A Plus…What Else?

22 length winner tops 2022 Cheltenham boards

The 2021 Gr1 Betfair Chase run over the weekend was won for the first time by an Irish trained runner.

The Henry de Bromhead trained A Plus Tard, a well backed 11/10 favourite, was imperious in victory, running out a 22-length winner.

Bookmakers were quick to react and priced him up a general 4/1 ante-post favourite for Gold Cup glory at Cheltenham next year.

A Plus Tard produces a scintillating performance in the Gr1 Betfair Chase (Pic- Haydock Park)

Saturday’s field, the biggest since 2014, started with the triple winner of the race, the grey Bristol De Mai attempting to make all from the front. Royale Pagaille followed in second throughout the race until jumping to the front around the halfway mark after a mistake by the leader.

Rachael Blackmore was content to bide her time on the Irish raider in fourth place until picking up the leaders going towards the fourth last fence.

Tanking his way into the race 4 out, he loomed up to the leaders and with a fine leap, and settled the contest in no time. A wide margin victory with the jockey barely moving in the saddle throughout.

The Savills Chase at Leopardstown is the Cheveley Park Stud-owned gelding’s next target.

On Monday, the trainer said: “He’s great. He got home on Sunday morning and he was really good. He’s out in the field today and we’re happy with him.”

Eklat De Rire will bid to continue Henry de Bromhead’s domination of the major jumps’ prizes in Britain this season with victory in the £250,000 Ladbrokes Trophy at Newbury on Saturday.

The County Waterford handler became the first trainer to win the Champion Hurdle, Champion Chase and the Gold Cup in the same year at Cheltenham last season.

“It’s incredible to have the horses we have now. When you list those races, they’re races I’d have dreamt of winning – it’s unreal, incredible,” he said.

In Eklat De Rire, De Bromhead fields a leading contender for this weekend’s Gr3 feature.

De Bromhead noted: “There’s a bit of concern on the ground, obviously. They’re saying it’s good to soft and I think they’re watering at the moment.”

Eklat De Rire won a Gr3 novice chase at Naas last season, before unseating Rachael Blackmore in the Brown Advisory Novices’ Chase at Cheltenham. On his seasonal return last month, he made a successful reappearance at Wexford.

“He’s got good form and won well the other day. He had some very good runs over fences last year and was very impressive in his novice chase at Naas. He’s a horse we have high hopes for.”

A formidable Irish challenge is likely with champion trainer Willie Mullins declaring ante-post favourite Onetheropes, as well as Brahma Bull and Annamix.

Rachael Blackmore lifts the prized trophy (Pic- Haydock Park)

The English challenge include Colin Tizzard’s Fiddlerontheroof, the Paul Nicholls-trained Enrilo and last year’s winner Cloth Cap, trained by Jonjo O’Neill.

Clerk of the course Keith Ottesen expects the ground to be on the “easy side of good” come the weekend. He stated: “Saturday is a bit uncertain, but there’s no ground concerns in terms of it getting quick – it should be fair for everybody.”

Another eye-catching performance over the weekend was the victory by the Nicky Henderson trained Buzz, who justified confidence to win the Ascot Coral Hurdle going away. The grey is on track to return to the Berkshire venue for the Long Walk Hurdle next month, after taking Saturday’s exertions well.

Following the cosy three length success in the extended two-mile-three-furlong Group Two contest, connections feel the seven-year-old, who was previously seen winning the Cesarewitch at Newmarket under Oisin Murphy, should continue to progress.

Owner James Stafford stated: “It was a great thrill to see him do that, especially as there is always the worry that he may not bounce back after his exertions in the Cesarewitch. They went a good pace on Saturday, and it was a good test for them.”

“He jumped three or four flights of hurdles in his build-up to this race and he just takes things very naturally. He is a natural athlete and it is very exciting.”

“Buzz will tell us when he is ready, but the Long Walk is the target and he is back on his favourite track – he has won two of three at Ascot, so let’s see if he can make it three from four.”

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