Having given a recommendation for the 2021 Cheltenham Gold Cup earlier this week, my eyes are trained keenly on the Charlie Hall Chase at Wetherby and the Champion Chase at Down Royal tomorrow afternoon.
Wetherby’s annual first step on the road to the Gold Cup at 3.20 is as competitive a renewal as I can remember for a while – with Cyrname, Vinndication and Sam Spinner all looking to throw their respective hats into the ring. While Ballyoptic and Definitly Red are the last two winners of the race, and the high-class mare La Bague Au Roi, Keeper Hill and Mister Whitaker add some intrigue.
But if I were to land on a bet for the race it would possible be Aye Right each-way at around 20/1, having been as big as 40/1 only yesterday I am going to steer clear of actually putting him up, in what is such a fiercely contested affair. But take heed, he could suddenly announce himself as a staying chaser to respect this season.
The race that features a couple of horses who have a bit more proven Gold Cup pedigree is the Ladbrokes Champion Chase at Down Royal at 2.25 – market leaders Delta Work, Presenting Percy (fascinating on first start for Gordon Elliott), and Chris’s Dream all ran in the 2020 Cheltenham Gold Cup.
Of those three and at the prices I would prefer Chris’s Dream – given the stable’s horses are likely to be more forward than the Elliott-trained pair, he has always gone well fresh, and will enjoy the forecast morning rain in Northern Ireland.
Gordon Elliott always targets this meeting with some of his higher profile horses, but as we saw on Friday, this is very much the starting point for many and they can get beaten – witness Queen’s Brook and Abacadabras.
Delta Work was beaten in this race last season, and scrambled home in the beginners’ chase here at odds of 4/9 the year before, so I actually think Elliott has a better chance of winning with the tough, genuine and incredibly versatile The Storyteller – at 13/2 with Bet365, Skybet and Betvictor he is a great each-way bet to at least hit the frame.
Back The Storyteller in the Ladbrokes Champion Chase with Bet365!
The other one to back is the Noel Meade-trained Tout Est Permis, who at 16/1 each-way with William Hill is priced up on account of chasing home The Storyteller in a Grade 3 at Punchestown just over two weeks ago. But despite having a clear sight of The Storyteller’s backside in the Pertemps Final at last season’s festival also, there are reasons to believe he could get closer to his old rival.
Back Tout Est Parmis in the Ladbrokes Champion Chase with William Hill!
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The likely softer ground, the fact that he was having his seasonal reappearance at Punchestown, the reapplication of a tongue-tie, and also a glowing report of his latest piece of work from Noel Meade all combine to make him a lively outsider here.
Elsewhere on a busy Saturday, horses of betting interest at the likely odds are Tricomalee on his handicap chase debut in the Ascot 1.20, Whatmore to confirm the impression that he is a staying handicap chaser to keep on your side this season in the feature race at Ascot at 3.40, and as previously stated, Aye Right in the Charlie Hall Chase at Wetherby.