SATURDAY’S Charlie Hall Chase at Wetherby sees the return of Time For Rupert, a horse that some might say has lost his way.
Rupert made his seasonal reappearance in last year’s renewal of the Wetherby showpiece, but failed that day when a heavily backed 11/8 fav. His season never did take off last term for one reason or another and he really is on a recovery mission now.
It’s interesting to note that prior to his Wetherby exertions last October, Rupert had spent the whole of the previous year running solely at Cheltenham, culminating in a superb second to Big Buck’s in the World Hurdle.
It’s a course that definitely suits this fellow and it was there last March where Rupert arguably ran the best race of his career in the Gold Cup.
Denis O’Regan had taken the ride over from Will Kennedy that day, and he allowed the chestnut a free reign, bowling along right up with the pace jumping cleanly throughout.
At one point the 33/1 shot traded as low as 7/2 in running, such was the ease in which he was travelling.
He finally finished a very respectable fifth, beaten by only nine lengths by Synchronised. Connections must have realised that was the real Rupert but rightly, in my opinion, resisted the temptation to run again. I believe that will prove a blessing in disguise as Rupert seemed to enjoy running fresh and I expect he’ll do the same on Saturday.
As I write, he has a couple of entries for the weekend but I believe he will again make the journey up the A1 and, if he does, the 7/1 freely available now will prove too big for a horse with relatively low mileage for an eight-year-old.