Russell retains Gold Cup hopes

06 February 2013 05:05:56 EST
Tidal Bay easily beat Sir Des Champs in the Lexus Chase.

Davy Russell is talking up the chances of Sir Des Champs ahead of this year's Cheltenham Gold Cup, despite a setback in the Lexus Chase when finishing fourth.

He looked a high class novice last season, but could manage only fourth place behind Paul Nicholls' Tidal Bay.

He strikes me as the type of animal who will be better suited to a large field and a very big race.

Davy Russell

Russell admits that may have been down to him rather than the horse who, for all that, was definitely not foot perfect at a couple of fences.

Russell said: "He may be finding his way to the next level after last season - time will tell but I'm not sure I helped him last time.

"He has a huge amount of ability and maybe I wasn't positive enough with him in the Lexus. Maybe I took things a bit too much for granted.

"We are going to find out on the day, but I think this race will suit him better than the Lexus Chase.

"He strikes me as the type of animal who will be better suited to a large field and a very big race, rather than one who will go in a lower grade affair and a smaller field.

"What I want above all else is a smooth run race, but I won't be drawn into the mistake of riding him really aggressively."

Sir Des Champs is 4/1 to win the Gold Cup, with Long Run 7/2 and First Lieutenant 999/1.

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