Tied Cottage Chase Tips & Betting Preview

IN SUMMARY – At prohibitive odds, Douvan is not a betting proposition so we have focussed on the ‘betting without Douvan’ market for our tip in the race. Smashing and Draycott Place may well take each other on for the lead in the race and it’s hoped that Realt Mor can pick them off in the latter stages to follow Douvan home.

RACE PREVIEW – Just 6 runners lined up for this race last year when it was won by our tip Felix Yonger – who was sent off at Evens having been tipped at 8/11 – and disappointingly just four horses line up for the 2017 edition.

Again, Willie Mullins has the odds on favourite, but this time it is Douvan at odds of just 1/12. Carrying top weight of 11 stone 12 pounds is unlikely to be an issue, as he remains unbeaten in 12 starts for his trainer. Last season, he won five novice Grade 1s – including the Arkle at the Cheltenham Festival last year – by a minimum of seven lengths, and his imperious form has continued this year. Sent off 1/6 and 1/8 for his two runs this year so far, he won the Grade 2 Hilly Way Chase by 22 lengths before running away with the Grade 1 Paddy Power Cashcard Chase by 8 lengths from Sizing John and with plenty more in the tank.

The current 4/9 favourite the Queen Mother Champion Chase in March, it’s not often a horse is a 1/10 favourite for a Grade 2 event with €26,550 for the win but Douvan is certainly no ordinary horse. His form is head and shoulders above anything else in this division, let alone in this race, and he has the added advantage of being the only Course winner in the field. The question remains where the value lies – and it’s likely in backing one of the others in the race to place – but failing a non-completion it’s very difficult to see anything stopping the favourite making it 14 wins in a row.

Smashing carries second top weight – 11 stone 10 pounds, two less than the favourite – and has been installed as clear second favourite by the bookmakers. Rated 156 (18lb below Douvan but at least 13lb above the rest of the field), he has been beaten long distances on all of his starts this season, with his best performance in terms of lengths being a 30 length last in the Grade 3 Irish Daily Star Chase. He was far too keen last time out and the drop in trip back to two miles for the first time since his 7th place finish in the Arkle should help, and while his form is patchy he has put in some solid performances. Winner of the Grade 2 Webster Cup Chase on his last start last season, he held off Road To Riches with a game effort. It’s worth noting that was his last effort on his favoured ground, and his chances will largely rest on how much rain there is before Sunday.

Draycott Place competed in this race last year when finishing last, 37 lengths behind Felix Yonger, and he has been heavily campaigned since then with 24 runs for just 2 wins (both in handicaps off marks of 123 and 132). He will pick up a welcome €900 even if he does finish last, and €1,800 if he beats a single horse home, so it’s a keen bit of placing by his owner/trainer John Patrick Ryan. Well beaten in a competitive handicap off a mark of 137 on his last chase start, he has regularly shown he can run to marks in the high 130s but that won’t be enough to get near the three above him in the market today.

Finally, Realt Mor is the outsider of the field, with the 12 year old coming here having won off a mark of 125 over hurdles on his last start 17 days ago. That was an impressive win and the drop back in trip should help, having won a handicap comfortably on his last two mile chase start off a mark of 132. He followed that up with a respectable third in the Veterans’ Handicap Chase at Cheltenham off 140, It’s worrying that he performed so badly on his last chase start, when struggling home in the Troyton Handicap Chase, but that was just 16 days later and he had a hard race at Prestbury Park. The quick turn around would be a worry here again given that performance but he looks set to run a big race at the odds and could well be the one to chase Douvan home.

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