Easy Time For Rupert who is rested for Argento Chase


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

Time For Rupert will miss Saturday’s Argento Chase at Cheltenham after a routine test showed he was suffering a minor ailment. This weekend’s Grade 2 chase would have been the final run before Paul Webber’s star returned to Prestbury Park for the Cheltenham Festival meeting in March.

Plans were scrapped when a pre-race blood test showed a high white blood cell count; the 7-year-old has been given a course of antibiotics as a precaution and will rest up in his stable at Cropredy Lawn. Despite the interruption to Festival preparations, Webber explained why he was pleased to discover the problem before the race this weekend: "It is disappointing to have to miss the race, but it is not as disappointing as it would have been had he run when not at his best."

Time For Rupert is unbeaten in two starts at Cheltenham this season and bookmakers have installed him favourite in the betting for the RSA Chase which will be run on the second day of the Cheltenham Festival meeting.

The trainer continued: "Imagine if he had run and finished fifth or something, that would have been hugely disappointing and sent us back to the drawing board again. It's much better that we found out before the race and saved the betting public losing any money and ourselves the disappointment of a bad performance.

"His trachea wash looked clean but when we had a closer look, he had a very high white blood cell count which means he is just sickening for something. Although we can't see the problem, there is something there and he will have five days of antibiotics and an easy week now before we start preparing for the Festival."

The decision to aim Time For Rupert at the Royal Sun Alliance Chase came after he surprised connections with his remarkable improvement last year which he capped off when running second to Big Bucks in last year’s World Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival.

Online bookmaker Sportingbet is offering odds of 11/4 for Time For Rupert to win the RSA Chase for which his odds are as low as 9/4 following his impressive 8 length win against Chicago Grey at the International Meeting in December.

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