Cheltenham: Harbour Court on song for glory in Foxhunter Chase

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The Foxhunter Chase has a wide open feel about it without the presence of Salsify, winner of the last two renewals, but in the absence of Roger Sweeney’s nine-year-old, Harbour Court has some impressive claims of his own.

It’s well known that veterans tend to be outshone by the upstarts in the amateur’s Gold Cup and fitting the age profile and many other telling trends like a glove is 9/2 second-favourite.

Alan Hill’s eight-year-old is in great shape, bearing in mind that this extended 3m2f trip has been won by horses aged seven to nine on 10 of the last 15 occasions.

But it’s not only a question of age, as Harbour Court ran out an impressive winner over 3m1f around the Prestbury Park course back in May.

Form at this testing track cannot be underestimated, while 10/10 Foxhunter champions have scored over 3m in the same season.

Like the ground at this year’s Cheltenham Festival, the turf was good that day which only serves to plump up the chances of Hill’s leading hope for this race.

Evidence that this trip will be snapped up arrived in a follow-up win under hands and heels over 3m4f at Stratford in the Champion Novices’ Hunters’ Chase in June.

Staying power can be ticked as well then, while only a badly hampered unseating at the first at Kelso last month prevented seamless progression ahead of the Festival.

Impressively, Hill has saddled three chase winners from seven runners at Cheltenham and in opting to give the talented James Tudor the leg-up, his Oxfordshire-based yard have the best hope of another in the sequel to the Gold Cup.

The gelding has been afforded the perfect amount of exposure this season too, as no previous winner of the last 10 races had run more than three times under rules, ahead of the Foxhunters.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Christian Crowther

Give Christian a sport with anything remotely spherical in it and he’ll happily while away the hours watching it on the box. However, he’d much prefer writing about, playing or betting on golf, football, cricket, tennis, snooker.... you get the picture.