The Warren Greatrex-trained Knight Pass, ante-post favourite for the prestigious Weatherbys Championship Bumper at Cheltenham 2011, has come through his final training gallop in great style and is bang on target for the big race next Wednesday, writes Elliot Slater.
The unbeaten five-year-old worked two miles under big race jockey Wayne Hutchinson and after sitting in behind two stable companions was asked to improve his position with two furlongs to travel. Hutchinson reported that the Accordion gelding readily changed gear and sailed by the other pair to draw away without overexerting himself, but had a good blow after the race suggesting that the work had brought him on nicely.
Knight Pass made his racecourse debut at Sandown in November where he justified market support and looked a horse with a very big future in beating Sire De Grugy by an easy eight lengths. That form has worked out particularly well with the Gary Moore-trained runner-up going on to prove himself a more than useful hurdler, completing a hat-trick at the end of last month when landing the Grade 2 Dovecote Novices Hurdle at Kempton.
Knight Pass made his second racecourse appearance at Southwell’s turf track in January, again looking a class act when carrying his penalty with no difficulty at all to a four-length winner over Noel Chance’s Gores Island. Such was the impression made at the Rolleston circuit that bookmakers immediately installed him as ante-post favourite for the Festival Bumper, a position he has maintained ever since despite a number of impressive winners having been seen on both sides of the Irish Sea. Many punters will be focusing on the Cheltenham Gold Cup betting odds, but the Bumper looks set to be an intriguing contest.
A best priced 8/1 shot to give his young handler a first Cheltenham Festival success, Knight Pass heads the market, two points shorter than Nicky Henderson’s highly regarded Ericht, and the Willie Mullins-trained Allure of Illusion, both 10/1 shots.