The news broke on Sunday evening that we had been dreading for some time that Sprinter Scare will miss the BetVictor Queen Mother Champion Chase.
Let’s hope Nicky Henderson’s star is back on a racecourse next season and his absence throws the Champion Chase wide open.
We pushed out Sire De Grugy from 7/4 to 2/1 yesterday and if you could be sure he would be as effective at Cheltenham as he was at Sandown or Ascot he would be something to bet on.
Punters have to decide has he improved since losing to Kid Cassidy earlier in the season or whether he is not going to be the same horse on the undulations of Prestbury Park than he is on flat right-handed tracks.
An all-Chase card at Leicester this afternoon with the ground given as good to soft but there is more rain forecast. Faith Keeper certainly doesn’t want any more rain but the nod in the opener goes to Oscar The Myth (2.10) who was in the process of running a cracker coming back from a lengthy break when coming down four out at Southwell last time.
He is another who wouldn’t want to see further rain, despite being a son of Oscar, although the ground was softer than the official description of good at Southwell. He has been given 72 days to get over those exertions and must go close.
Barenger (3.10) could have been hit harder than the 8lbs he was given by the handicapper for scoring at Market Rasen last time and connections appear to have found an ideal opportunity to follow up. Formerly with Nicky Henderson the selection coped well enough with soft ground last time and this 2m trip might be his optimum.
Destroyer Deployed (3.40) seems to be getting his career back on track now switched to fences and he jumped well on his chase debut when scoring at Fakenham.
Richard Johnson again takes the mount for Tim Vaughan and, having finished runner up in the Champion Bumper three years ago, it looks as if he might make up into a better chaser than hurdler.
I’m going to give top-weight Carpincho (4.40) one last chance in the finale with the booking of Richard Johnson suggesting connections mean business.
The selection was a different class to this lot a couple of years ago, goes well fresh and I would be disappointed if he couldn’t reward each way support although the form of the yard does temper confidence somewhat.
At Catterick Lucky Sunny (3.50) can run off the same mark as when runner up at Ludlow last week when he might have got home had he not blundered three out. Everyone knows the tactics that Aidan Coleman is likely to use and although 3lbs higher than when last successful he looks sure to run well for the Venetia Williams yard.
Ed Walker’s Chunghua was beaten last time but is clearly thought better than that effort and could easily break his maiden at the third time of asking but preference is for the Dutch Art newcomer Lindart (3.00) representing Richard Hannon who cost £57,000 as a yearling and is likely to know his job on debut.