What are the best bets in the Foxhunter Chase?
16:10 St. James’s Place Foxhunter Steeple Chase Challenge Cup, 3m21/2f
Last year’s 1-2-3: On The Fringe (6/1), Following Dreams (50/1), Paint The Clouds (11/4f) – 24 ran.
All eyes will be on former Olympic cyclist Victoria Pendleton rather than any of the equine talent on display and her mount Pacha Du Polder is no forlorn hope at a best-priced 25/1 (bet365) after scooting home in his Wincanton prep. I can’t see it myself but hers has been a great achievement already and it’s been great publicity for the sport. I wish her well!
Moving on to what might win and, on last year’s dominant performance alone, On The Fringe would be an odds-on chance for this. However, he disappointed on his reappearance at Leopardstown last month and that leaves him with a question to answer. In his defence, he would have needed that race quite badly, his first run back since last May, with his trainer Enda Bolger no doubt keen not to see him knocked about on very testing ground. The 11-year-old can therefore be forgiven that below par effort but, even so, his current price of 3/1 doesn’t exactly set the pulse racing and it could be that one of his younger rivals improves past him, but which one?
It Came To Pass is the youngest of the lot at just six and this close relative to Lord Windermere is certainly an interesting runner. The form of his second to the ill-fated You Must Know Me in the aforementioned Leopardstown race puts him in with a leading chance, although he’s unproven on ground this fast and lacks experience with just two runs under Rules.
Of the rest, I’ve a healthy respect for last year’s third Paint The Clouds and 12th Current Event, whose chances were compromised when the ground turned soft and won’t have that excuse this time, but a tentative vote goes to AUPCHARLIE. Henry De Bromhead’s gelding has win his last two points, had a touch of class about him when racing under Rules and will have the services of top amateur Jamie Codd, who knows his way round here and gave Cause Of Causes a dream ride to win Thursday’s Kim Muir.