Cheltenham: Hourigan improver just the job in the four-miler

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The decision to race Willie Mullins’ Don Poli in Wednesday’s RSA Chase at Cheltenham, coupled with the fact that owners Gigginstown House Stud’s plans are more changeable than first thought, has left Tuesday’s National Hunt Chase as one of the Festival’s pin-stickers.

Noel Meade’s Very Wood was also earmarked for the RSA, yet the winner of last year’s Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle heads the betting for the four-miler at 3/1, displacing the veteran trainer’s other expected runner Wounded Warrior, who was attracting 4/1 odds but now looks far from certain to go at Cheltenham.

Alan King’s Sego Success remains prominent in the betting at 4/1 and could go off quite a bit shorter given he fits the current trend of a last-time-out victory, which the past three National Hunt Chase winners also went into the race with.

However, at a slightly chunkier price of 7/1 a chance is taken on Michael Hourigan’s improving seven-year-old The Job Is Right, who, like 2011 victor Chicago Grey, will go into Cheltenham having finished fifth in his last outing.

That was enough to beat Mullins’ Back In Focus, winner of the four-miler in 2013, by two lengths, and the run will have given the Hourigan team huge encouragement after The Job Is Right fell at the last, when heading for second behind Djakadam, in January’s Thyestes Chase at Gowran Park.

Nobody could credibly call the Limerick-based trainer a Cheltenham expert, particularly after Beef Or Salmon’s travails around Prestbury Park in the early noughties, but Hourigan has picked up a few trinkets from the Cotswolds over the years.

Dorans Pride took the World Hurdle in 1995, Mossbank chased home Our Vic for second in the 2008 RSA Chase and, most importantly for this bet,  Deejaydee landed 13/2 National Hunt Chase odds in 1999 despite finishing fourth of fifth runners in his immediately prior engagement.

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

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