A casual glance at the Crabbie’s Topham Chase and you could be forgiven for thinking it was the Grand National itself such is the endless list of horses and double figure quotes adjacent to almost every name.
And aside from the obvious differences the two contests do share a defining similarity; the fiendishly difficult make-up that bills it as one of the hardest assignments for punters as they attempt to find the needle to prick the saddle bags of the bookies.
The glass in the Nigel Twiston-Davies camp will be half full after The New One landed the odds on Thursday and they will be hoping of having the chance of securing a high-profile double with current favourite Double Ross, 8/1.
Only one of the last ten winners have been sent off favourite and a pound on each one of them over the last decade would have left you six big ones in the red.
All is not lost, however, as over the past ten years some sense and patterns have emerged from the madness to aid the quest for a winner.
Firstly the fortunes of the Byrne Group Plate appear to be linked to the Topham. Three of the last 10 winners of the contest have finished in the first four of the Festival handicap and that highlights the Richard Rowe-trained Tatenen.
Currently 20/1, the 10-year-old who carries the colours of Big Buck’s and The Stewart Family, came third to Ballynagour in the race last month and cannot be discounted.
There is also a familiar face from the training ranks that has prospered in the race.
Willie Mullins won the race back in 2002 for the only time but still holds an impressive record with five of his last eight runners since 2004 making the money, all boding well for his sole representative Bishopsfurze, presently trading at 25/1.
Unfortunately patterns and trends are just that but at least it thins out the hay a little.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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