Cheltenham Festival 2016
Published: 13:51 14/01/2012
Despite winning the williamhill.com Novice Chase at Kempton today the Philip Hobbs trained Menorah has been pushed out in the betting for the Arkle Chase at this year's Cheltenham Festival.
With Alasi unseating Dominic Elsworth at the eighth, Menorah the 4-7 favourite was left with the Alan King-trained Kumbeshwar to beat and he went past his front-running rival with six to jump.However, he was far from convincing at the fences and, as wasthe case at Taunton last time, he blundered late on when in the lead - this time at the second last - although he had seen off the challenge of Kumbeshwar by that point and won by three and three quarter lengths.
Bookies were largely unimpressed with the performance from the 4-7 favourite with both Ladbrokes and William Hill easing him in the betting for the Irish Independent-sponsored contest at the Cheltenham Festival, with Hills now offering a best price of 16-1 (from 14-1). The seven year old has now won twice from three starts over fences but his jumping will have to improve if he is to have any chance in the Arkle.
Winning trainer Philip Hobbs admitted: "He was careful at one or two and jumped a bit left early on but the second-last fence was the only real mistake. Hobbs is still hopeful of his Cheltenham Festival prospects however and added "Overall we are happier but we probably need a bit more practice. One thing that will help in the Arkle is a stronger pace and he did get beaten a couple of times over hurdles when he had to make the running."
Sprinter Sacre remains the strong favourite for the Irish Independent Arkle Trophy and is currently best odds of 5/2 with Paddy Power , Bet365 and Sportingbet .