The sensible approach to this race, therefore, is to have a couple of each-way speculators at fancy odds in the hope that at least one of the runners hits the frame at the very least and covers your stake money. The two that catch the eye to fit that strategy are FELIX YONGER and GODS OWN.
The former has rather slipped under the radar being in the shadow of his stable companion in this category all season, but it would be dangerous to ignore his qualities completely based on his record in top class chases over the last few years. Runner-up to Simonsig in the 2012 Neptune on his first appearance at the festival, Willie Mullins’ inmate was a shade unfortunate (slipped badly on landing four out) when fourth behind Taquin Du Seuil in the 2014 JLT on his return visit as a novice chaser. Plying his trade at a very highest level since, the son of Oscar arrives here off the back of another Grade 2 winning performance at Punchestown back in January and given that he’s likely to be held up to avoid getting involved with the early pace, the 10-year-old should be staying on nicely to pick up the scraps left on the table late in the piece.
The latter proved in last year’s Arkle, that given the right conditions – a strong pace and fast ground – he’s capable of running to a very high standard and as this race is likely to pan out in a very similar way to the one that allowed him to chase home Un De Sceaux twelve months ago, 33/1 about Tom George’s charge looks rather tempting. Although he’s failed to win a race since, the son of Oscar has run well in defeat, including when a gallant runner-up to the revitalised Josses Hill at Kempton last time out and a return to better ground is also a major positive when analysing his overall claims.
As well as being value picks in the outright market, the pair also make quite a bit of appeal in the without the favourite lists and should be backed accordingly.