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TOPIC: Cheltenham 2011 - Champion Chase Preview

Cheltenham 2011 - Champion Chase Preview 23 Feb 2011 22:24 #1

  • antighmor
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Two time winner of the race, a classy performer. His jumping is what
stands out in my mind. Not an extravagant jumper, he really ‘pops’ his
fences, seemingly so easily and in his stride. It is a beauty to behold
when he is on form.

Whether or not he is the same horse he once was, is open to debate, and
the true answer will probably finally be known come mid march. The
oceans of ability possessed by the horse will come to the test and his
attitude will be questioned to the highest degree.

A third win in the race would surely bring the roof down at Cheltenham come March 16th.

Big Zeb

Last year’s champion will be back to try and defend his title! He
finally fulfilled huge potential when winning the big one last year. He
threatened to overturn (at the time the ‘unbeatable’) Masterminded in
April ’09 but a couple of horrible jumping errors meant he failed to do
so by a head. Yet he did the job 11 months later at Cheltenham.

His ‘dodgy’ jumping seems almost a thing of the past now and even his
last time out reversal with Golden Silver (himself an excellent horse)
fails to dampen enthusiasm that ‘Zeb’ can retain his title.

Golden Silver

A super horse in his own right, but has been the ‘bridesmaid’ to Big Zeb
on numerous occasions. He finally got one over on his old rival last
time but it would be unlikely he would get the better of Big Zeb at the
festival. This is more down to the fact that both GS’s runs at
Cheltenham have been shockers to say the least - beaten 75 lengths
combined in his two attempts.


Amazingly only once of out the first 3 (and that in a maiden hurdle) in
his 13 career starts, Somersby is an admirably consistent performer. So
far though, he has just fallen short of the top level.

The closest he has come to winning a grade one was last time out when
agonisingly failing by a short-head to catch a tiring Masterminded at
Ascot. The bare form there would give him every chance at Cheltenham and
there have been nothing wrong with his three runs at the track (two
thirds and a second, all in grade 1’s).

The horse may instead be aimed at the Ryan Air, but could this year be
the year when the apple of Henrietta Knight’s eye finally hits the big

Woolcombe Folly

The ‘young pretender’ to the crown. Although no younger than his stable
mate and market leader Masterminded, Woolcombe folly is the more
inexperienced, lightly raced contender having spent a lot of time
hurdling. An impressive tally of 9wins from 15 starts underlines the
talent possessed by the horse.

Whether he is up to the task of this championship race, we cannot be
sure, but the time he clocked with his last win (quicker than
Masterminded's over the same C&D on the same day) would seem to show
him having every chance.

This an early preview and there is a possibility that things could
change drastically between now and then. Other horses that I have not
commented on will line up in the race, and who knows, may win! However
one thing is for sure, it promises to be a truly spectacular race!!

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