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Menorah

Menorah: eased in ante-post Arkle betting despite winning at Kempton

  PICTURE: Getty Images  

Menorah eased for Arkle despite second chase win

Report: Kempton, Saturday

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MENORAH was pushed out in the betting for the Arkle despite making it two wins from three starts over fences.

The Philip Hobbs-trained seven-year-old came home three and three quarter lengths clear of Kumbeshwar but the former Supreme Novices' Hurdle winner was again sketchy with his jumping and gave his supporters a couple of hairy moments.

Bookmakers were largely unimpressed with the performance from the 4-7 favourite with both Ladbrokes and William Hill easing him in the betting for the Irish Independent-sponsored contest at the Cheltenham Festival, with Hills now offering a best price of 16-1 (from 14-1).  

Kumbeshwar was sent into an immediate lead by Wayne Hutchinson with Menorah settled in behind under Richard Johnson showing a tendency to jump to his left.

A mistake at the third fence by Kumbeshwar gave Menorah the opportunity to close on the early leader and when Alasi unseated Dominic Elsworth at theeighth, Menorah jumped up to dispute the lead.

However, he was far from convincing at a couple of the fences and, as was the case at Taunton last time, he blundered late on when in the lead - this time at the second last - although hehad seen off the challenge of Kumbeshwar by that point.   

Referring to the late mistake, Hobbs said: "Yeah that wasn't good, but before that he'd been a bit more careful which probably wasn't a bad thing, so besides the second last it was very good really. We're happier."

This was the third time that Menorah had encountered a small field in three chase starts and Hobbs continued: "The one thing that would suit him at Cheltenham is the pace. He got beaten twice in novice hurdles when he had to make the running. But let's remember the second horse here isn't bad.

"He's done plenty at home but what he really needs is racecourse practice but we're going the right way."

Looking to the future Hobbs said: "There's plenty of time [for another run]. Where he'll go I don't know, at some stage we're going to get more rain but he does appreciate better ground so we'll have to go somewhere where the ground is reasonable."

Hobbs and Johnson were completing Kempton doubles after Sadler's Risk had taken the opener and in the process been installed as 6-1 favourite by Paddy Power for the JCB Triumph Hurdle.   

 
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