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Ratings Update: Betfair Chase, Coral Hurdle And 1965 Chase

Cue Card, cue big performance. Colin Tizzard’s charge was three fences away from possibly emulating the great Kauto Star when his fall in the Cheltenham Gold Cup last March eliminated any chance of a famous triple crown of the Betfair Chase, King George and Gold Cup, and the £1m bonus that now goes hand in hand with such an achievement.

Ratings Update: Betfair Chase, Coral Hurdle And 1965 Chase

Cue Card, cue big performance. Colin Tizzard’s charge was three fences away from possibly emulating the great Kauto Star when his fall in the Cheltenham Gold Cup last March eliminated any chance of a famous triple crown of the Betfair Chase, King George and Gold Cup, and the £1m bonus that now goes hand in hand with such an achievement.

Cue Card
Cue Card Picture:Pat Healy Photography

It was no surprise, therefore, that Tizzard had Cue Card Horseform perfectly primed for Saturday’s renewal of the Betfair Chase, a 15 length beating of the returning Coneygree Horseform meaning his rating increases by 3 lb to 181, jumping him above the now-retired Sprinter Sacre (179) and the exciting Douvan (180p), with just the recovering-from-injury Don Cossack (183) rated more highly.

Coneygree (169 from 171p) did enough to suggest that he retains all of his ability, jumping well out in front, and Mark Bradstock’s stable star will strip fitter for the run. He remains a feasible Gold Cup contender (won the race as a novice in 2015), and will head to the King George at Kempton next in all likelihood. French challenger Vezelay Horseform (unchanged on 159) was ridden to get the best possible placing, which worked for him as others tired, and connections deserve plenty of credit for their canny thinking, however Silviniaco Conti Horseform, Irish Cavalier and Seeyouatmidnight all emerged with their reputations tarnished to some degree. Silviniaco Conti (164? from 166) won two weaker renewals of the Betfair Chase (2012 and 2014) and he took a backwards step from an encouraging enough reappearance at Down Royal; his sights need lowering. The same comment applies to Seeyouatmidnight Horseform (157 from 159+) who didn't have the chance the market suggested, supported into 4/1 facing much the stiffest task of his chasing career, and disappointed, possibly just unable to cope with the high demands of a race at this level. Irish Cavalier (down 1 lb to 162) beat a below-par Cue Card in the Charlie Hall but that was still a high-class effort and a truer reflection of what he's capable of than this, the ground too testing for him, best away from the mud for all that he won a couple of times on heavy when novice hurdling.


Haydock’s card also featured the “Fixed Brush Hurdle”, won by the battle-hardened Kruzhlinin (up 7 lb to 142) who was competing from a hurdles mark 10 lb lower than his chase mark, and the Betfair Price Rush Hurdle. The latter race’s position – just one week before the more established Champion Hurdle trial, the Fighting Fifth at Newcastle – has been called into question, but the result of Saturday’s race had one saving grace, namely a progressive winner capable of climbing higher up the two mile hurdling ladder: Ch’tibello (+ added to 143). Dan Skelton’s charge coped best with the dawdling pace set by Melodic Rendezvous (+ added to 142), certainly better than the more-fancied pair of My Tent Or Yours and Old Guard, and will now head for the Christmas Hurdle at Kempton. My Tent Or Yours (unchanged on 164) disappointed on the face of it on this return from seven months off, but he should strip fitter for the run and, as one who saves his best for Cheltenham, is still a legitimate Champion Hurdle contender, however Old Guard (remains on 154) looked laboured and a return to chasing on better ground looks likely now.

Over at Ascot on Saturday, 1965 Chase winner Royal Regatta (156 from 149) was seen to maximum advantage with an uncontested lead on a track where he goes so well anyway. Runner-up Kylemore Lough (unchanged on 156p) jumped superbly and shaped encouragingly on his first start at this level out of novice company after eight months off; the Peterborough Chase could well be an option for him next, sure to be of interest wherever he goes. God’s Own (167 from 168) had to shoulder a large penalty but ran no more than respectably, seemingly stretched by the longer trip, this surely putting to bed any idea of running in the King George.

The Coral Hurdle, featuring a small field like the Betfair Price Rush Hurdle, also suffered from a muddling pace, with winner Yanworth (unchanged on 160p) having to work harder than the market expected. He's likely to be sharper for the run and remains an interesting contender for better-class races, though at what trip is hard to be sure at the moment, despite his trainer nominating the Long Walk Hurdle afterwards. Lil Rockerfeller (157 from 155) proved better than ever, not travelling that well but scrapping really hard all the way to the line. He's likely to return here for a rematch with the winner (at level weights) in the Long Walk and wouldn't be a forlorn hope to turn the tables by any means. Garde La Victoire wouldn’t have been suited by having to make the running, while Court Minstrel wasn't disgraced in a race which probably wasn't run to show him to best advantage; both horses remain unchanged on 155.

Sunday’s racing at Punchestown was marred by fog, however some bookmakers still saw fit to cut Identity Thief (147p from 149p) for the Arkle after his one length win in the Craddockstown Novice Chase, despite the narrow margin of victory and lack of evidence about his jumping. Stablemate Ordinary World, a far inferior hurdler, is up to 138 (from 127p), while another Henry de Bromhead runner Attribution (133p from 122p) came from further back than the front two. In the next race, A Toi Phil (147p from 140p) and Jeststream Jack (137 from 127p) provided a one-two for Gordon Elliott in the Florida Pearl Novice Chase, with hot favourite Disko (down to 137 from 139p) back in third. The winner has earned a go in a Grade 1 novice next time and won't need to improve much more to figure. The card also featured a second Morgiana Hurdle for Nichols Canyon, though without the surprise element of last season's defeat of Faugheen, and a sixth straight victory in the race for Willie Mullins. Ruby Walsh kept it simple, leading from the off and never headed despite the close presence of Jer's Girl for much of the way. Unfortunately, fog obscured most of the action once more.
Timeform



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