Belfast Telegraph

The Punter: Somersby just right for Knight

Henrietta Knight had her golden Cheltenham moments with Best Mate, who lifted the Gold Cup three years in a row, between 2002 and 2004.

Since then, Festival celebrations have been muted and indeed, one is left head-scratching in trying to pin-point her last winner.

However, most of her horses have been waiting for better ground and as such, there was not much expectation at the West Lockinge Farm during the winter months.

Incidentally, Henrietta has just purchased a five-year-old called Ballygarvey from Glengormley's Wilson Dennison and he should be worth following in the future.

But back to Chelters and the Queen Mother Champion Chase today gives Henrietta the chance to bask in the limelight once again — although being of a shy disposition, she tries to avoid attention.

Somersby, runner-up in the 2010 Arkle Trophy, behind Sizing Europe, showed he is hitting form at the right time when just failing to catch Master Minded in the Victor Chandler at Ascot.

He showed, there, that his jumping is spot-on and that is crucial in this fast-run contest over two miles.

One thing for sure is, he will be staying on in the run to the line under Robert ‘Choc’ Thornton, who rode the horse to that narrow Arkle defeat, behind Sizing Europe.

Arkle winners have a good record in the Queen Mother and, hence, Sizing Europe must come into the picture. But it was the manner of Somersby's narrow defeat at Ascot that makes him worth a shout, even though he lacks the experience often needed.

Eight of the last 10 winners had run at least eight times over fences, so Henrietta has to overcome that but the fact that she is going here, instead of the Ryanair Chase, is testament to her confidence that two miles at a good pace will suit better than the longer Ryanair trip.

Big Zeb and Master Minded are the market leaders, understandably as the former won last year and the Master succeeded in 2008 and 2009.

Eight of the last 27 returning champions have won but only Master Minded in the previous 11 years. Barry Geraghty is confident about Big Zeb retaining his crown but at 7-1 Somersby can brighten Henrietta's recent barren months.

Belfast Telegraph


From Belfast Telegraph