There is lots to like about this French raider
Glenfarclas Handicap Chase (Cross-Country), 3m7f, X-Country (due off 4.00pm)
Ireland have dominated this race, winning eight of the last runnings and supplying countless placed horses, but their grip appears to be loosening. That’s mainly down to the emergence of Balthazar King, winner in 2012 and 2014, and his absence (being trained for the Grand National) we have another British-trained runner in Any Currency heading the market. He almost won last year’s race, going down by a short head, and his 12-length win over this course in December (taking his form figures over the course to 32241) showed that he is better than ever at the age of 12. He’s a funny horse who often gives the impression he’s not going that well, before finding plenty, and for that reason he could be one to back in-running. A worthy favourite, mind. Top price 5/1 Boylesports.
Who else is fancied?
Several of these are familiar faces in the these type of races and they are much of a muchness.
Duke Of Lucca looks the best of the Philip Hobbs-trained pair, the other being Imperial Circus, and he could well improve on last year’s fourth place finish. Sire Collonges will know his way round too as he’s making his 12th consecutive appearance at Cheltenham, while Quantitativeeasing could do best of those trained by Enda Bolger, who is seeking his fifth win in this race. The latter horse was fourth in the PP Hogan at Punchestown in February and that race has proved a solid pointer in the past.
The unknown quantity in this year’s field is French raider Toutancarmont, who has ten wins to his name from 14 starts since switching to the cross-country discipline, with most of his successes hall-marked by near-flawless rounds of jumping. That said, he did take a slithering fall at Pau last time, although that may have been down to the attrocious conditions.
Any decent outsiders?
While we’ve had winners at 25/1 (A New Story) and 14/1 in the last decade, the race has been relatively kind to punters with the market a good guide, although it’s worth pointing out only two favourites have obliged in the last ten runnings and one of those was joint. It will be a surprise if the winner doesn’t come from those already mentioned, but a couple of others worthy of a mention are the ever-green Uncle Junior, who chased home Any Currency here in November, and Gordon Elliott’s Chicago Grey, the mount of Davy Condon.
Trainer quote: “He’s in super form and suffered no ill effects of the fall. The race distance will suit him as he has won the big cross-country race at Fontainebleu over three and three-quarter miles. All I can say is that if I’m coming over, it is to win.” – Isabelle Pacault (trainer) on Toutancarmont.
Best bookie offer
Back the winner of this race at 4/1 or bigger with bet365 and they will give you a free bet to the same stake (up to £50) on the next live Channel 4 race (Thursday’s JLT Novices’ Chase, 1.30pm). If your free bet also wins at 4/1 or bigger, get another free bet and so on.
Not a race to go overboard on but there’s enough to like about French raider TOUTANCARMONT to merit an interest at current odds. Just hope his rider doesn’t take the wrong course – it has happened before!
Selection – Toutancarmont @ 7/1 bet365