EDIT: Thursday 07-12-2017
Two of the big guns have come out of the Tingle Creek and Charbel has been declared there. He is still in at Huntingdon but I’d say Sandown is now more likely. I think he’ll struggle there against Fox Norton although he should outrun his price of around 12/1
Every so often you can latch onto a horse that needs faith or foolishness on your part. Charbel is beginning to become costly for me but I’m not yet ready to give up on him. That last horse that gripped me in the same way and was becoming as expensive was the ill-fated Rajdhani Express who belatedly paid his debts and a fair bit more with a 14/1 victory in the 2015 Topham Chase.
I might have to wait even longer before Charbel manages to cross the profit line but I cannot let him go when 14/1 is available for Sunday’s Peterborough Chase. He’s also engaged in Saturday’s Tingle Creek but trainer Kim Bailey says he won’t run there unless it cuts up to ‘two or three’ runners. That’s not impossible, so bear it in mind.
If he goes to Huntingdon for the Peterborough, it will be the first time he’s tried the trip – 31 yards short of 2m 4f. We’d have known more about the likelihood of him seeing it out had he managed to get up the hill in March at Cheltenham rather than tipping up two out. His breeding offers no obvious stamina clues so there’s another element of chance there. But the race could cut up with the current favourite Top Notch also engaged at Aintree at the weekend and his stablemate Josses Hill, who won the Peterborough last year, is back to defend his crown so I think there’s a reasonable chance that Top Notch will skip this.
Even if he runs it would not put me off Charbel at 14s (William Hill). Charbel is as low as 8s elsewhere. Charbel is likely to get his ground at Huntingdon if past records are anything to go by; since 1997 the Peterborough Chase has not been run on soft ground. It was heavy in 2012, otherwise good to soft is the worst they’ve seen.
Good luck and bear in mind, as ever, the perils of antepost punting.