First Lieutenant is around a 10/1 mark after his good recent run in the Lexus Chase, after he was just seen off by Gold Cup winner Bobs Worth.
The Mouse Morris-trained horse went off favourite in last year’s Ryanair Chase, where he was second behind the fantastic Cue Card. This was followed by an excellent run in the Betfred Bowl Chase at Aintree, where a superb ride from Bryan Cooper saw First Lieutenant get home.
However, despite a good run in the Lexus, First Lieutenants' season has been disappointing to say the least. He was third of three Gigginstown horses on his seasonal debut followed by a very poor fourth in the Champion Chase at Down Royal. There hasn’t been enough form to be confident in backing the Morris horse.
Rubi Ball too ran well in the Lexus and could be Willie Mullins’ main entry in the Gold Cup with last years second Sir Des Champ out for the season.
Disappointing form in France, but Rubi Ball seems to have got things right now at Willie Mullins.
I feel this horse can progress however it is still relatively unexposed. I think if entered in the Hennessy which it looks like and runs well it will give us a better indication of where Mullins has him at. Further, he has never ran at Cheltenham and no track form is also a concern.
Captain Chris for Phillip Hobbs is a very interesting contender. If this race was at Kempton, there’s no doubt I would be backing this each way.
He’s ran well thus far with a close third in the Peterborough giving weight followed by an outstanding win in the williamhill.com Chase.
Captain Chris had a crack at the Gold Cup last season. After his gritty second in the King George, I expected a lot more but he finished a disappointed sixth.
Both runs this season have been at two-mile four, so I think this may be an indication that Hobbs maybe aiming at the Ryanair Chase, especially with last year’s top two Cue Card and First Lieutenant aiming for the Gold Cup
The Giant Bolster bounced back into form on Saturday when he cruised to a seven length victory in the Argento Chase at Cheltenham.
The David Bridgewater trained horse has been extremely disappointing so far this season after below par runs in the Betfred Chase at Haydock and then unseating jockey Tom Scudemore in the Betfred 'Goals Galore' Chase at Aintree.
However, equipped with a hood and visor for the first time, this seemed to make all the difference, brushing aside Paul Nicholls' progressive Rocky Creek.
The Giant Bolster absolutely loves Cheltenham, having won three times now at the track. To this, he also has excellent Gold Cup form, having finished second and fourth in the last two fixtures.
The Bolster is not the most well behaved horse on the track. However, he thrives at Cheltenham, as saw on Saturday. Further, the hood seems to have straightened him up very well and become more sensible in the running.
Finally, you know for a fact that he will very well get the trip. You could have got 66/1 for The Bolster before the Argento. Now at 25/1, it still seems a very good price considering his Cheltenham form.
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