RSA contender revels in the mud
Minella Indo confirmed himself a promising young novice chaser when getting off the mark at Navan on Saturday, and, having also won the Albert Bartlett at last year’s Festival, it seems that all roads now lead back to Cheltenham, where he could take on the likes of Champ and Battleoverdoyen in the RSA Chase on the Wednesday of the four-day meeting.
Another potential opponent to add to that list is Sam Brown, who at 20/1 is nearly the three times the price of Minella Indo at 7/1 for the RSA.
He looks no less promising on the evidence of his Grade 2 success at Haydock on Saturday.
Only 11 days after winning by a wide-margin at Lingfield, he produced a smart performance on Merseyside to put his three rivals to the sword in similarly devastating fashion, staying on strongly in the very testing conditions to win by 15 lengths.
Admittedly, Anthony Honeyball’s charge is probably a bit ground dependent. He goes very well on soft/heavy and his only defeat came on good ground the one time he raced on it. He is certainly open to further improvement and shouldn’t be underestimated if conditions came up to suit at the Festival.
For context, Sam Brown is now rated only 4 lb below Champ and 2 lb below Battleoverdoyen. Ante-post quotes of 20/1 make some each-way appeal.
Defi more style than substance
Defi du Seuil extended his winning sequence to three in Saturday’s Clarence House Chase at Ascot. It was hard to argue with the visual impression he created, dishing out a much more comprehensive beating to Un de Sceaux than he had in the Tingle Creek Chase at Sandown six weeks earlier.
However, speaking strictly in terms of form, it’s open to debate whether the winner had to run any better to bring up the hat-trick, His superior turn of foot ultimately proving the difference after Un de Sceaux had set a much slower gallop than at Sandown. Rated 170p going into Saturday’s race, Defi du Seuil only needed to run to 164 to get the job done.
Even that has the third Marracudja – rated 143 beforehand – producing a career-best effort by some margin.
It’s true that Defi du Seuil probably hasn’t reached his own career peak yet, and he is clearly on a roll heading into the Queen Mother Champion Chase.
Whether he deserves to be as short as 2/1 for that race is less certain, though.
With the likes of Altior, Chacun Pour Soi and A Plus Tard awaiting him, the Champion Chase is shaping up to be the deepest of the four championship races at the Festival.
Supreme Shishkin one to note
Few performances in the last seven days have had a bigger impact on the ante-post betting for Cheltenham than that of Shishkin, who looked a most exciting prospect as he opened his account over hurdles at Newbury last week.
A striking winner of his sole start in bumpers, Shishkin had been an early faller on his hurdling debut but showed no ill effects from that experience at the second attempt, looking a natural jumper before forging clear after the last to land the odds by 11 lengths. It was hard not be impressed by the manner of his success and there was plenty of substance to it, too, with his closing sectional comparing very favourably with others on the card.
Shishkin achieved a Timeform rating of 143P on that occasion, which puts him right in the mix in the group behind the clear leader in this division, Envoi Allen. The large ‘P’ attached to his rating denotes that he is open to significant improvement, and quotes of 6/1 for an open renewal of the Supreme could look generous come the Festival.
Prices and entries quoted are at ante-post stage and are subject to change.