Time For Rupert Faces Tough Task On Saturday.

BetVictor

Tagged under: 2.40 RSA Steeple Chase 3m 1/2f

The Paul Webber trained Time For Rupert, a warm 5/2 favourite for the RSA Chase at the festival, will face his stiffest task to date over the larger obstacles in Cheltenham's Argento Chase.

Runner-up behind Big Bucks in last years World Hurdle, the seven-year-old is likely to encounter the horse who finished second to Paul Nicholl's outstanding stayer in 2009, namely the hugely promising Punchestown.

Both horses are quoted at odds of 25/1 for the 2011 Gold Cup, but whereas Nicky Henderson's charge is an intended runner, Time For Rupert is more likely to go the novice route in the shape of the RSA Chase.

Early betting on Saturday's 3m 1 1/2f Grade 2 contest sees the exciting novice as a hot 13/8 favourite ahead of Punchestown, who can be backed at 9/4 with Bet365, Skybet and Victor Chandler.

Tidal Bay, who defeated Time For Rupert in the Cleeve Hurdle at last years meeting, is clear third best at 6/1 followed by a trio of Paul Nicholls trained runners, in the shape of Neptune Collonges, The Tother One and last years winner Taranis, all available at 12/1 in various places.

While admitting that his stable star is facing a tough ask, Webber is looking forward to the step up in class, saying: " He's done everything smoothly and has always looked like being a better steeplechaser than a hurdler. We've been thrilled with the way he's done it with a minimum of fuss so far.

" The plan is to run him in the Argento on Saturday where he meets the likes of Tidal Bay and Little Josh but he loves the track and it seemed as sensible to go there as anywhere else."

While you have to admire the connections of Time For Rupert for not taking the easier novice path to Cheltenham, a crack at the Gold Cup may be too tempting if the gelding should put up a bold display on Saturday, to the dismay of those with fancy prices for the more realistic RSA.

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