The cookie has stubbornly refused to crumble correctly for two-time thwarted Cheltenham Festival fancy Boston Bob, but a step down in trip is trusted to work the oracle in the Ryanair Chase at a price of 9/1.
Willie Mullins’ gelding had been a huge talking-horse for some time when he was narrowly outstayed as favourite for the 2012 Albert Bartlett, finding only Brindisi Breeze too good.
The gallant son of Bob Back had even worse luck when returning to the March meeting the following year, crashing out at the last when heading the RSA chase field.
On both occasions the nine-year-old’s stamina reserves seemed to give out just as the race reached it’s decisive point.
For this reason the step down in trip for the 2m5f Ryanair Chase should be just the tonic and it’s taken to see him land his first festival win.
Boston Bob has raced six times over trips between 2m4f and 2m5f under rules without tasting defeat, including when beating subsequent RSA Chase-conqueror Lord Windermere in the Dr PJ Moriarty Chase at Leopardstown last term.
The most recent addition to that 2m4f victory sextet was achieved over hurdles on heavy ground this season.
Not that his ability to handle better conditions is in doubt, with his Albert Bartlett-second coming on good going.
Mullins had his chaser pointed at a bid for the World Hurdle at that stage, but the form of Annie Power has led to a re-casting of his festival aim which could prove most fortuitous.
Unlucky not to be a two-time victor at March’s jump-racing bonanza, Boston Bob also represents a trainer and jockey with impeccable recent festival form.
Ruby Walsh and Closutton trainer Mullins topped their respective tables at last year’s shindig and are leading matters once more with three winners, each achieved in tandem, already this term.
An unbeaten record at the trip and a proven festival performer for the most proven of connections, why he’s 9/1 is anyone’s guess.