The odds compilers at Coral sometimes ‘take a view’ (follow their own opinions rather than the market’s) on a big race and it looks like they are doing so with the RSA next March. They offer 20/1 about Saturday’s Punchestown winner, Back In Focus. Big mistake, I think.
He is just half that price with Bet 365 and is generally a 14/1 chance. He’s won both his steeplechases; Saturday’s race was a pretty strong one and although the ground was heavy, he had the smoothest action of the four runners suggesting that he will go at least as well if not better on good ground (a high knee action usually suggests that a horse will go well on soft ground). I suspect it’s not so much soft ground he needs as a true stamina test.
On that front, my only reservation on the ante-post front is that he might end up in the 4m National Hunt Chase, although his trainer, Willie Mullins, said after Saturday’s race that the RSA trip would suit him well. If he ends up in the four-miler, well you can back him to recover your lost stake for the RSA (ante-post bets are lost if the horse does not run).
In action, he looks a proper stayer: a head-down rhythmic galloper and an economical relaxed jumper. He made one error on Saturday, otherwise he fenced like an old handicapper and better ground should only help his technique. He reminded me a bit of Denman. Like that horse, he seems to give a lot in his races without any driving and I suspect he would want a fair rest between runs.
But take the 20/1 before Coral realise they’ve made a bloomer.