Benefficient bounces back into Ryanair reckoning with victory
It was third time lucky for Benefficient as he put a brace of disappointing 2013/14 runs behind him to take the Grade 1 Paddy Power Dial-A-Bet Chase at Leopardstown.
The eight-year-old had finished outside the places on all three of his runs since winning the Jewson Novices Chase for delighted connections at the 2013 Cheltenham Festival.
He put that record to bed in impressive fashion over the festive period when gunning down Paddy Power Gold Cup third Hidden Cyclone over 2m1f.
Though Benefficient only took the laurels by a margin of a couple of lengths, the fact that he had the zip to score over 3f less than 2m4f trip shared by the Jewson and the Ryanair Chase made his win all the more impressive.
As a result he’s now occupying the upper reaches of the Ryanair odds, despite holding the Cheltenham Gold Cup as an alternative engagement.
Backable at 50/1 for the latter festival test, he came home a distant 36l fourth to Harry Topper in the 3m1f Charlie Hall Chase on his penultimate outing.
However speaking to the Racing Post in the wake of his charge’s restorative Leopardstown success Tony Martin suggested that he regretted running Benefficient at Wetherby, having worked him too hard in the build up.
Nonetheless Cheltenham represents a test so demanding that it’s wise to ensure your fancy has stayed further than the trip they’ll be facing at the festival.
That needn’t put anyone off backing Benefficient however, for while he’s yet to win over 3m or further he came a one-and-a-half length second to Harry Topper in novice company last term.
As such he has the ideal mix of speed and staying power for an assault on the Ryanair.
Having posted wins on all going from heavy to good-to-soft he’s unlikely to be inconvenienced by the ground come March and has to rate a solid each-way proposition, especially given last year’s winner Cue Card may have his sights set elsewhere.