Matt Brocklebank feels Cyrname is set to take the staying chase scene by storm this season and recommends a way in which to back him at 25/1 to do just that.
Racing betting tips: King George VI Chase, December 26
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Shishkin being cut to 7/4 (as short as 5/4 in places) for the Sporting Life Arkle after winning his first start over fences couldn’t help but get the antepost juices flowing.
I must admit to pulling a bit of a face at the fact last year’s Sky Bet Supreme Novices’ Hurdle winner was already 5/2 before this week’s Kempton cakewalk, but fully respect the widely held opinion that ‘you wouldn’t want to be laying him at much bigger, would you?’.
The two-mile novice chase division doesn’t appear especially hot this time around and could even have become a bit cooler – behind the scenes at least – as connections of possible Arkle contenders in other yards quietly begin to plot their route towards alternative spring targets having witnessed Shishkin's round of jumping.
With Envoi Allen casting an equally significant shadow over the Marsh Novices’ Chase at the intermediate trip at Cheltenham, I'd argue Shishkin will in fact end up with some serious competition and doesn’t represent anything in the way of value at his current price, even if everything goes swimmingly between now and the second race of the Festival.
I wouldn’t want to bank on it, though, and thankfully I’m not in a position where I have to lay Shishkin, or any horse for that matter.
As a punter, it’s really important to pick your battles and not wanting to go near the Arkle market at all naturally got me searching through some of the other long-range lists and the fact CYRNAME – the highest-rated horse in training – is currently 16/1 for the Cheltenham Gold Cup looks odd.
The perception around Cyrname wanting no further than two miles, five furlongs, and needing a right-handed track to be seen anywhere near his best, gained momentum as he went through the grades in early 2019 and received a couple of notable boosts last season when beating Altior at Ascot (2m5f) and being thrashed 21 lengths by stablemate Clan Des Obeaux in the King George at Kempton.
But last month at Wetherby new evidence emerged for all to see and I’m far from convinced the layers have reacted accordingly following his relatively relaxed and ultimately very impressive Charlie Hall Chase victory.
On a left-handed course for the first time since his novice days, Cyrname travelled and jumped impeccably – and straight as an arrow to boot – before cruising to an eased-down, two-length victory over Vinndication.
With Vinndication, as well as third home Aye Right, near the head of the market for the Ladbrokes Trophy at Newbury, the Wetherby form is going come under close scrutiny this weekend, though we hardly need further confirmation that Cyrname is a genuine 176-horse. And he’s clearly right back to his best, if not better than ever.
His preparation heading into this year’s King George on Boxing Day is poles apart from last year when putting his heart on the line in an epic battle against Altior, and it appears Kempton market rival Clan Des Obeaux could potentially have fallen into that very trap after trying to go toe-to-toe with Bristol De Mai on his favourite patch in Saturday’s Betfair Chase.
Cyrname is officially a better chaser than Clan Des Obeaux (171) and while the latter seems perfectly suited to the nature of the Kempton test, so too should Cyrname, who was 5/4 favourite last year before performing well below expectations.
He looks a very sound bet at 5/2, especially with Haydock flop Lostintranslation (8/1) and Monalee (12/1) directly behind the Nicholls pair in the betting, but this column doesn’t exist to recommend lumpy bets around that price so it’s worth exploring how bookmakers might react to Cyrname winning at Kempton.
He’d be cut for the Ryanair Chase – that’s almost guaranteed – and the 26.0 on the Betfair Exchange would be a fair position from which to trade, but this is Nicholls we're talking about and he’s already stated Clan Des Obeaux won’t be running at Cheltenham at all this campaign.
“Next season, he will be trained for the King George and Gold Cup." That was the trainer's quote when ruling his then rising star Cyrname out of the following month’s Festival in February 2019, and circumstances clearly transpired against him.
But it's pretty obvious the Charlie Hall performance has brought that plan firmly back into Nicholls’ reckoning, and if he goes and delivers at Kempton in the style I’d expect him to, I’ve little doubt he’ll be heading straight for the Gold Cup in March. Crucially, he’d also have to be pushing Al Boum Photo pretty close right at the top of the market.
The 16/1 on offer now is big but if he’s finally going to realise the Cheltenham dream then Kempton will have to go sweetly for him first and Sky Bet, Hills and bet365 all offer 25s about the related win double.
It’s not a bet I’d want to get into the habit of recommending, but allowances can be made if the price provides enough compensation, and the current circumstances appear exceptionally favourable to take a pre-Christmas flier on Cyrname becoming the undoubted, outstanding staying chaser of the season.
Posted at 1400 GMT on 25/11/20
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