The Big Question – Which grey will come out on top in the Ryanair?
Last year’s Jewson Novices’ Chase (newly named JLT Novices’ Chase) runner-up – Dynaste looked a smart prospect in his first season over fences. He claimed an impressive trio of victories and, although he failed to succeed at the Festival, he signed off with a revitalised performance to win at Aintree.
Returning to action in the Betfair Chase, he put in a bold performance and finished only four lengths behind Cue Card. The winner had had the benefit of an outing and the Pipe team were adamant that their horse would come on a good bit for the run.
He was then stepped up in trip for the King George VI Chase but unfortunately disappointed finishing a very distant fifth. Returning back to 2m5f could well see the horse back to his best and connections are justifiably excited.
Similarly, Al Ferof showed good form over 2m5f at Cheltenham when winning the Paddy Power Gold Cup in 2012 off top weight (11-8). His season was prematurely curtailed due to injury and he returned in November where he comfortably took care of his only rival in the Amlin Chase at Ascot.
He too was stepped up in trip and contested the King George at Kempton. After putting in an average round of jumping he finished some 14 and half lengths behind his stablemate, and eventual winner, Silviniaco Conti.
After another disappointing attempt at 3m (where he failed to get within 20 lengths of Harry Topper a rival rated on the day 13lbs inferior to him) connections switched him back to this shorter trip.
Both these greys will be looking to salvage their seasons and with Coral pricing each horse at 7/2, on the face of it, they seem very difficult to choose between.
Dynaste has always been a horse of great promise (finishing within seven lengths of Big Buck’s over hurdles) and took to fences very well (hit a peak official rating of 161 as a novice). Although he is yet to show his true colours this season, he has plenty of latent ability.
Even though Al Ferof finished comfortably ahead of his rival grey on Boxing Day, his latest performance at Newbury wasn’t particularly inspiring. He got into the bottom of a number of the fences and was quickly out-sprinted in the home straight against inferior opposition.
At odds of 4/1 the pair, Dynaste looks the more likely to contest the victory. He has had a good break since Kempton and will have been freshened up at home ready for this contest. His style of racing appeals and, of the two, Dynaste must be the grey to back!