TC backs Frero to extend Williams' winning run
Rubaud ready to win again says Nicholls
Kevin Blake lays the favourite in Irish Grade 1
"Gerri Colombe has shown a tendency to jump a bit to his left over fences thus far. It hasn't held him back so far, indeed he is unbeaten in three starts over fences when racing right-handed, but it is often only when horses step up into deeper company that these little kinks can become a problem.
"More pertinently, Gerri Colombe's credentials and race fitness will be tested by his three rivals, all of whom are winners of open Grade 1 races that will have the benefit of race fitness on their side on Saturday."
"The positives are that Frero Banbou is on a mark of just 133 with the ground to suit - he was a good second off 142 first time out last season at Ascot - and over a trip I'd be pretty sure he will relish on a going day. On balance, I am happy to recommend a win-only bet at 10/1 on the Betfair Sportsbook or 11.0 or bigger on the Exchange.
"The fact that the in-form Venetia Williams, with six winners since Halloween, including three on Thursday, namechecked this race in late October is hopefully a sign that he will be suitably primed for this."
"An improving young horse with a bright future he has plenty in his favour after a classy success at Kempton on his seasonal debut in a Listed event last month when he gave weight to all his rivals. He continues to work stylishly at home and is at his best going right-handed on a flat track like Wincanton.
"I've left off the hood he has worn on his last three starts because he doesn't need it any more. The ground should be fine for Rubaud who has a first rate chance and could well be taking on Constitution Hill at Kempton over Christmas."
" I'm really looking forward to riding Envoi Allen in the Champion Chase.
He was great in the race last year, he stayed on well to get the better of Kemboy, with Conflated, Galvin and Beacon Edge all behind. That took his record at Down Royal to four from four.
He is probably going to have to be even better this year than he was last year if he is going to win the race again, but he proved his class again when he won the Ryanair Chase at Cheltenham in March. He is just a top-class horse.
Minella Indo is also obviously top class, a Gold Cup winner, and it was great that he came back and won at Punchestown on his debut this season. It wasn't an easy decision, choosing between the two of them, I have had great days on both horses. In the end, though, I had to choose one of them.
Gerri Colombe is the young pretender coming along. This will be his first run out of novice company, and he is taking on top class chasers, but he is obviously a very exciting young chaser. Envoi Allen was beaten last time at Gowran Park, but he seems to be in great order now. It should be a great race.
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