Past Winners » Ultimate


I am giving Ultimate another chance here. We backed him on his previous run in the Scottish Champion Chase at Musselburgh three weeks ago, but the ground came up worse than expected (the times revealed it to be very close to soft) and Ultimate, a horse who is probably at his best on top of the ground, went off too fast early on, giving himself little chance by racing so exuberantly. His trainer Brian Ellison reported last week that Ultimate returned home from that run with a cough, and so it is to the horse’s credit that he stuck on well to finish sixth. That was probably a far better effort in the circumstances has been generally recognised.

The handicapper dropped him 2lb to a mark of 132 after that run, which is obviously a bonus, and James Best, taking over from Denis O’Regan in the saddle, takes off a further 7lb. Of course it is rarely a positive to have O’Regan not riding, he is riding at the peak of his powers at the moment, but Ultimate is not a complicated ride, he is generally a good jumper, and with Ellison reporting the tactics to be to ride him with a bit more restraint today, it should be quite a straightforward ride for Best, with Quicuyo, who only has one way of running around here, set to give them a lead.

Reported to be over his cough soon after returning from his previous run, Ultimate has another great chance today. Interestingly, he is currently number 38 in the Grand Annual, and is set to race from just out of the weights if he gets in and if French Opera lines up too, and so picking up a penalty for winning today would give him a better chance of making the cut for the race and would see him run from in the handicap proper at Cheltenham. He is worth backing again today at 5/1.