Horse Talk with Simon Jackson:
Top horse-racing tips and the latest news.
A PLUS TARD is the new favourite for the Cheltenham Gold Cup after his 22-length victory in the Betfair Chase at Haydock Park on Saturday.
A Plus Tard is now best-priced at 7-2 from 7-1 for the 2022 Gold Cup at Cheltenham where he was runner-up earlier this year behind his Henry de Bromhead-trained stablemate Minella Indo (6-1). The trainer has the first three in the betting as Envoi Allen (9-1) is third favourite with most bookmakers.
A Plus Tard was ridden confidently throughout by Rachael Blackmore, settling well off the pace before improving his position to challenge for the lead three fences from home.
Blackmore eased A Plus Tard to the lead approaching the second-last and sprinted away from the challengers to win as he liked.
De Bromhead said of the Cheveley Park Stud-owned winner: “My heart was in my mouth as normal, but Rachael was brilliant and obviously A Plus Tard was brilliant as well.
“With his preference for left-handed tracks, this just seemed the obvious place to go – I was sick of getting beat in the Fortria Chase at Navan for the last couple of years over two miles.
“This is a fantastic race, it’s brilliant to win it and it’s brilliant for the Thompsons (of Cheveley Park).”
“After the 10th person told me no Irish horse had ever won it before, I started to wonder why we were here at all, but he’s got so much class.
“He’s won a Grade 1 over two miles and a couple of Grade 1s over three. He’s still only seven, so fingers crossed he’s got a long career ahead of him.
“He’s achieved a hell of a lot for a horse of his age. He’d been working really well and everyone was very happy with him.
“There’s a great crowd here and we always get a great reception.
“Because of his preference for left-handed tracks, the Savills Chase at Leopardstown (at Christmas) seems to be the sensible way to go.”
Blackmore had not previously ridden around Haydock, she said: “That was incredible – I’ll definitely like coming back to Haydock from now on!
“It was a fantastic performance. He’s such a classy horse and couldn’t have done it any better.
“He jumped fantastically and felt superb and I was happy everywhere. It’s not often races are that straightforward, but it’s very enjoyable when they are.
“You only have to look back at what he’s done. It wasn’t his day in March, but he’s proved today he’s extremely good.”
“He’s very special to me as he gave me my first ever Cheltenham winner (2019 Close Brothers Novices’ Handicap Chase),” she added.
“He’s got gears, he stays and jumps really well. He cruises along without doing too much.
“He’s already established and is improving the whole time. He did nothing wrong in Cheltenham in March – everything went right for him and Minella Indo was a better horse on the day.
“Henry has got a massive yard of extremely talented horses and he is bang up there.”
Horse Talk with Simon Jackson. Showcasing horse racing in London and the south east.