A Plus Tard and De Bromhead will be targeting strong start to vital season
A Plus Tard will aim to kickstart the most important season of his career with a victory in the first major race of the National Hunt campaign. The Lancashire Chase is the first Grade One event of the season at Haydock Park, and will feature all the runners and riders that will be competing for the top honours over the course of the term.
Henry De Bromhead’s charge established himself as one of the best chasers in the business with a brilliant performance in the Savills Chase at Leopardstown. He lost out to his stable-mate Minella Indo in the Cheltenham Gold Cup, but he will remain one of the leading contenders for the ultimate crown come the 2022 Cheltenham Festival.
A Plus Tard roared into the Gold Cup picture with a sensational victory in the Savills Chase at @LeopardstownRC 🏆
— Horse Racing Ireland (@HRIRacing) January 6, 2021
However, the first test will come at Haydock Park where he is the favourite for the Lancashire Chase in the Paddy Power horse racing betting odds at 5/2. There will be challengers from the field, including the reigning champion Bristol De Mai and the exceptional Clan Des Obeaux, who are certainly worth tracking in the horse racing betting tips from Paddy Power.
A Plus Tard is coming into his own as a horse of the highest quality, but is still lacking a victory of real authority in England outside of his win in 2019 in the Close Brothers Novices’ Handicap Chase at Cheltenham Festival. De Bromhead will ensure that his charge is up for the task, enjoying an outstanding 2020/21 season in the paddock. The development of the French thoroughbred will be a priority for the Irishman, who has yet to win the Lancashire Chase.
De Bromhead ticked off a lot of boxes last season by winning his first Gold Cup with Minella Indo and the Champion Chase with Honeysuckle before Minella Times won the Grand National. To say the 2020/21 season was a breakout year for the trainer would be an understatement. He now needs to sustain his success, and kicking off the season with a triumph in the first Grade One event of the season would set the tone for him and his charge.
There are a couple of issues facing De Bromhead and A Plus Tard ahead of the event. The French thoroughbred has not competed at Haydock Park before, and considering the pedigree of his potential challenges, notably three-time winner Bristol De Mai, his lack of experience might be his downfall. However, the seven-year-old has to become comfortable racing away from his preferred venues in Ireland to enhance his abilities. It could be crucial, especially in his bid to win the Gold Cup.
The other issue will be the fitness of Rachael Blackmore. She rode A Plus Tard in his last outing at the Gold Cup, and has been used as his primary jockey since his move into De Bromhead’s stables in 2018. Blackmore sustained a fractured ankle and a hip injury in July that required surgery after falling at Killarney.
Although she has targeted a return to action, there could be doubts whether she will be at her best, despite her outstanding pedigree in the saddle. Darragh O’Keeffe won the Savills Chase with A Plus Tard and could be the best option to take him into the Lancashire Chase, and may even be the choice for future races should he continue to win with the French thoroughbred.
It is a massive season for A Plus Tard and De Bromhead, and they will be under pressure to set the tone from the off at Haydock Park.