It looks like Albertas Run is Gold Cup bound following his excellent run in the King George behind Kauto Star. Mick Meagher, racing manager to Trevor Hemmings, confirmed today that Albertas Run may take his chance in the 100,000 Grade Two Letheby & Christopher Chase, run over an extended three miles and a furlong at Cheltenham on Festival Trials Day, Saturday, January 24, 2009 on his way to the Gold Cup.
The eight-year-old gelding enjoyed a fantastic first campaign over fences last season, scoring in both the Grade Two Reynoldstown Novices Chase at Ascot and the Grade One RSA Chase at The Festival.
After beginning this season with two disappointing efforts on ground softer than ideal, the Jonjo ONeill-trained chaser bounced back to form in the Grade One King George VI Chase at Kempton Park on Boxing Day, coming home the eight-length second to 2007 totesport Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Kauto Star.
Meagher said: "Weve had a look at the Letheby & Christopher Chase and the race is a definite possibility for Albertas Run at the moment. He will also probably be entered in the AON Chase at Newbury and he will run where the ground is better. "Hes fine at the moment and seems to have come out of his run in the King George in good order. I was delighted with his performance there and it was great to see him back doing what he should be doing.
"We had an excuse for his poor run in the Hennessy because the ground was too soft for him but we werent fully certain that the going was the whole problem. He jumped far better at Kempton and hes much more effective on a decent surface. "The totesport Cheltenham Gold Cup is the obvious aim afterwards. Hes won twice at Cheltenham so far in his career and he would go into that race as a live outsider. We have to take on the likes of Denman and Kauto Star otherwise it would just be a two horse race."
The Letheby & Christopher Chase is an excellent pointer to Festival glory with past winners including See More Business. The Paul Nicholls-trained star landed the spoils in 1998 and was third to Cyfor Malta in 1999, the year of his totesport Cheltenham Gold Cup triumph. He scored a second victory in the race in 2001.
The Noel Chance-trained Looks Like Trouble in 2000 and the Kim Bailey-trained Master Oats in 1995 both triumphed in the Letheby & Christopher Chase en route to totesport Cheltenham Gold Cup glory the same year. Last season, Our Vic was runner-up to Knowhere in the Letheby & Christopher Chase and the David Pipe-trained chaser returned to Cheltenham to triumph in the Grade One Ryanair Chase at The Festival, while Neptune Collognes finished third for Paul Nicholls prior to filling the same position behind stablemates Denman and Kauto Star in the totesport Cheltenham Gold Cup