16.40 Cheltenham: Cause looks good in Kim Muir
Cause Of Causes has long been regarded as one of the Irish “plot” horses for a Festival handicap and he looks the one they all have to beat in the Kim Muir.
Gordon Elliott’s gelding held a whole host of entries over the four days, but connections have decided that this 3m 2f contest for amateur riders is the most suitable.
It looks a good decision based on his last run, where he just got touched off in the valuable Paddy Power Chase at Leopardstown’s Christmas Festival over 3m.
He was only in seventh place two from home that day, but then stayed on in terrific style to go down by just a short-head to Rockyaboya.
The six-year-old now has to run off a 7lb higher mark of 140, but he was a classy hurdler and still looks well treated on his exploits over the smaller obstacles, where he was rated as high as 152 and was last successful off 149.
Another plus is that he has the services of Nina Carberry in the saddle. She is one of the best amateur riders in the business and her knowledge and experience around the unique track is a likely to prove invaluable.
Willie Mullins’ Balnsalow is another who will not lack assistance in the saddle and rates as a big danger.
The seven-year-old was highly tried in a couple of graded races after winning a beginners’ chase at Thurles back in October, and really caught the eye last time out on his first try in handicap company when fourth of 18 to On His Own in a valuable contest at Gowran Park.
He travelled well for much of the race and only weakened late on after making a mistake at the last.
It was a run which suggested he had a decent prize in him from his current handicap mark, and a bold showing looks assured in the hands of the very experienced Patrick Mullins.
An outsider worth considering is Roberto Goldback.
Nicky Henderson’s gelding runs of his lowest handicap mark in nearly four years, and has the services of Sam Waley-Cohen in the saddle.
Although getting no younger at the age of 12, he is 7lb lower in the weights compared to when registering his last success in a class 1 contest at Ascot back in November 2012.
That gives him a big chance at the weights in this lower grade class 2 contest, and he has run well on two of his three starts this season on soft ground that doesn’t play to his strengths.
With the ground now ideal, he is another to well-treated to ignore, despite having to carry top weight.