Nick Wilby takes a look at this year's Cross Country Chase. (credit: Will Palmer)
Nick Wilby takes a look at the 2010 Cross Country Chase.
4.00 – Cross Country Chase
3m7f – Handicap Chase
The Cross Country Chase is a race that has been dominated by owner/trainer combination JP McManus and Edna Bolger and the duo are responsible for four of the first five winners of the race. 2008 and 2009 winner of the showpiece Garde Champetre (9/4, Paddy Power) is likely to start a warm favourite and he has been allotted top weight in the race for a reason. The winner of five from seven starts over course and distance he is 11lbs higher than when beating stablemate and re-opposing veteran L’Ami (10/3, Paddy Power) and he is certain to make a bold bid for the hat-trick. His recent spin over hurdles will have him spot on and it is hard to crab the form of a horse that has such good form in a race of this nature at his favourite racecourse.
L’Ami is 4lbs better off than when the duo clashed last year and he will be supported to turn the tables with the champion, however it seems that weight and distance handicapping has less impact over cross-country courses and it probably makes more sense to stick with the favourite.
Sizing Australia (5/1, VC Bet) is unexposed and likely to put up a big challenge to Edna Bolger’s domination in the race but a chance is taken on the classy MONKERHOSTIN (16/1, Sky Bet) who proved he retains all of his ability when beating Exmoor Ranger in a handicap at Sandown in February. He is a very interesting addition to the cross country division and is a serious each-way alternative to the favourite. His trainer is bullish about the chances of the former Gold Cup challenger and he is expected to relish the decent ground and long trip.
Nick Wilby's selection - Monkerhostin (16/1, Sky Bet)
Sky Bet are offering their new customers a free £10 bet on the 2010 Cheltenham Festival, sign up here using bonus code MAXIMUMBONUS.