The Jewson Novices Chase maybe a brand new race to the schedule at the Cheltenham Festival this year but there will be no lack of quality with the excellent Captain Chris now heading the betting. The Philip Hobbs horse has jumped to the head of the betting following his win at Kempton over the weekend in the Pendil Novices Chase and he has to be taken into serious consideration. Captain Chris has spent most of the season in second place behind the likes of top Arkle contenders Ghizao and Medermit who are expected to be main players themselves over the shorter trip at the Festival. That appears to be rock solid form on the face of it and although his win at Kempton was against a weaker field, he jumped so well that it was hard not to be impressed by the performance of Captain Chris. Punters are also advised to watch Medermit and Ghizao closely in the Arkle, if either or both run well then Captain Chris will shorten further in the Jewson betting.
The Jewson Novices Chase falls in between the 2 mile Arkle Chase trip and the 3 mile RSA Chase at the Festival and initial fears that the quality would be diluted have so far been proven unfounded. The betting for all three races has been hugely competitive all season and although Captain Chris is the slight favourite with most firms at this stage there are a number of other contenders looking like good value at this stage. Paul Nolan in Ireland has a nice type on his hands this season with Noble Prince heading to the Jewson off of the back of a good season to date. He has been a game runner-up to Realt Dubh twice recently in Ireland over 2 miles and the extra trip should suit him down to the ground. Once again his chances could be given a big boost depending on how Realt Dubh runs in the Arkle Chase on day 1 at the Cheltenham Festival so punters are advised to watch that one closely. However Captain Chris does have to be the one to beat in the Jewson this year; and with the Cheltenham Festival only a matter of days away now he could become one of the stars of the meeting.