Altior: faces some very good rivals in Game Spirit
PICTURE: Edward Whitaker (racingpost.com/photos)
By David Baxter 11:09AM 10 FEB 2017
EIGHT runners will contest Newbury’s pair of Grade 2 chases on Saturday, each of which carry a prize fund of £50,000.
While there is a lack of quantity, there is plenty of quality, with Timico Gold Cup second-favourite Native River squaring off against impressive Peter Marsh Chase winner Bristol De Mai in the Betfair Denman Chase.
Le Mercurey completes the trio for a race which could have a significant bearing on the Cheltenham Festival highlight.
Welsh National winner Native River is behind only stablemate Thistlecrack in the Gold Cup market at a general 9-2, while Bristol De Mai can be backed at 12-1.
Five have been declared for the Betfair Exchange Chase, which is registered as the Game Spirit Chase, and again while low on numbers, there are some stars on show.
Racing Post Arkle favourite Altior heads the cast, but takes on Fox Norton, who is second-favourite for the Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase, and Dodging Bullets, who won the festival race in 2015.
Traffic Fluide and Gino Trail complete the field.
Newbury’s head of communications Andy Clifton was not disappointed with the small fields and said: “In an ideal world we’d have eight for each race, but it’s unrealistic to expect trainers to run their horses against superstars where they have no chance of winning.
“Altior is a big draw and we have outstanding quality in both races. The Denman Chase is fascinating and I’m pretty happy with the fields.”