Flemenstar vs Sprinter Sacre vs Cue Card. This is the sort of race that dreams are made of. Sprinter Sacre, arguably the greatest 2 mile chaser ever is trying to emulate a similar level of ability over a longer trip of 2 and a half miles.
Flemenstar is unbeaten over this distance when chasing and Cue Card has just come off a very good Ryanair win at Cheltenham. This one could be a classic.
Latest Odds: Sprinter Sacre (4/11), Flemenstar (6/1), Cue Card (8/1), Finian’s Rainbow (14/1), For Non Stop (33/1), Mad Moose (200/1)
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Unfortunately, I think Sprinter Sacre will be far too good and it won’t be as good a race as one might hope. We may see the closest race for a while with Sprinter Sacre involved but ultimately, I still believe the Henderson trained horse will bolt up and win comfortably. I am a massive Flemenstar fan and if you believe he has a chance of winning, you have to hope that the pressure Flemenstar will exert on Sacre will be enough to make the superstar make a mistake.
Connections have come out and said Flemenstar has no problem with front running and they may try and run the sting out of Sprinter Sacre, this may not be a bad plan as nobody has any idea of what he can do after the 2 mile mark. From a breeding point of view, he has the ability to run over 3 miles, according to Henderson, but we shall see what 2 and a half is like first! For me, this is like Usain Bolt moving to 200m from 100m. A step up that changed nothing with regards to results. I can see the same thing happening here, with Sprinter Sacre cruising to another easy enough victory.
The fact they are trying the Melling Chase as their first run over this trip is no surprise nor is it lucky timing. Aintree is very flat (compared to Cheltenham for example) so 2 miles and 4 furlongs will be a lot easier here than the festival racecourse, which would translate to maybe 2 miles and 6 furlongs on a flat track.
So, what about the others? Cue Card is a very good horse, obviously. I don’t think he has the class of Flemenstar but you could see Cue Card catching Flemenstar for second as he runs himself into the ground trying to negate Sprinter Sacre. We mustn’t forget his creditable 7 lengths second place in last year’s Arkle to SS – can he make this distance up over 4 furlongs? Sprinter Sacre’s winning distances are always deceiving as he is rarely out of second gear over the larger obstacles. 7 lengths is in fact the second smallest losing distance from any second place in Sacre’s chase career. Of the 8 Chase wins he has had, Cue Card is the only one to get him off the bridle, even if it was only for half a furlong!
There is a reason the bookies have priced these 3 poles apart from the others. This is a two horse race in effect for second (in my opinion). Finian’s Rainbow, last year’s Queen Mother and Melling Chase double winner has not been very impressive this year but better ground will see the best of him this year. I don’t think you can discount the form from this year though so I don’t think Henderson’ other horse will feature here. For Non Stop and Mad Moose won’t provide any shocks here unless the other 4 all fall!
After all of that, then, what do I think will happen? I think SS’s biggest danger will be the obstacles in front of him and I fancy Sprinter Sacre to win, although at 1/3 that’s not much of a tip! Perhaps in betting w/o SS, I’d take a punt on Cue Card and hope Flemenstar pulled too hard. Alternatively, Cue Card each way at 8/1 or the forecast with Sprinter Sacre.
This could be a cracker and hopefully Andrew Lynch aboard Flemenstar can take control and run his own race without worrying about the Henderson freak of nature. Unfortunately, I don’t think this will be the case and I can see Cue Card stealing second from the other Irish trained hope.
Melling Chase Betting Tips
2pts Forecast Sprinter Sacre and Cue Card
2pts Cue Card (w/o Sprinter Sacre)
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