Upswing primed for Kim Muir Challenge
David Metcalf | March 16, 2016
Upswing has plenty going for him in Kim Muir
Upswing has some strong form to his name and looks decent value to land the Kim Muir Challenge Cup Handicap Chase at the Cheltenham Festival (17.30).
The Jonjo O’Neill trained eight-year-old was a useful staying hurdler and prior to being pulled-up last time out in the Coral Welsh Grand National at Chepstow had shown progressive form in four starts over fences.
After opening his account in good style at Worcester when scoring easily by eight lengths, Upswing posted a career-best performance on his penultimate outing when chasing home Sausolito Sunrise in a competitive 17-runner contest at this venue.
The gelding was held-up at the rear by jockey Barry Geraghty before making stealthy headway three from home and staying on strongly after the last to go down by just 1 1/4 lengths.
Form of Cheltenham run very strong
Sausolito Sunrise, from whom Upswing was receiving just 5lb, has also gone on to land a valuable handicap chase at Ascot and is now rated 163.
That gives the form a strong look and suggests that Upswing is ahead of the assessor and potentially very well-treated off a mark of 139.
Connections have also resisted the temptation to run the son of Beneficial since the Welsh National, presumably as they believe Upswing is well handicapped and want to protect his mark, and O’Neill has no peers at getting one spot on for the big day.
Cause Of Causes a big danger
Cause Of Causes, who is also owned by McManus, has a good record at the Festival and looks a huge player.
The Gordon Elliott trained gelding finished runner-up in the 2014 running of this contest, where he arguably would have won had he not made a mistake at the last, and went one better to land the spoils in the 4m National Hunt Chase at this meeting 12 months ago.
Cause Of Causes has failed to trouble the judge in three starts this season, but that has resulted in a drop in the weights.
The eight-year-old is now 4lb lower than when last successful, and that gives him major claims from a handicapping perspective.
Cause Of Causes has also clearly been campaigned all season with this meeting in mind, and with crack amateur Jamie Codd in the saddle looks sure to go well.