Turning into the straight in this year’s Arkle Chase, Charbel led the field, travelling well. His closest pursuer, making ground all the time, was the 1/4 favourite Altior. Charbel rose at the fence and cleared it with his front legs but caught his back legs in the birch and came down. It’s highly unlikely he’d have won but finishing second to the horse who could easily have won the Champion Chase would still have been a fine performance.
Charbel’s trainer Kim Bailey thinks a lot of his horse but he’s a wise and pragmatic man and appears to have concluded that Charbel might run some valiant races over fences this season in the red hot 2m division, but he’s unlikely to win many.
Last week, Bailey had him entered in two hurdle races and no steeplechases. He was in the Elite and the Greatwood (run next Sunday at Cheltenham). He’s been declared to run in the Elite and I think he’s worth betting at the 4/1 on offer from Bet365 NB the link is added for convenience. I have no affiliate deals with bookmakers or anyone else.
Charbel is top on official ratings at 149 in this race. But he hasn’t run over hurdles since April 2016 and since then, over fences, he’s built a bigger rating of 154. If that rating is replicated over hurdles, and there is no reason it should not be, he is 5lbs well in tomorrow. Doubtless this potential benefit was in Bailey’s mind when planning the season’s campaign.
Apart from the potential weight advantage, Charbel also has a good record first time out in a new season. Just looking at his form figures, this is not obvious:
It looks like he has been 4th and 5th on his last two seasonal debuts, but those were in practice, his final runs of the previous season, which finishes officially on what is now Bet365 day at Sandown (known to oldies as The Whitbread) and begins again the day after. The key factor is that after an extended break over the summer, Charbel is unbeaten first time back.
The going is forecast good to soft at Wincanton and Charbel has won on that and indeed has won on soft. But it’s worth mentioning that his trainer is on record as saying the horse’s ideal is good ground. Wincanton is a right-handed track and Charbel’s record going that way is 2 from 6. (He’s 3 from 7 going left).
All in all, the case for Charbel’s chance of winning this looks strong. 4/1 is very much on the low side when I’m tipping but that’s mostly because the majority of my tips are antepost. At 3/1 or shorter I wouldn’t be backing Charbel but that’s more because of the type of punter I am. You must make up your own mind.
But always remember what the screenwriter William Goldman famously said about highly experienced film executives trying to come up with the next blockbuster – “Nobody knows anything.’ That’s a fine maxim to cling to when you’re betting. Don’t be deceived by the large number of posts on this blog that seem well informed, just remember that nobody – and I’m very much included – knows anything.
Never bet more than you can afford to lose with a smile. Good luck.
Saturday 11th November: Wincanton: 3:00. Charbel 4/1 Bet365.
Post-race edit and P&L
Big market drifter, never travelling, beaten a long way out. Too bad a run to be true and I’ll give him another chance on good ground if he stays over hurdles.
Profit and loss (started from November 2017)