Russell retains Gold Cup hopes

06 February 2013 10:05:56 UK
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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