Whisper enters Gold Cup picture after 12lb raise for Ladbrokes Trophy effort
Whisper, narrowly beaten by Total Recall in Saturday's Ladbrokes Trophy, has been raised 12lb by the BHA, it was revealed on Tuesday morning.
Whisper had been rated 157 coming into Saturday's race, but in effect ran off 161 because of a 4lb penalty he picked up for winning a two-runner graduation chase at Kempton in November.
His new mark of 169 makes him a Gold Cup contender on official ratings. He is rated 4lb below the previous weekend's wide-margin Betfair Chase winner Bristol De Mai and the same as Gold Cup winner Sizing John in last season's Anglo-Irish classification. He is also 7lb ahead of stablemate Might Bite, who has not yet had the chance to show his worth in open company.
Racing Post Ratings have Whisper on 171, which is level with Might Bite but a stone behind Bristol De Mai's Haydock benchmark and 3lb behind Sizing John.
Although the BHA does not publish marks for Irish-trained horses, it is inferred that Ladbrokes Trophy winner Total Recall could expect to run off a mark of around 156 were he to be entered in another handicap chase in Britain in the near future.
The Grand National was mooted as a target after his victory on Saturday and this decade alone, Many Clouds (160) and Neptune Collonges (157) have won the National off a similar mark.
No move for Buveur
Buveur D'Air's mark remains unchanged on 169 following his effortless success in the Fighting Fifth Hurdle at Newcastle.
The big move on the card was Rehearsal Chase winner Beware The Bear, whose mark increased 5lb to 150. He too may enter the National reckoning given the view, echoed by Saturday's rider Sean Bowen, that he would be better suited to better ground.
Cheer for Beer
Thistlecrack (170) and Unowhatimeanharry (167) did not go down in the weights following the shock win of Beer Goggles in the Long Distance Hurdle on Friday.
The winner was raised 7lb to 159, which puts him just a couple of pounds behind where Nichols Canyon was coming into last year's Stayers' Hurdle, so aiming at that race seems realistic.
Yanworth was dropped 2lb to 151 following his defeat to Willoughby Court, 1lb behind the winner. Both are narrowly ahead of Saturday's Grade 2 novice chase winner Elegant Escape (150).
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