News that Warren Greatrex has confirmed crack amateur rider Jamie Codd to ride Tranquil Sea in the Kim Muir Chase at Cheltenham should have punters running to the bookies with ears pricked.
Lurking at the 20/1 mark and likely, as it stands, to shoulder a burden of some 11st 12lbs, the 12-year-old may not be one of the most fashionable horses in the ante-post conjecture.
Not that a big weight should worry potential backers unduly, as four of the last five winners came home with a saddle-full of 11st 6lbs or more.
In fact, class, as represented by official rating, has become sufficiently important that 10 of the 12 placed runners across the last three renewals held a mark within 6lbs of the top weight.
Furthermore the astute booking of Codd will be a boon to the chances of a horse who has previously tasted glory in one of the most fiercely-contested handicaps the Cotswolds course has to offer.
Codd has not one but two past triumphs in the Kim Muir to his name, landing the handicap for amateur riders on Character Building in 2009 and Junior in 2011.
The leading point-to-point rider has a past Prestbury Park victor with which to go to war this term.
It was under the stewardship of former trainer Edward O’Grady that Tranquil Sea ran away with the Paddy Power Gold Cup at Cheltenham’s Open meeting in 2009, beating course-lover Poquelin by over four lengths.
A season later he scooped the Grade 1 John Durkan Chase at Fairyhouse to confirm his class and was still up to scoring at Grade 2 level at Navan as recently as March 2012.
While a fallow period followed, a move to Greatrex’s Lambourn yard has belatedly worked the oracle, with the son of Sea Raven opening his account for his new trainer last time out.
It was no ordinary veterans chase either, as Tranquil Sea beat a field featuring past festival medallists Time For Rupert, Fruity O’Rooney, Son Of Flicka and Burton Port.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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