Trainer Emma Lavelle believes that Top Dog will have a chance in the Champion Bumper and that they won’t be there to “make up the numbers.”
The five-year-old is set to take to the turf in Wednesday’s finale at 5:30pm as a 66/1 outsider but his trainer feels that he could provide a challenge for the race’s favourites.
“It would be disappointing to have a horse named ‘Top Dog’ and always be at the back,” said Lavelle.
“He has been very good and he has been starting to really live up to his name and like you say, he has got a big engine. He is a little bit quirky, he has that sort of way of going left once he gets towards the end of the race, clearly it’s not so bad when you’re running around Cheltenham, at least it’s the right way.”
Top Dog, ridden by Thomas Bellamy, may be relatively fresh to racing having just the four races under his belt but he boasts one win and places in the other three. He was a winner at 9/1 in a NH flat race at Newbury over 2m (good to soft) on his latest outing last month, where he beat a familiar face in this race, Rosy Redrum, who is priced at 28/1.
Regarding Top Dog’s habit of ducking left, Lavelle revealed it’ll be something Tom will need to keep in mind but they still feel they are going with a chance in what is a tough race.
She said: “It's something Tom will be very aware of. It’s always been an Irish-dominated race but he’s tough and he’s had a few battles, he knows what it is to fight to win. So I think we go there thinking we are definitely going with a chance, not thinking we are going to make up the numbers, but it’s always a tough race and we’ve looked at some of the Irish form, you’ll be biting your nails anyway.”
18+ | BeGambleAware | Odds Subject To Change