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"It’s odds against he runs at Haydock" - Betfair Chase unlikely for A Plus Tard

jon-vine
10 Nov 2023
jon-vine
Jon Vine 10 Nov 2023
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  • Key quotes from top Irish trainer Henry De Bromhead
  • A Plus Tard won't be returning to Haydock for the Betfair Chase
  • Protektorat is the even-money favourite for the 2023 Betfair Chase
a pus tard
Jockey Rachael Blackmore celebrates on horse 'A Plus Tard' after winning the Cheltenham Gold Cup Chase. (Getty)

A return to the Betfair Chase is unlikely for A Plus Tard, according to trainer Henry De Bromhead.

A Plus Tard ran out a hugely impressive winner of the Betfair Chase in 2021. After a narrow defeat at Leopardstown after Christmas, De Bromhead's star ended that season by claiming victory in National Hunt racing's most famous race, scoring under Rachael Blackmore in the Cheltenham Gold Cup.

Last season, A Plus Tard again kicked off his season with a trip to Haydock. Sadly, the defending champion suffered an injury as he was pulled up behind Protektorat. Rachael Blackmore was forced to pull her mount up again in the Gold Cup at Cheltenham before A Plus Tard completed a disappointing campaign with a distant third behind Shishkin in the Aintree Bowl.

Despite many suggesting that A Plus Tard should have been retired after that outing at Aintree, De Bromhead plans to bring his star back to the track this season. A third outing in the Betfair Chase isn't on the agenda, though, as De Bromhead explained to RTE.

"I think it’s odds against he runs at Haydock, but he’ll be out soon I think." De Bromhead said. "I’m told he’s in good form and we’re looking forward to seeing how he runs."

"He’s had a few issues, as everyone knows. I think those are sorted now, hopefully, and he’ll be out soon, but the Betfair Chase may be a bit of a stretch for him as it’s only two weeks away."

Protektorat is currently the even-money favourite with Boylesports to retain his crown in the Betfair Chase. Shishkin sits second in the market, with L'Homme Presse and Bravemansgame - who could still make an appearance at Haydock, despite his recent defeat in the Charlie Hall Chase - third and fourth in the betting.

A Plus Tard, meanwhile, will likely have his sights lowered to Grade Two or Three level for his reappearance, according to Cheveley Park Stud's racing manager, Richard Thompson.

"I would have thought that (dropping down in class) will be the plan more than the Betfair Chase. Henry will make the plan, but I get the flavour that he may go that route." Thompson said.

"There’s no pressure. He’s a Gold Cup winner and a Betfair Chase winner and has given us four Grade Ones – he’s given us some fantastic days."

The New Years Day Chase or the Horse & Jockey Hotel Chase, both held at Thurles in January, could be options for A Plus Tard. De Bromhead has been reluctant to run his star around right-handed tracks in the past, though, so British races like the Many Clouds Chase at Aintree or the Cotswold Chase at Cheltenham seem like more realistic options.

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