Had Time For Rupert ran in Cheltenham’s Argento Chase last Saturday, we may well have been talking about him as a potential Cheltenham Gold Cup winner.
Time For Rupert was expected to be a contender in last Saturday’s Argento Chase having won both of his starts over fences this season, both coming at Cheltenham, but a low-grade infection ruled the horse out of the Cheltenham race.
The 9/4 favourite for the RSA Chase missed the opportunity to test himself outside of novice company and as a result, trainer Paul Webber will target his seven-year-old at the RSA Chase instead of the Cheltenham Gold Cup.
Webber was quick to ease any fears surrounding the fitness of his star chaser and said: “He’ll be okay to resume cantering on Friday – it’s basically just been a quiet week for him.”
“And there are still five weeks to go until the Festival.”
Five straight Cheltenham runs has put Time For Rupert into the ‘Cheltenham specialist’ bracket, alongside 2010 Gold Cup winner Imperial Commander, 2011 Gold Cup contender Midnight Chase (16/1 to win the Gold Cup) and Menorah (5/1 to win the Champion Hurdle).
Course knowledge is a must for horses looking to win at the Cheltenham Festival and it’s no surprise that previous winners around the undulating course go on to Festival success.
With three wins at Cheltenham and two second-places from his last five starts, Time For Rupert is certainly one for punters to watch at the Festival and his ante post odds for the RSA Chase could turn out to be the value of the Festival.
His nearest rivals in the RSA Chase betting are Quel Esprit, Aiteen Thirtythree and Jessies Dream, who are all priced at a distant 12/1, and Time For Rupert is attracting all of the support in the betting.