Somersby: will be running at his fifth consecutive Cheltenham FestivalPICTURE: Getty Images
Somersby can shake up Champion Chase rivals
MICK CHANNON is of the opinion Somersby is the "forgotten horse" of the BetVictor Queen Mother Champion Chase, and thinks the ten-year-old could be a factor if his jumping holds together.
Second to ante-post favourite Sire De Grugy in the Tingle Creek at Sandown in December, Somersby then unseated Dominic Elsworth in the Clarence House - also won by Sire De Grugy - at Ascot last time out.
A 20-1 chance with the sponsors, Somersby also unseated in the Champion Chase last year, and Channon said: "He is probably the forgotten horse, but he is renowned for making those silly mistakes and is his own worst enemy.
"Obviously, he unseated at Ascot but his preparation has gone well since then. A strongly run two miles around Cheltenham seems to suit him and, if the real Somersby turns up, he will shake them all up - I can assure you of that."
Sire De Grugy leads the Champion Chase market at 9-4, with 12 entries remaining following Thursday's six-day forfeits.
The Neptune Investment Management Novices' Hurdle kicks off the second day of the festival, and there was good money on Thursday for Rathvinden, now a 7-1 shot having been as big as 10-1.
As well as Rathvinden, trainer Willie Mullins also has 11-4 favourite Faugheen in the race.
Last year's Champion Bumper winner Briar Hill is another member of Mullins' strong team of novice hurdlers and hardened as favourite for the Albert Bartlett across the board on Thursday, now generally 9-4 (from 11-4).