Nov 23, 2016 -- 2:44PM, Can't Catch Me wrote:
When was the last time Saphir du Rheu ran a race that made you think you'd just seen the Hennessy winner
I'd say his last run myself, thought he shaped excellently for a reappearance effort.
I'm with Sintonian here. I don't think I've ever backed Saphir Du Rheu before but I do think he has a really strong chance off a good mark today. I don't think ground is all that much of an issue for him but as last years Hennessy was in soft conditions and that mark he had of 163 would have been ridiculously tough to carry in soft ground, I'm glad to see some good in the description this year.
He's clearly a horse with enough class to win a race like this. I've been a big critic of him in the past myself and I'll be the first to admit it's hard to argue against the notion that he's been a talking horse rather than an action horse thus far, but I am starting to get the impression that he'd been hyped up a bit too much and everyone expected too much at too young an age (Gold Cup/Big Bucks standard). His win at Aintree in the Mildmay was his best performance over fences - even if he didn't beat a lot that isn't so much the issue, he jumped so well that day and was in a fine rhythm and he's also beaten solid hurdlers like Reve De Sivola and Whisper as well as running second in a World Hurdle. Class isn't the issue.
He's not the fastest horse by any stretch, he looked outpaced at Ascot on the turn for home but he wasn't stopping at the line. We also know he can go the Hennessy gallop as he was bang there until 2 out last year. Personally think a galloping left handed track, the trip, the ground, the handicap mark and that he now has more experience over fences all stands him in good stead to take this race. It's crazy he's still only 7 as it feels like he's been around forever but then improvement is definitely still possible, although you do get the impression this season is do or die time for him. Time to step up but I'd be surprised if he never took at least one big handicap pot like this at some point in his career, be it here or in a good festival handicap.
He shouldn't be any bigger than Native River in my opinion.