Charlie Hall Chase Tips: Ahoy Senor to boost Cheltenham Gold Cup chances with Wetherby win

Cheltenham Gold Cup clues are on offer at Wetherby in the Charlie Hall Chase
Cheltenham Gold Cup clues are on offer at Wetherby in the Charlie Hall Chase

The road to the Cheltenham Gold Cup will click up a notch on Saturday as the Grade 2 Charlie Hall Chase will attract a strong field to Wetherby with some of the leading protagonists looking to kick off their Jumps campaign on a winning note. We preview the race here and focus on its importance in terms of a leading Cheltenham Gold Cup trial...

Several winners of the Charlie Hall Chase have been seen competing in the Cheltenham Gold Cup later on in the season, but have all failed to reign supreme in the Cheltenham Festival blue riband event, so the Lucinda Russell-trained AHOY SENOR will look to manage that feat this year and the Aintree Grade 1 winner is a 9/4 second favourite to land the Grade 2 event on Saturday afternoon. Currently, a best-priced 10/1 shot for the 2023 Cheltenham Gold Cup, Ahoy Senor showed his class around Cheltenham when finishing a fine second to L'Homme Presse in the Brown Advisory Novices' Chase.

However, he improved immeasurably from that Cheltenham run when storming to victory in the Grade 1 Mildmay Novices' Chase at Aintree a few weeks later, and in that event he downed a certain Bravemansgame, who he will do battle again on Saturday, but the Paul Nicholls-trained raider is the 6/4 market leader to turn the tables here.

As big as 33/1 for the Cheltenham Gold Cup, Bravemansgame could well veer away from a trip to the Cheltenham Festival and wait for Aintree, but he showed prior to that Mildmay flop that he was a top class performer when carrying a huge weight to victory in a handicap contest and he has shaped like he could be a real Graded performer.

The Nicholls team have a fine record in the Charlie Hall with the likes of See More Business, Silviniaco Conti and Cyrname all claiming victory in the Grade 2 event, and Bravemansgame is well fancied to etch his name alongside those greats of the staying chasing world, but at 5/4 he looks awfully short.

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With the Irish dominating the Cheltenham Gold Cup in recent times, the UK will be hoping that a star can emerge from this contest, and while the aforementioned L'Homme Presse is sure to be a leading contender for the home team at Cheltenham, a big win here for Ahoy Senor will see him cement his Gold Cup spot. If he can replicate that Aintree run then it's hard to not see him outstaying Bravemansgame, but we are set for an epic duel which is one of the early season treats this National Hunt campaign.

Seven have been declared for the 3m 45y event, so it's not all about Ahoy Senor and Bravemansgame, and the Joe Tizzard-trained Eldorado Allen is a classy performer on his day and at 5/1 has to be respected. It could be that he's more of a Ryanair Chase candidate (currently 33/1 shot) but he showed when winning the Haldon Gold Cup last season on his comeback run that he is a classy performer and he has to be respected.

The Nicholls team will be doubly represented with Secret Investor making his long-anticipated return to the track having not been on the turf since February 2021, and that 14/1 shot is a fascinating contender, as he was last seen winning the Grade 2 Denman Chase at Newbury.

Of the others, Christian Williams could well have big Grand National plans for Win My Wings, who scooted to Scottish Grand National glory at Ayr, and ultimately this event could just be used to blow the cobwebs off him at a shorter trip than ideal (18/1), while Aintree Grade 3 handicap chase winner Sam Brown (20/1) and Greatwood Gold Cup hero Paint The Dream (40/1) complete the septet in a race that can be fought out by those at the head of the betting.

Charlie Hall Chase
Ahoy Senor silk

Ahoy Senor

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