Knight careful on Somersby Cheltenham preperation

Somersby is a leading Cheltenham betting contender for the Ryanair Chase and the big dilemma now facing trainer Henrietta Knight is where to give the horse his final warm-up run.

The seven-year-old is yet to race over the 2m5f, the distance of the Ryanair Chase at the Cheltenham Festival, and this is something that is slightly concerning for Knight.

Somersby has not run over further than two miles since last spring and the options open to him are the Victor Chandler Chase at Ascot this weekend or a chase at Kempton next month.

At present, ante-post betting odds have Somersby at 6/1 to beat a field including Master Minded at Ascot and 10/1 to win the Ryanair Chase.

Knight told At The Races: “If Ascot was over 2m3f it would have been perfect because the timing is right and the horse is very well.

“He did a very good gallop last week and he’s very fit. He does just keep galloping. When they get older, they get slower and they probably stay longer distances.”

Looking ahead to the Cheltenham Festival, Somersby’s decent record at the track makes him a strong each-way prospect for the Ryanair Chase.

In three previous runs at Cheltenham, Somersby has never finished outside of the first three, including when second behind Sizing Europe in the Independent Arkle Chase at the Festival last year.

Furthermore, Somersby has never been out of the first three in his six career starts over fences and just once in his 12 overall racecourse appearances.

The one thing against him in the Ryanair Chase is that a seven-year-old has never triumphed and five of the six winners have been at least eight.

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