It is a race worth its weight in gold and is the eventual race target for the big horse that is Denman. Ayr was the original target after the Gold Cup but the trainer Paul Nicholls stated that "good ground was not ideal and it would be withdrawn". Interesting that we are due to race today with Punchestown also being good and why has Nicholl's not withdrawn his charge? Because there is too much money on offer.
He wouldn't say it publicly but he must be of the opinion that he can get away with a 80% Denman winning this race but I have my doubts about that. We've already seen Denman ship his jockey McCoy out of the saddle at Newbury and despite an improved effort at Cheltenham this is back to a right handed track today and the moody horse may re-emerge. Would you be willing to take a gamble on a ten year old horse with a temperament on going it does not prefer and on a track direction it does not prefer? If you are willing then join the queue to bet on him at 13-8, otherwise read on....
Some interesting movements in the betting show clear support for RARE BOB in Ireland as Paddypower go only 18-1 about that rival winning when English bookmakers are mainly 33-1. It has already won at Punchestown before in a Grade One and two other chase races (disqualified from one) but you would imagine the improvement needed to win a race of this calibre is just too much. One for a place though and could even improve enough to win back on his favourite track.
The other outsider to consider and one that very much interests me is PLANET OF SOUND. This is a former placed Cheltenham trying this trip for the first time. I am not sure it is capable of three miles but if he was to run to his Official Mark of 166 then that would bring him perfectly in line with a possible 80% Denman. With the good ground offering it would also not be as difficult to get the three mile trip so at 25-1 he has to be considered a chance, even if only to place.
The other big gun considering Willie Mullins won all three Grade 1s on the opening day yesterday is Cooldine. Raced keenly in the Gold Cup and gave himself no chance but looked decent for 3/4 of the race before getting tired in the conditions (was declared good ground but persistant rain meant that it was clearly good/soft at best).
There is a chance the Willie Mullins bandwagon could continue and on home soil Cooldine may have the conditions to benefit him. Interesting that Ladbrokes only go 4-1 about Cooldine to win this, and as I often have to reiterate to people - who are the most successful bookmakers? Answer: Ladbrokes. Simple reason being is that their odds compilers rarely get it wrong and so they profit better than the competition!
I am abit bewildered by the race but have chosen my selections
Selection: COOLDINE to Win 1pt (11-2 with Bet365 and Paddypower)
Lay on Betfair inrunning at 2.8
also bet on RARE BOB 33-1 each way 0.5pts Win and 1.5pts Place (William Hill and Ladbrokes)