StevieDay1983 Posted March 2 Share Posted March 2 The betting for this year's Festival Hunters Chase sees David Christie train the first 3 in the market. Vaucelet is the short price favourite with Ferns Lock and last year's 2nd Winged Leader just behind him in the betting. However, Christie is only going to run one of them and unless something happens to him then Vaucelet will be the chosen one. He landed the Stratford Foxhunters last season and that was on the back of finishing 2nd to Billaway in the Punchestown Champion Hunters Chase when a mistake at the last didn't help his cause. This season he won a point in October and then landed the Hunter Chase at Down Royal when staying on strongly to just nab Dorking Cock on the line. He is clearly very useful and has an obvious chance, but for me he is very short in the betting and I don't like the fact he hasn't run since December. For me Ferns Lock is the best of the trio and if he did happen to run he would be hard to beat. Billaway will be back looking to win this race for the 2nd time on his 4th run in the race. He was well beaten by Ferns Lock on his seasonal return and then made hard work of winning at Naas where he hit his usual flat spot and made one awful mistake. Willie Mullins will have left plenty to work on and his jockey said he knew he was always going to win at Naas. I can fully understand anyone wanting to back him e/w given his record in the race and he will step-up massively on his two runs so far this season, but I suspect something might just improve past him. There are a couple of former top-class horses in single figures in the shape of Secret Investor and Chris's Dream. The former had little trouble in winning hunter chases at Bangor and Kelso to qualify for this, but this will be a much stiffer test for him and horses with his profile don't tend to win the race anymore. Chris's Dream has won a couple of Irish points this season and it will be interesting to see how he gets on back under Rules having run and struggled in some top-class races like the Grand National. The horse for me though is Famous Clermont. On pure ability, unless Ferns Lock runs, I think he is the best horse in the race and produced the best performance in a hunter chase in Britain when sauntering to an easy success in the Walrus at Haydock. Crucially his jumping was much better that day, because when he hammered Shantou Flyer at Wincanton he made some bad mistakes. He hasn't been an easy horse to train as he has had his quirks over the years, but they finally seem to be ironed out and he is now showing how good he really is. The only concern I have about his chances is that he seemed to hate Cheltenham when he ran there on Hunter Chase night. He never got into a rhythm, made some bad mistakes and ended up pulling up. If that happens again then clearly he won't be winning this, but he looks an improved horse this season and if he can jump as well as he did at Haydock then I think he will prove himself to be the best horse in the race. Of the bigger prices who might run well, Black Op has been impressive in points in the North, Dandy Dan won a race over course and distance on Hunter Chase night last May and can go well, whilst last year's 4th Dubai Quest is a big price as he was progressive and could equal last year's placing at the very least. Punters Lounge Tip: Famous Clermont @ 11/2 at >bet365 - Click Here To Bet by Darran Pearce @Darran Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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