King delighted with Bensalem form

Alan King has put Bensalem through his final piece of work prior to attempting to justify favouritism in the Stewart Family Spinal Research Handicap Chase on the opening day of the forthcoming Cheltenham Festival, as he switches back to the larger obstacles having been campaigned over hurdles so far this term, writes Elliot Slater.

One of the market leaders when tackling the same race 12 months ago, Bensalem was still travelling well and looked set to be very much involved in the finish only to come to grief at the second last fence in the race eventually won by 33/1 shot Chief Dan George, having finished a good second to Diamond Harry (winner of this season’s Hennessy gold Cup) on his previous outing.

Soon recovered from his Cheltenham tumble, the Turtle Island gelding went to the Punchestown Festival and switched back to hurdles, running a great race to make the high-class mare Quevega pull out all the stops in finishing second in the Grade 1 Ladbrokes .com World Series Hurdle. That effort clearly encouraged connections that Bensalem could make the top grade over timber and he started out this term finishing fifth in the Cleeve Hurdle (behind Grand Crus) on his belated seasonal reappearance in January. The horse racing betting now suggests he is set to live up to expectations.

Expected to take all the beating at Haydock recently in the Grade 2 Rendlesham Hurdle, Bensalem came undone in the hock deep ground and could only finish second to the brave Cross Kennon. After thinking things through, King and Bensalem’s owners Alan Marsh and John Duggan have decided to return their charge to chasing and he schooled in great style recently before doing a fine two-mile gallop alongside useful stable companion Oh Crick at the weekend on the Barbury Castle training grounds.

Bensalem is available in places at 6/1 favourite for the Cheltenham contest, whilst Sunnyhillboy is offered at 8/1, Great Endeavour 17/2, and it’s 14/1 bar.


Michael Wilding

Michael started the Race Advisor in 2009 to help bettors become long-term profitable. After writing hundreds of articles I started to build software that contained my personal ratings. The Race Advisor has more factors for UK horse racing than any other site, and we pride ourselves on creating tools and strategies that are unique, and allow you to make a long-term profit without the need for tipsters. You can also check out my personal blog or my personal Instagram account.
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