The National Hunt Chase over just shy of 4m's is a race that I'm really looking forward to this year.
In recent times those near the head of the market have had a good record with the last 5 winners all being 8/1 or shorter. I think this is mainly down to the change with the qualifying requirements. The aim was to improve the quality of the race which seems to have helped the chances of the top staying chasers. Gone are the days when a totally unconsidered rag who had shown no form at all can come and bolt up at 33/1.
Jonjo O'Neill loves to have a go at this race.
ROI DE FRANCS
I've been watching interviews, previews, reading write ups, blogs etc etc and one really stuck in my mind was when I was listening to Tony Mullins on ATR a week or so ago. He gave Roi De Francs a glowing mention and that this horse has an excellent chance in this race. I decided to wait to see what Willie Mullins says about this horse in his blog and it only backs up those words. Short and sweet Willie said that Stamina is not an issue with Roi De Francs and that he's good. I think he'll show up here and put in a really strong performance.
Narrowly beaten by Killutagh Vic at last years Festival when Roi De Francs was back in 3rd. Killutagh Vic then went on to beat Thistlecrack which proves the form is solid. Gordon Elliot says 4m's is right up Noble Endeavour's street and he will try to convince the owners to run him here. An interesting contender if staying the distance.
This horse ran a fine race behind Black Hercules at Warwick in January and Definitely Red looks a horse to keep a close eye on. If the ground turned too soft then we might see Brian Ellison go for the RSA Chase instead but with the right conditions I think Definitely Red has a chance of nicking a place at nice odds. Definitely Red has won at Cheltenham before, albeit not over anywhere near this trip. Brian Ellison is in good form but like many of the field, stamina has to be taken on trust.
There has been a big gamble on Minella Rocco so I thought it was definitely worth a few lines. Jonjo O'Neill won this race four times in six years back in 2002-20007 and he has confirmed that his 6 year old will take its place in this race. Minella Rocco has been backed from 14/1 into 9/2 in the last few weeks and might go off favourite if Black Hercules heads to the RSA.