Pundits Quick To Write Off Talented Menorah

On the face of it, it is easy to see why so many pundits were unimpressed with the winning performance of Philip Hobbs’ Menorah at Kempton on January 14 where he beat Kumbeshwar, the only other to complete the course, by three-and-three-quarter-lengths, writes Elliot Slater.

Menorah didn’t jump particularly well, making a number of mistakes (including a bad blunder at the second from home), but by that point he had already taken the contest by the scruff of the neck and still came home to win with something in hand. The right-handed Kempton track that posed him no problems over timber proved more troublesome over fences and it is clear that the gelded son of King’s Theatre will be a great deal more at ease going the other way round when he tackles the Irish Independent Arkle Chase at the Cheltenham Festival on March 13. People looking for the best Cheltenham free bet online need to bear this in mind.

And in beating Kumbeshwar, Menorah has lowered the colours of a formerly smart hurdler and a horse who had until his eclipse at Kempton shaped as though he might well make a serious name for himself over fences as well. Alan King’s gelding, runner-up to What A Charm in the Fred Winter Juvenile Hurdle at least season’s Cheltenham Festival and then a fine second in Grade 1 company to the unbeaten Zarkandar at Aintree, came into the Kempton race having won two of his three novice chases, most recently slamming Criqtonic by 16-lengths at Plumpton.

So Menorah’s win might well have offered more positives than negatives, and those firms that have eased him in the ante-post market for the two-mile novice chasing crown to as big as 16/1 in places might have been just a little too hasty in dismissing the chance of the 2010 Supreme Novice Hurdle winner. Kumbeshwar has subsequently been pushed out to 40/1 for the same event.