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Elsworth Suggests Ryanair Chase the Race for Somersby

Leeds-born National Hunt jockey Dominic Elsworth clearly has a very soft spot for Henrietta Knight's talented chaser Somersby, the horse who gave him his first Grade 1 success when bravely landing the Victor Chandler Chase at Ascot on January 21, at last grabbing a top-class win after so many good efforts in defeat in recent seasons, writes Elliot Slater.

© Racehorse Photos


Somersby had been beginning to look a horse without a trip after failing to justify favouritism at Huntingdon in December when strongly fancied for the Peterborough Chase, then running as though he didn't quite get home when a respectable fourth to Kauto Star in the King George VI Chase at Kempton Park on Boxing Day. Knight however decided to drop back to two-miles for the Ascot race, a contest in which the eight-year-old ran a short-head second to the top notch Master Minded some 12 months earlier, and with the addition of cheekpieces for the first time everything fell into place as Elsworth conjured a tremendous run out of the son of Second Empire who got up in the last 100 yards to beat the gallant Finian's Rainbow by a length-and-a-quarter in a thrilling finish. Anyone looking for Cheltenham Betting tips will have been impressed.

Elsworth believes though that a step back up to the two-miles-five-furlongs of the Grade 1 Ryanair Chase will be ideal for Somersby, who he suggests is just inclined to make a mistake at two-miles and will find the longer trip at Cheltenham more in his comfort zone. Those looking ahead to Betfair 2012 Cheltenham need to bear this in mind.

Currently a 7/1 co-favourite with Irish stars Noble Prince and Rubi Light, it seems more likely that Somersby will head for the Ryanair Chase in preference to the Queen Mother Champion Chase a day earlier, a race for which he is currently on offer at up to 12/1 in a market currently dominated by last year's winner Sizing Europe, the 5/2 favourite.

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