Horses To Follow » Chicago Grey

Chicago Grey

Chicago Grey is clearly very well suited to the demands of Cheltenham and his latest effort, his third novice chase at Prestbury Park in a row, showcased this again. He ran another cracker, this time behind the top rated hurdler of last season to go chasing this term, Time For Rupert, in the DRS Contracts Novices’ Chase over the extended three-miles-one of the Old Course. Held up as usual behind the strong pace set by Quinz, he started to make progress coming to the top of the hill courtesy of a couple of good jumps at the sixth and fifth last. Switched to the outside coming down the hill as Time For Rupert pulled out to challenge the long time leader, he cleared away from the pack to close on the front two, and for a brief moment between the last two fences looked like throwing down a serious challenge to Time For Rupert, but didn’t quite have the pace to do so.

Gordon Elliot’s Grey is just a galloper and while he was no match for last season’s World Hurdle runner up, drew nine lengths clear of Quinz who stayed on for third with long intervals between the rest of the field, which included Cannington Brook and Balthazar King who had both shown promise here earlier in the season but were well beaten off on this occasion. Time For Rupert is now the clear favourite for the RSA Chase at the Festival, as low as 3/1, and there are also murmurings that connections are contemplating a crack at the Gold Cup itself this year. Given that, Chicago Grey must be shortlist material for the four-miler at the Festival, which is apparently his aim. He ran more than adequately in the Fort Leney Chase at Leopardstown on Tuesday, beaten less than five lengths over a trip that was probably too short and on ground that was probably too soft and, with his course form – as well as his latest Cheltenham run he had won there two starts previously and had every chance of beating Wayward Prince there on his previous run when coming to grief two out – and undoubted stamina he must have an excellent shot in the National Hunt Chase.

11th December 2010