Past Winners » Bigbadjohn
I am backing Bigbadjohn here. I think that it is worth giving him another chance.
He was disappointing last time in the Sky Bet Chase, he was sent off as favourite, but he was fighting a losing battle when he slipped up. However, it was just all a bit much for him, as feared, a big field of proven hardened handicappers. It was just his fourth chase and he had never before faced more than five rivals over fences. Also, it was discovered afterwards that he was suffering from a fibrillating heart.
He should be more at ease today with just four rivals, and his previous small-field form gives him a big chance. He beat old friend Our Kaempfer at Newbury in early November, and that horse has obviously enhanced the form since by winning easily at Kempton last month. Our Kaempfer probably improved for that run, and for the step up to three miles at Kempton, but Bigbadjohn beat him that day on merit.
Then next time, Rebecca Curtis’ horse finished second to Thistlecrack in a Grade 2 chase back at Newbury at the Hennessy meeting. He may have been a little flattered by that, Ibis Du Rheu tried to chase Thistlecrack from early and Bigbadjohn picked up the pieces a little, but it was still a fine run.
He should be able to build on that now, back in a small field. He has raced just four times over fences, he has lots of scope for progression, and he stays three miles.
His heart issues are a slight concern, but only a slight concern. Horses recover from these things, Eastlake did, Denman did, and Rebecca Curtis would not be running him if she wasn’t happy that he was ready to run again.
Of more concern is Arpege D’Alene, who is a big danger, but I think that the value lies with Bigbadjohn.
BIGBADJOHN WON (SP 8/1)