Of the 40 horses included in the latest entry list for the Cheltenham Gold Cup, Mail De Bievre is certainly one of the most interesting and revelations from trainer Tom George suggest that 66/1 may well prove a steal of an each-way price.
Judging the field based on official ratings, Finian’s Rainbow is the best horse set to take part from a mark of 173, which is just ahead of King George winner Long Run and leading Paul Nicholls hope Silviniaco Conti.
Given that Mail De Bievre has only ever run in France, he has not been allocated an official rating by the handicapper on these shores, but his previous form indicates that he has a big chance.
George said: “His form in France is the best. I asked the handicapper just out of interest what his mark would be and they said as his last mark in France was 175, they would now rate him 160 due to the time he has been off the track.
“That’s the sort of horse we are talking about. He is a very exciting horse to have in the yard.”
But it is the handful of unknowns about the horse that may put off punters.
Firstly, there is the French form and the fact little is known about any of the horses that Mail De Bievre has beaten.
Secondly, he has not won over a distance greater than 2m6f, so his stamina is still taken on trust, even if these victories arrived on particularly heavy ground.
Thirdly, and perhaps most importantly, he has only raced once since winning the Grade Two Prix Murat at Auteuil in April 2010, which was when beaten in a hurdles race the following year at the same course.
George believes that the work Mail De Bievre has shown at home implies that he has overcome his injury problems and plans are on track to take part in the Cheltenham Gold Cup.
It is hoped that the eight-year-old can have one run first, which is scheduled to be in the Denman Chase at Newbury, where Long Run may well be among the opposition.
This should give a better indication as to what sort of form Mail De Bievre is in, but if he runs with any sort of promise, don’t expect the 66/1 to still be around.
All odds and markets accurate as of publication’s time and date