW Dante’s Storm 20/1 Skybet
Author: Ray Singpost