LiveScore Racing News: A Plus Tard tipped for Haydock success
Cheveley Park Stud director Richard Thompson believes A Plus Tard will take some beating in Saturday's Betfair Chase at Haydock.
Henry De Bromhead's exciting stayer will be making his seasonal reappearance on Merseyside having last been seen finding only stablemate Minella Indo too strong as he finished runner-up in the Cheltenham Gold Cup in March.
Despite missing out on winning the blue riband event at the Cheltenham Festival, it was still a successful season for A Plus Tard, who had warmed up for the Prestbury Park showpiece by claiming Grade One glory in the Savills Chase at Leopardstown over the festive period.
Thompson is now hoping the horse can pick up where he left off at Haydock this weekend, although he acknowledges the seven-year-old's best form may not come until later in the season.
He said: "It's very exciting. He's in great shape, I think. He's bouncing around and looking the part, so we've got to go in with confidence.
"It's obviously his first run of the season, but apart from that he's in cracking form. We're hoping for a big run, but we've got to recognise that he could improve for the run, of course."
A Plus Tard's main rival for victory in the Betfair Chase is likely to be Bristol De Mai, who has delivered three successes for trainer Nigel Twiston-Davies in the race, including when proving too strong for his rivals 12 months ago.
However, the unseasonably dry conditions may not be ideal for last year's winner, something Thompson is hoping will play into the hands of A Plus Tard.
Thompson added: "We've got a bit lucky with the ground — that's a plus, anyway."
Provided all goes according to plan this weekend, Thompson has also indicated that A Plus Tard will follow a similar schedule to last year, with the son of Kapgarde expected to head to Leopardstown to defend the Savills Chase before returning for another crack at the Cheltenham Gold Cup in March.
He said: "All roads lead back to Cheltenham in March. We'll see how Saturday goes but he'll probably go back to the Savills Chase again and then on to the Gold Cup."