Alan King’s decision to completely close down his stables for three weeks from mid-December having seen a number of his horses run below-par, has already started to bear fruit.
The yard has returned to the fray with the string in fine form, none more so than the classy Smad Place who oozed class when scoring recently at Newbury and looks a serious contender for top honours at the Cheltenham Festival in March in the Grade 1 RSA Chase.
Cut to a general 7/1 second-favourite (from 10/1) behind Ballycasey (5/1) in the racing betting for the three-mile novice chase championship contest on March 12 following his impressive two-length defeat of the useful Sam Winner, King’s charge will now be given a slight break before arriving to face the biggest test of his career at the Prestbury track.
Smad Place was a very smart staying hurdler, finishing third behind the mighty Big Buck’s in the 2012 Ladbrokes World Hurdle before occupying the same position once again in the 2013 renewal behind Ireland’s Solwhit.
Hopes were high that the gelded son of Smadoun would quickly make a name for himself over fences but he didn’t get off to the most auspicious start when seemingly having the race in his pocket at Huntingdon in November on his chasing bow, only to blunder badly when 12 lengths clear at the final fence and unseat the unfortunate Robert Thornton.
A confidence boosting success was duly delivered next time out at Exeter where Smad Place jumped well, and despite the very heavy ground at Newbury the seven-year-old showed plenty of style to win and secure his Cheltenham Festival ticket. He stays, has a change of gear, and is a generally sound jumper, so it would not surprise to see King’s star proving very popular on the big day in the racing live betting, and very possibly challenge for favouritism in the RSA Chase racing betting market.Share on Facebook