Djakadam heads strong entry for BetBright Trial Chase on Festival Trials Day this Saturday
Monday, January 25, 2016 - Timico Cheltenham Gold Cup favourite Djakadam headlines 11 entries for the £100,000 Grade Two BetBright Trial Chase (1.50pm), the highlight of an informative card at Cheltenham on Festival Trials Day, Saturday, January 30.
Representing the all-conquering partnership of trainer Willie Mullins and owners Rich & Susannah Ricci, Djakadam found only Coneygree too strong in last year's Timico Cheltenham Gold Cup and made a sizzling return to action when bounding away with the Grade One John Durkan Chase at Punchestown in December.
The seven-year-old is 2/5 favourite with BetBright for Saturday's race, in which market leaders have a poor record. The last favourite to succeed was Cyfor Malta back in 1999.
Last year's BetBright Trial Chase winner Many Clouds (Oliver Sherwood) and runner-up Smad Place (Alan King) could re-oppose. The pair went on to win the two of the most prestigious handicap chases in Britain, with Many Clouds defying 11st 9lb in the Crabbie's Grand National in April and Smad Place routing his rivals by 12 lengths in the Hennessy Gold Cup at Newbury in November.
Northern raider Wakanda is set for a step up in class after an excellent hat-trick this season in Listed handicap chases. Trained in West Yorkshire by Sue Smith, Wakanda scored comfortably on his return at Wetherby in October and denied Virak by half a length in the Rehearsal Chase at Newcastle the following month.
The seven-year-old defied the handicapper and Virak once again when rallying to win the valuable three-mile Silver Cup by a length at Ascot on December 19. A Grade Two winner in novice company last year, the three-timer has seen his handicap rating rise 16lb to 155.
Smith commented today: "All being well, Wakanda goes to Cheltenham for the BetBright Trial Chase.
"He came out of Ascot very well. He had a steady enough time and then we have built him up again for the race on Saturday.
"I thought his performance at Ascot was very good. We always thought he was a nice horse but going down there and winning like he did told us he is a little bit nicer than average.
"It is a big step up at the weekend but we hope he can run another good race.
"I doubt that Wakanda would be supplemented for the Gold Cup. We did put the question to his owner Mr Scholey and he said he thinks perhaps we should wait until next year."
Champion Jump trainer Paul Nicholls has won two of the last six renewals of the BetBright Trial Chases and has two entries this time around in the 2014 runner-up Rocky Creek and Sam Winner, who was third in the Grade One Lexus Chase at Leopardstown in December, 2014.
The 2014 RSA Chase hero O'Faolains Boy is one of two entries for trainer Rebecca Curtis. The nine-year-old looked right back to his best after injury when winning a Newbury graduation chase by 15 lengths last time out. Curtis has also engaged Irish Cavalier, a Listed winner at The Festival in 2015.
The entries are completed by The Giant Bolster (David Bridgwater), a dual winner on Festival Trials Day, including of this race in 2014, Hennessy Gold Cup runner-up Theatre Guide (Colin Tizzard) and Knock House (Mick Channon).
The inaugral running of the race in 1980 was won by the Nicky Henderson trained Raffi Nelson under Steve Smith Eccles. The roll of honour includes Gold Cup Winners Little Owl (1981), Master Oats (1995), See More Business (1998) , Looks like Trouble (2000) and the Champion Chase winner One Man.
Argento Chase Stats 2003-2014
7/8 las winners have been aged 9/10
the last 9 winners had an OR of 151+
Paul Nicholls has trained 2 of the last 6 winners and is the most sucessful trainer in the history of the race with 4 wins
This is poor race for favourites - none have won since Cyfor Malta in 1999
Tony McCoy has ridden two winners since 2007
Steve Smith Eccles and Tony McCoy are the most successful jockeys in the race's history with three wins each
The Ted Walsh trained Rince Ri (2002) has been the only Irish trained winner of the race
A breakdown of winners by age is 6yos one win, 7yos seven wins, 8yos ten wins, 9yos eight wins,10 yos four wins, 11yos three wins
Argento Chase Winners 2003-2015
The Giant Bolster
Neptune Collonges (Fr)
Joe Lively (Ire)
Exotic Dancer (Fr)
See You Sometime
Grey Abbey (Ire)
Jair du Cochet (Fr)
COTSWOLD CHASE HISTORY AND TRIVIA
The BetBright Cup Chase was first run in 1980 as the Tote Double Chase with a total prize fund of £5,215. The race was abandoned in 1987, 1992 (frost), 1996 (frost and snow) and 2006 (frost - a replacement was run at Wincanton the following Thursday).
The contest has had nine sponsors since it's inception: Tote Double Chase (1980-84), Holsten Distributions Chase (1985-87), Charterhouse Mercantile Chase (1988-92), Timeform Hall of Fame Chase (1993-94), Pillar Property Investments Chase (1995-2005), HBLB Cotswold Chase (2006), Letheby And Christopher Chase (2007-09) and Argento (2010-2014). BetBright sponsors for the first time in 2015.
It held Grade Two status for the first time in 1999 and carries a total prize fund of
£100,000 in 2015.
The most runners to line up was 10 (2013), while three took part in 1982 and 1988.
See More Business is the only dual winner, scoring in both 1998 and 2001.
MOST SUCCESSFUL OWNER
The most successful outright owner is John Hales, with two victories courtesy of One Man (1997) and Neptune Collonges (2011). Paul Barber owned dual winner See More Business (1998 and 2011) in partnerships with John Keighley and Sir Robert Ogden respectively. The last-named also saw his colours carried to victory by Exotic Dancer (2007).
MOST SUCCESSFUL TRAINER
Eight-time champion Jump trainer Paul Nicholls has recorded four victories so far, with See More Business (1998 & 2001), Taranis (2010) and Neptune Collonges (2011).
MOST SUCCESSFUL JOCKEY
Tony (A P) McCoy is the most successful rider with three triumphs - Cyfor Malta (1999), Exotic Dancer (2007) and Neptune Collonges (2011).
The only amateur rider to win is Jim Wilson, who partnered Little Owl in 1981. The pair followed up in the Betfred Cheltenham Gold Cup seven weeks later.
Two mares have been successful - Lesley Ann (1982) and Dubacilla (1994).
Three greys have won - One Man (1997), Grey Abbey (2005) and Neptune Collonges (2011).
The race was staged at Wincanton in 2006 after Cheltenham could not race. The Seamus Mullins-trained See You Sometime was sent off the 18/1 outsider of five and is the longest-priced winner. The shortest-priced winner was One Man, who obliged at odds of 2/5 in 1997.
Favourites have gained success in just seven of the 32 runnings (21.88 per cent). The most recent market leader to prevail was the Martin Pipe-trained Cyfor Malta in 1999.
See More Business (2001), Grey Abbey (2005) and See You Sometime (2006) are the three oldest winners of the BetBright Cup Chase - all were aged 11. At the other end of the spectrum, six-year-old Cyfor Malta was the youngest horse to score in 1999.
A breakdown of the winners by age is as follows: 6yo - 1
7yo - 7
8yo - 9
9yo - 8
10yo - 4
11yo - 3
6m 24.20s, set by One Man in 1997.
IRELAND (1): Rince Ri (2002)
FRANCE (1): Jair Du Cochet (2004)
DID YOU KNOW?
Four BetBright Cup Chase winners have subsequently gone on to glory in the Betfred Cheltenham Gold Cup. The Peter Easterby-trained Little Owl won the BetBright Cup Chase in 1981 before taking chasing's Blue Riband in the same year. Master Oats achieved the same feat for trainer Kim Bailey in 1995. See More Business, successful in the 1998 BetBright Cup Chase and then again in 2001, captured the Gold Cup in 1999, while Looks Like Trouble achieved the double in 2000 for trainer Noel Chance.
Dawn Run, who won one of the most memorable renewals Cheltenham Gold Cup in 1986, ran in the BetBright Cup Chase prior to her famous victory. Starting the 4/9 favourite, the great mare looked to be well in command when unseating her rider Tony Mullins at the 16th fence. She was remounted to finish fourth behind Misty Spirit. She returned to Cheltenham in March to land chasing's championship event, becoming the only horse to win both the Champion Hurdle and the Cheltenham Gold Cup.
Two BetBright Cup Chase winners have gone on to win the Crabbie's Grand National at Aintree, with West Tip (1985) and Neptune Collonges (2011) both succeeding the year after their Cheltenham triumph.
A seven-race card on Festival Trials Day also features the £60,000 Freebets.com Trophy Chase (2.25pm) and 23 entries for the handicap chase over two miles and five furlongs include Annacotty (Alan King) and Buywise (Evan Williams), who were first and second in the Paddy Power Gold Cup at The Open in November.
Champagne West (Philip Hobbs) and Tenor Nivernais (Venetia Williams) have both finished second in valuable handicap chases at Cheltenham already this season, while BetBright Trial Chase contenders The Giant Bolster and Irish Cavalier have also been entered.
Grade One Challow Novices' Hurdle winner Barters Hill (Ben Pauling), Shantou Village (Neil Mulholland), an impressive winner at The Open, and Ascot Grade Two scorer Yanworth (Alan King) feature among 18 contenders for the £30,000 Neptune Investment Management Novices' Hurdle (3.00pm) over two and a half miles.
The David Pipe-trained pair of Un Temps Pour Tout, a Grade One victor over hurdles in France in June, and Katkeau, who is unbeaten in two appearances over fences, head 35 entries for the £25,000 Timeform Novices' Handicap Chase (1.15pm), which is run over the same trip as Freebets.com Trophy Chase.
Racing concludes with the £25,000 Steel Plate And Sections Handicap Hurdle (4.10pm) over two miles and a furlong, which has attracted 28 entries including last season's Scottish Champion Hurdle winner Cheltenian (Philip Hobbs) and the unexposed Townshend (Willie Mullins), who has scored on his only start over hurdles in France.
The £60,000 Grade Two Galliardhomes.com Cleeve Hurdle (3.35pm) and the £30,000 JCB Triumph Hurdle Trial (12.40pm) have re-opened for entries until 11am tomorrow, Tuesday, January 26.