Bristol De Mai dominated the field in the Peter Marsh Chase at Haydock on Saturday to put himself in contention for the Cheltenham Gold Cup at the Festival in March where he looks to be heading following his success in the handicap at the Lancashire track.
Nigel Twiston-Davies’ runner is currently at 16/1 in the bet365 racing betting for the Gold Cup where he will be looking to become the first six-year-old to prevail in the Blue Riband of the four-day meeting since Long Run in 2011.
Not many horses were still in contention at the third fence from home at Haydock but Bristol De Mai was still travelling well at that point and along with jockey Daryl Jacob, they stormed clear to score by 22 lengths ahead of Otago Trail and Bishops Road, who finished second and third respectively.
If Bristol De Mai does take his chance in the Gold Cup, it will be his second appearance at the Festival. He came home second in the JLT Novices’ Chase last season behind Willie Mullins’ Black Hercules.
Up until his success at Haydock, Bristol De Mai has been unable to score in two starts as he finished second at Newcastle behind Seeyouatmidnight in a Listed race over 2m4f, while he was also runner-up at the northern track behind Otago Trail when stepping up to 2m7f.
The other option connections of the horse will be considering in the build up to the Festival as an alternative to the Gold Cup is the Ryanair Chase, which is on day three of the meeting. Cue Card has already been ruled out of that 2m4f contest where the betting is currently headed by Un De Sceaux who was successful in the Tingle Creek at Sandown.
Alary Disappoints on British Debut
Saturday’s Peter Marsh Chase was the first opportunity to see Colin Tizzard’s Alary on a British racecourse. The seven-year-old arrived into the Somerset trainer’s yard with a big reputation after performing well in top graded company in France.
Unfortunately for connections of the horse, he was pulled up at Haydock before the third last fence from home. Tizzard’s runner failed to stay with the leaders inside the final half mile in a disappointing display.
The pick of Alary’s form in France was his second place finish in the Grade One Prix La Haye Jousselin which is a Grade One chase over 3m3f. It took place last year on Very Soft ground at Auteuil, a real stamina test. The horse was beaten by less than a length by the 8/5 favourite Milord Thomas who was ridden to success by Jacques Ricou.
Alary does still have an entry in the Gold Cup but his odds have drifted out to 33/1. With his trainer already has the top three in the betting with Thistlecrack, Native River and Cue Card, the temptation might be not to rush the horse through in the UK. He may bypass Cheltenham and instead run at either Aintree at the Grand National meeting or at Punchestown Festival when fresh at the back end of the season.