Last year’s Jewson winner can return to the Festival and score in the Ryanair Chase
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It hasn’t been a great season for Benefficient since becoming the surprise 25/1 winner of the Jewson Novices’ Chase at the 2013 Cheltenham Festival, although the eight-year-old looks like coming good for the spring again.
Tony Martin has the horse in good nick for a tilt at the Ryanair and Benefficient has been the subject of considerable support in the lead-up to the race, with Paddy Power free bet now offering a best price 7/2 about Davy Russell riding him to victory.
Benefficient returned to form at Leopardstown over Christmas when winning a Grade 1 race which featured some classy opponents including Arvika Ligeonniere, Sizing Europe and Kid Cassidy. Indeed, one wonders if the horse could have gone close against Sire De Grugy in the Champion Chase.
Nevertheless, the horse takes his chances over a slightly longer distance, with Dynaste thought to be the main opponent and David Pipe made the decision to reroute his main hope into this race rather than go down the Gold Cup track.
Tom Scudamore will be on board a horse that finished second to Cue Card in the Betfair Chase last autumn before struggling to get three miles on soft ground at Kempton on Boxing Day, with the horse finishing second to Benefficient twelve months ago.
Al Ferof is third favourite and runs for Paul Nicholls although the trainer isn’t having a great time of things at the Festival so far, with Irving a particular disappointment on the opening day of the meeting.
Even so, this is a horse that has won a Paddy Power Gold Cup and odds of 5/1 are available that Daryl Jacob rides his charge to victory, with Menorah and Boston Bob the other lively chances in the race.
TIP: 3 points win Benefficient @ 7/2 with bet365