CHARBEL TO CAPTURE PRIZE
Charbel has everything in his favour to become the inaugural winner of the Tattersalls Ireland Edredon Bleu Chase at Huntingdon.
The Grade Two contest, the annual showpiece at the A1 track, is registered and previously long known as the Peterborough.
But in memory of the race’s multiple winner Edredon Bleu, most famousforhisvictoriestooin the Queen Mother Champion Chase and Kempton’s King George, it goes by a different title for the first time.
It is always a coveted prize, and only more so this year, with several top yards represented in a highlycompetitive 10-strong field.
Charbel nonetheless stands out as the one with the pick of current form, and still improving.
Kim Bailey’s seven-yearold was in with a chance of outrunning his odds for the second successive year at the Cheltenham Festival, and possibly giving the mighty Altior another scare, before falling at the sixth in last season’s Champion Chase.
After a slightly disappointing return when beaten by the reopposing Hammersly Lake at Perth in September, Charbel has upped his game significantly.
He gave 12lb and a narrow beating to subsequent BetVictor Gold Cup winner Baron Alco at Chepstow, then put Hammersly Lake and others in their place when a fine second to Politologue in a Grade Two at Ascot last month.
Even God’s Own, who has to give 6lb all round here, cannot match that form - and with the twoand-a-half-mile trip and forecast good to soft ground ideal, Charbel should prevail as long as he is over his most recent exertions.
By the time he is crossing the line, William H Bonney may well have banked his second consecutive win in the Goffs Handicap Hurdle.