Lostintranslation is the new ante post favourite for the 2020 Cheltenham Gold Cup after impressively beating defending champion Bristol De Mai in the Grade 1 Betfair Chase at Haydock.
A brilliant winner of the valuable 3m prize in each of the past two seasons, the Nigel Twiston-Davies-trained Bristol De Mai was aiming to become the third three-times winner on Merseyside. He quickly adopted his usual front running role in the four-runner contest and has stable companion Ballyoptic and Frodon under pressure rounding the home turn.
However, halving raced six lengths off the pace in the hands of a confident Robbie Power, it was at this point that and Lostintranslation moved ominously into contention. The Colin Tizzard trained seven-year-old got in a bit tight at the last two obstacles, but then only had to be driven out on the long run-in and stayed on dourly to prevail by a comfortable 1 1/2 lengths.
Lostintranslation never put a foot wrong throughout and it was a performance which I thought oozed class and marked him out as something potentially very special and the one they all have to beat in the big one itself next March.
Paddy Power go a top priced 9/2 about this year’s JLT winner at the Cheltenham Festival following-up in the 2020 Cheltenham Gold Cup next March.
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King George VI Chase next in Triple Crown bid
He looks a worthy market leader at this stage and Tizzard was, not surprisingly, full of praise for Lostintranslation in his post race interview with Racing TV.
He said: “I’ve never had one jump better than this fella. He’s just a lovely horse and we make sure we look after him as they don’t come along very often.
“He’s immaculate at his fences – he makes the right shape. He just got in tight to the second last and was in a heap. Bristol De Mai might have even headed him. We didn’t know what he was going to find, but he kept going right to the line.
“He stays well and has got the pace for two miles. He’s got everything in front of him.”
Next on the agenda for Lostintranslation is the King George VI Chase at Kempton on Boxing Day, for which he is now 3/1 second favourite with William Hill.
If he wins that and goes on to capture the Cheltenham Gold Cup then he will have completed the Jockey Club Chase Triple Crown which yields a £1 million bonus.
Cyrname takes the scalp of Altior in thrilling Christy 1965 Chase
In a race dubbed “The Clash Of The Titans”, Altior suffered his first defeat over jumps as Cyrname ran out a brilliant all-the-way winner in the 2m 5f Christy 1965 Chase at Ascot.
Unbeaten in 19 previous starts over hurdles and fences combined, Nicky Henderson’s dual Queen Mother Champion Chase hero and four-time Cheltenham Festival hero Altior was all the rage to make it 20 wins on the spin.
He was backed as id defeat was out of the question, going off the 1/3 favourite having been available to back at 8/11 earlier in the morning.
However, it was never going to be as easy as those odds suggested racing beyond 2m 2f for the first time and taking on the the Paul Nicholls trained Cyrname who ended last season as the highest-rated chaser in Britain – 1lb above Altior – following two wide-margin wins over course and distance.
With the only other runner Solomon Grey never a factor, it was a two-horse race from the off and panned out exactly as expected with Cyrname blazing a trail under Harry Cobden and Altior stalking him under regular pilot Nico de Boinville.
Cyrname was far more slicker at the obstacles than Altior, but turning for home there was only a couple of length to separate the pair.
When De Boinville then asked Altior to go get the leader it was quickly clear that he wasn’t going to bridge the gap and after a flying leap at the last Cyrname registered a fully deserved 2 1/2 length winner success.
Boxing Day rematch still on the cards
He was by far the best horse on the day and Nicholls told Sky Sports Racing: “I’m very proud of him and the whole team, who have played a big part in getting him right and getting him mentally right. He was very nearly unmanageable at home and on the course, then all of a sudden the penny dropped.
“He started to believe in us and mature. Now we’ve got a horse who is the finished article. “He’s a huge horse and big horses like that do need time. He was trying to do everything on one breath at one time, but there’s a great saying ‘Rome wasn’t built in a day’, and he’s a great example of that.”
Paddy Power cut Cyrname to 5-2 favourite from 9-2 for the King George VI Chase at Kempton on Boxing Day.
Henderson still has that 3m Grade 1 in mind for Altior, whom he reports to have come out of the race fine, despite many feeling that he failed to stay at Ascot.
I don’t think that stamina was ultimately the issue. He got tired on sticky ground but still stuck to the task gamely. In hindsight, taking on a course specialist like Cyrname was akin to taking on a champion boxer in his back garden.
Henderson said after the race that on “different ground on a different day, you might get a different result,” and that could well prove to be the vase come the King George got which he is he can now be backed at a tempting 7/1 with Paddy Power – double the price he was going into the Ascot race.