Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Barra to Deliver a Killa Punch

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Barra to Deliver a Killa Punch

Article excerpt

Byline: Tanya Stevenson Channel 4's Betfair lady

CAID DU BERLAIS faces a fresh set of rivals to those he conquered in the Paddy Power, a few of which are less exposed and possibly have the potential to usurp him.

Not a race to appease all punters as Cheltenham's 2.00 has only produced two winning favourites since 1994. At the last meeting here he certainly finished with a flourish, but has to defy a five pound rise. Paul Nicholls has won the race three times and had another great weekend last Saturday landing two Grade 1s.

Many Clouds' Hennessy win meant a 24-year wait was over for Oliver Sherwood now Darna can end a 23-year drought for Kim Bailey who won this race with Kings Fountain back in 1991. Darna returned from two years off the course to record a facile victory at Sedgefield, although talented, this is a big ask only getting four pounds from Caid Du Berlais though I do like this horse.

Nicky Henderson has also won this on three occasions and relies on Ericht. He made a horrendous error two out when in contention behind Caid Du Berlais in November and could perhaps have finished much closer than the 10th place suggests.

A couple of places ahead of Ericht was Edgardo Sol with the burden of his current mark proving too much, yet he ran a blinder when second to Wishfull Thinking in the Old Roan Chase on his penultimate start so it would be dangerous to cross him off the list.

Seven of the last 10 winners came from the first five in the betting and eight of the last 10 winners had finished no worse than third last time out which brings in Niceonefrankie, No Buts and Barrakilla.

But note, seven of the last 10 winners had run at Cheltenham in March and none of the above three were anywhere close.

Niceonefrankie flirts around the 130 mark, yet because of a facile win at Ascot last time finds himself in my mind in the grip of the handicapper. This will be his 25th chase start whereas No Buts and Barrakilla have only raced 11 times between them! …

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