Somersby cut for Cheltenham Festival

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Tagged under: 2.40 Ryanair Chase 2m 5f ( Festival Trophy Chase ) Grade 1

Henrietta Knight’s decision to try headgear on Somersby paid off when the eight-year-old landed a well deserved Grade One success in the Victor Chandler Chase at Ascot on Saturday.

Somersby’s Cheltenham Festival odds were slashed dramatically after getting up in the late stages to collar Finian’s Rainbow and is now best priced 14/1 with Stan James to win the Champion Chase at Cheltenham in seven weeks time.

Stan James spokesman Rory Jiwani said: "The first-time cheekpieces worked the trick for Somersby and he will surely be aimed at the Champion Chase. We've cut Henrietta Knight's stable star from 33/1 to 14/1 for the two-mile chasing crown.”

Before punters rush off to back Sombersby for the Champion Chase, they should be aware that he is likely to go for the Ryanair Chase over the longer two-mile five-furlong trip on day three of the Cheltenham Festival.

Henrietta Knight tried Somersby at around two-and-a-half miles in his first three runs this season but dropped her charge back in distance after an unsuccessful attempt at three miles in the King George at Kempton. Having been pipped at the post by Master Minded in last year’s Victor Chandler, connections decided to give their horse another crack at the £60,000 first prize.

Knight said: "I questioned whether I'd made the right choice running him back over two miles but thought he deserved another pop at it as he'd gone so close last year. Terry (the trainer’s husband) is thrilled and crying his eyes out.

"He has this one wonderful surge and Dominic got it dead right today. It's the best January I can remember for us."

Considering her Cheltenham Festival options, Knight added: "He's not in the Gold Cup. If it were my choice I would like him to go for the Ryanair, I think that's the right race for him."

Boylesports make Somersby their 5/1 favourite and sportingbet offer the best price of 15/2 for the Ryanair Chase where Finian's Rainbow is also a possible runner and can be backed at 16/1 with BetVictor and Paddy Power.

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