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Cheltenham

  • 14:35 Argento Chase 3m 1f 110y

  • (Registered As The Cotswold Chase) (Grade 2) £100,000 added 5yo+ 9 ran
  • Winner £56,950 2nd £21,370 3rd £10,700 4th £5,330
  • Going: Good to Soft
  • Surface: Turf
    Weighed In
  • Winning time: 6m 32.30s
  • Off time: 14:35:57

Full result

14:35 Cheltenham Result 28th January 2012
Pos Draw Dist Horse Weight Jockey Trainer Age SP
1st Midnight Chase 11-6 D C Costello N P Mulholland 10 11/2
Made all, driven clear after 3 out, ridden and stayed on well flat opened 5/1 touched 11/2
2nd Tidal Bay (IRE) 11-0 R Walsh P F Nicholls 11 9/2
Held up behind, not fluent 16th, headway before 4 out, went 2nd before 2 out, ridden last, stayed on under pressure flat, always held opened 5/1 touched 5/1
3rd 10 Knockara Beau (IRE) 11-0 Jan Faltejsek G A Charlton 9 22/1
Chased leaders, mistake 14th, lost place when hit 5 out, soon ridden, 6th 2 out, rallied flat, went 3rd towards finish, no chance with leading pair opened 20/1 touched 25/1
4th 1 Time For Rupert (IRE) 11-6 D F O'Regan P R Webber 8 10/3j
Tracked winner, not fluent and lost place 12th, ridden after 4 out, kept on under pressure from last, no impression opened 7/2 touched 7/2
5th Diamond Harry 11-6 N Fehily Nick Williams 9 10/3j
Mid-division, headway 14th, went 3rd 5 out, outpaced before 2 out, soon no chance with leading pair, weakened into 5th flat opened 7/2 touched 7/2
6th 29 Little Josh (IRE) 11-6 S Twiston-Davies N A Twiston-Davies 10 16/1
Tracked leaders, hit 10th, went 2nd 12th, driven and lost place before 2 out, weakened last, tailed off opened 16/1 touched 16/1
7th 13 Any Currency (IRE) 11-0 A P Cawley M Keighley 9 66/1
Chased leaders on outside, reminders 11th, lost place 15th, soon behind, tailed off opened 66/1 touched 66/1
8th 11 The Sawyer (BEL) 11-0 Nathan Sweeney R H Buckler 12 66/1
In rear, lost touch 4 out, tailed off opened 100/1 touched 100/1
PU Captain Chris (IRE) 11-5 R Johnson P J Hobbs 8 4/1
Jumped badly right, blundered 2nd and 4th, lost place when pulled up before 8th opened 4/1 touched 9/2

Betting breakdown

Tote Win: £7.10 Tote Place: £2.10,1.80,4.10
Straight Forecast: £29.91 Exacta: £26.00 Trifecta: £204.90 Swingers: 1&2:5.80 2&3:15.30 1&3:16.20

Jackpot: £16,666.60, Pool: £20710.4, 1.5 winning tickets
Placepot: £145.00, Pool: £178971.17, 900.77 winning tickets
Quadpot: £14.20, Pool: £13422.49, 696.95 winning tickets

Verdict

A race that has had little bearing on the Gold Cup since Exotic Dancer went on to chase home Kauto Star in 2007 and it's difficult to envisage MIDNIGHT CHASE turning that around. Neil Mulholland's stable star was allowed an uncontested lead with the other front-runners/prominent racers in the field opting not to take him on and he's a very difficult horse to pass when getting into a rhythm. He was rated a few pounds below the best of his rivals but this track is worth a few pounds to him and he's now won five of his eight starts here and only briefly looked like being pegged back. His rating rose from 137 in October through to a high of 163 last season and he may be able to improve marginally on his 19 length fifth in the Gold Cup as he looks to have posted a career best here with Tidal Bay one place and three and three quarter lengths behind in March off levels only a length closer in receipt of 6lbs. For all his quirks, Tidal Bay is a pretty consistent yardstick and particularly so at this track where he has only finished out of the frame in the Gold Cup (sixth), World Hurdle (seventh) and Ryanair (fourth) in 12 visits. The runner-up briefly looked like catching him having moved quite powerfully into the race but he could make no impression up the hill and Midnight Chase deserves plenty of credit for the way he keeps galloping to the line. Knockara Beau doesn't possess the class of Tidal Bay but he has run some big races at this track and again finished strongly to claim third and do his trainer proud. He is likely to return here for one of the handicaps at the Festival and looks capable of running a big race given that he finished fourth in the Pertemps Hurdle from a rating of 156 last season and is currently rated 145. His chase mark had also slipped to a competitive 140 but a rise of anything more than half a dozen pounds would leave him looking vulnerable. Time For Rupert showed guts to plug on for fourth but his bubble has been well and truly burst as last season's staying novice form took another blow. He didn't make any mistakes per se but got in close to one or two and was slower through the air than Midnight Chase and Little Josh who gained lengths on him at every fence. It's tempting to continue to look for excuses given how promising he looked last season but it appears that he is simply not as good as many believed or hoped he would be. Diamond Harry has also failed to live up to expectations since claiming the Hennessy and his finishing effort was disappointing having moved up into third travelling well. Connections have long felt that he is better suited by a flat track but he has come up the hill better than this in the past and that can't be offered as an excuse. He won't be easy to place with handicaps out of the equation from his current mark and it will be interesting to see if connections contemplate mixing hurdling and chasing; a policy that has worked so well for Tidal Bay who arguably fits into a similar category in being a notch below the best in this discipline. If there is one horse to take from the race with the Festival in mind then it is surely Little Josh who ran an absolute blinder on this first run since picking up an injury on this card last year. He appears to have retained all of his ability, jumped for fun and travelled well until his stamina reserves gave out and, providing that he comes out of this okay, he would be a fascinating contender in the Ryanair Chase (for which he's available at 50-1 in places) despite having around a stone to find on official ratings. Captain Chris was widely expected to put himself in the picture for the Gold Cup following his King George third. He hadn't appeared to be at his best at Kempton but had reportedly pleased his connections since but was never travelling and Richard Johnson was quick to pull him up. He has jumped to his right before but never as markedly as this and is clearly feeling something; it's to be hoped that something comes to light.