Savills Chase preview: A Plus Tard ‘hard to beat’

A Plus Tard is expected to prove “hard to beat” when he defends his crown in the Savills Chase at Leopardstown.

Henry de Bromhead’s charge flew home to deny the reopposing pair of Kemboy and Melon in a thrilling renewal of the Grade One feature 12 months ago.

The seven-year-old went on to fill the runner-up spot behind stablemate Minella Indo in the Cheltenham Gold Cup – and is the ante-post favourite to go one better at Prestbury Park in March following his spectacular return to action in the Betfair Chase at Haydock last month.

Owned by Cheveley Park Stud, A Plus Tard will be a warm order to enhance his claims for the blue riband by making it three from three at Leopardstown on Tuesday.

Cheveley Park director Richard Thompson said: “He beat Chacun Pour Soi over two miles here two years ago, he won this race last season and won the Betfair Chase last month, so he’s building up a helluva CV.

“Everyone saw what he did at Haydock. I’m still recovering from that, to be honest! If he can repeat that sort of form he’s going to be hard to beat, isn’t he?

“He came with a tremendous late run to win this last year and it probably isn’t as strong a race this time around – there aren’t as many runners.

“But we’ve been involved with horses long enough to know you can never take anything for granted, especially in a steeplechase.”

Minella Indo and A Plus Tard after finishing first and second in the Cheltenham Gold Cup

Minella Indo and A Plus Tard after finishing first and second in the Cheltenham Gold Cup

Kemboy is running in the Savills Chase for the fourth year in succession after winning in 2018, finishing fourth in 2019 and being narrowly denied last year.

The nine-year-old is one of four runners for Willie Mullins along with last year’s third Melon, John Durkan runner-up Janidil and Franco De Port.

Delta Work won the Savills Chase and the Irish Gold Cup at Leopardstown two seasons ago and is one of two leading contenders for Gordon Elliott along with Galvin, who was last seen finishing second to Frodon at Down Royal.

The enigmatic Samcro is a third Elliott runner.

Frodon fights off Galvin at Down Royal

Galvin chases Frodon at Down Royal in October

“I’m looking forward to it, it’s going to be a competitive race but it’s nice to be well represented,” said the Cullentra handler.

“Delta Work will come on a lot from Down Royal (finished fourth) and he’s in good form.

“Galvin will love the ground and I though he ran a career best in Down Royal. He’s one of those horses that you love everything to do with him.

“He runs a good race every day and wants to please you the whole time, so we’re very lucky to have him.”