Bullish Bromley hoping Cup contender Bristol can take the cream
The super-agent who bought Bristol De Mai to race in Britain says the star young chaser is blossoming 'from an ugly duckling into a swan' as he looked forward to Saturday's Newbury showdown with fellow Cheltenham fancy Native River.
Anthony Bromley, whose big-name acquisitions have included dual Gold Cup hero Kauto Star, hopes the Nigel Twiston-Davies-trained Bristol De Mai can tread the same path to Cheltenham glory in March.
Saturday features two of the sport's most exciting talents going head to head in the Betfair Denman Chase, in which Bristol De Mai must attempt to follow up his devastating Peter Marsh Chase victory for owners Simon Munir and Isaac Souede.
That performance has left the Nigel Twiston-Davies-trained six-year-old a best-priced 14-1 for the Timico-backed Gold Cup with Ladbrokes, who are also biggest about Native River at 6-1.
For Saturday's clash Native River is Betfair's 11-10 favourite with Bristol De Mai an 11-8 shot.
"A lot of bragging rights are up for grabs," said Highflyer Bloodstock's Anthony Bromley. "If it's a close finish between the two I think both could go to Cheltenham with their reputations enhanced.
"Is Bristol De Mai a Gold Cup horse? I don't know, but his price probably reflects his chance at the moment. It's a privilege to be involved with the horse. He was a big ugly duckling when we bought him but he's turned into a bit of a swan."
"He still does have an entry in the Ryanair but the hope is he'll run well enough on Saturday to warrant running in the Gold Cup.
"He came out of the Peter Marsh bouncing. We're all very excited about seeing him run again but we know he'll need to run to his Haydock level once more. We have the utmost respect for Native River, and More Of That is a very high-class horse as well."
More Of That's owner JP McManus lost one of his chances of landing Saturday's Betfair Hurdle when Consul De Thaix, a leading fancy at 8-1, was ruled out of the race by Nicky Henderson.
The trainer said: "He's got a bit of filling on a hind leg and he was sore last night. We tried to play with it, but we're not going to get away with it, so I'm afraid he can't run."
The absence of Renneti among the field of 16 declared for the Betfair Hurdle means the weights go up 5lb, with McManus's Henderson-trained Hargam heading the list. Krugermac and Kapstadt were the other defectors.
The McManus silks will also be carried by potential market leader Movewiththetimes (Paul Nicholls) and De Name Escapes Me (Noel Meade).
Henderson will be represented by Racing Post Arkle favourite Altior in the Betfair-backed Game Spirit Chase on Newbury's card.
"He's well and in great form," the trainer added.
Altior drifted to 10-11 (from 4-6) with Paddy Power on Wednesday but has shortened into 8-13, with Fox Norton available at a best-priced 5-2.