Encore, Encore I hear you all cry as three days of top quality action comes to an end at Cheltenham. Well I’m here to tell you that your wish is my command and I’m expecting us to end with a bang and suggest we back Regal Encore to win the Greatwood Handicap Hurdle! Encore, Encore.
Here we have a horse that has thus far underachieved over hurdles.
As a National Hunt Flat horse, he was top quality, winning his first 2 races before finishing an excellent second to multiple festival winner Briars Hill in the Festival Bumper.
This raised the bar as far as his hurdling career expectations were concerned but as I eluded to before, he hasn’t really hit those expectations. It’s not as if he has performed poorly, winning 1 of his first 3 and finishing runner up behind two good horses, Seeyouatmidnight and Garde La Victoire, in the other 2, before running fourth in the Imperial Cup at Sandown. And it is this last run that we shall start with.
Held up at the back, he made smooth headway before finding little in the punishing climb to the line and fading to finish fourth. Was it a case of his stamina running out or was it a lack of maturity and concentration? Certainly he travels well in his races but just doesn’t seem to finish them off. Is this physical of mental?
Well it is of major interest that the trainer resorts to both the Hood and the Tongue tie (for the first time) today. So I guess he doesn’t know which it is, or perhaps he has finally figured it out. Not only are these measures applied, but the horse has been dropped back in trip from 2m 4f to 2m. Maybe this is last chance saloon for Regal Encore, or maybe it is the real start of his hurdling career.
Let’s hope it is the latter and we can all be shouting Encore, Encore come 3.25pm.
Sunday 16th November – Best Bet
3.15pm Cheltenham – Regal Encore @ 10/1 with bet365