Enda Bolger accepts his two contenders in the Glenfarclas Cross Country Chase at Cheltenham on Friday are running for place money.
The County Limerick trainer made the race his own with popular performers such as Spot Thedifference, who took this prize four years in a row (2004-07) and Garde Champetre (2009), but has not fared so well recently.
Though he continues his support for the three-mile-seven-furlong event with Zest For Life and Quiscover Fontaine, Bolger believes the Philip Hobbs-trained Balthazar King is the one to beat.
He said: “I’ve two runners, but I think we’re a bit out of our depth.
“Quiscover Fontaine had a run in a point-to-point a couple of weeks ago and he was a well-beaten second.
“It’s his first time in a cross-country race so it’s a bit up in the air with him.
“Zest For Life may have an each-way chance. He was going well in the Pardubikca only just unfortunately he slipped and lost his jockey.
“He’d be each-way chance, that’s all. I find Balthazar King looks a good thing.”
Balthazar King was runner-up 12 months ago behind the Willie Mullins-trained Uncle Junior, who bids to capture this race for a third consecutive time.
Chicago Grey from Gordon Elliott’s stable and Denis Murphy’s Theroadtocroker are other Irish-based runners in an 11-strong field.
Connections of the Nick Williams-trained Diamond Harry hope the 2010 Hennessy hero will take to this discipline after having his problems over the last couple of years.
“It’s quite a strong field. He’s well but you don’t know what’s going to happen until a horse has run three miles, seven furlongs,” said owner Paul Duffy.
“By all accounts from the trainer he’s in very good nick, so we’re hopeful. Obviously he had his wind operation and we’re trying him over the cross-country because it puts less of a pressure on it.
“He’s had two goes at it in France had performed creditably. He likes the variety, so we go into it with a clean sheet of paper and see what happens.
“We hope it’s the start of a new career for him because if he goes well we can look at the cross country in December and there are races in France which Nick is good at picking out.”
The first day of the Open meeting sees the Arkle Stand put in operation. The new temporary facility replaces two A&R buildings, which were taken down in the summer in preparation for the �45million development of Cheltenham.Read the rest of the story British Horseracing Authority News Headlines