The Betfair Chase is run over 3 miles and 1 furlong, at Haydock at 3.00 tomorrow. The distance is one furlong further than previous years, due to using the flat track for part of the race, which will also result in the track ridding more galloping than before. I preview and provide my tips for the race. For my best bets every day, check out my Premium Advisory Service which is showing a +40% ROI since launched at the start of October. This years Betfair Chase looks a very good renewal with plenty of strength in depth to it. The ground at Haydock is currently soft, good to soft in places, and with no rain forecast it might be closer to good to soft by race time tomorrow.
Bobs Worth has won 9 of his 12 career starts, and is actually 7 out of 7 left handed. He’s extremely tough, and a very strong stayer. He’s also won first time out in each of the last three seasons. Last year he kicked off in the Hennessy at Newbury on his first start out of Novice company. He defied a mark of 160 with a 3 1/4l triumph over Tidal Bay. The runner up was given him 6lb, so although Bob’s Worth looked to win with a bit in hand, there was little in it on figures.
Bob’s Worth had a few niggles after that and didn’t run again until the Cheltenham Gold Cup in March. They seemed to go a good pace that day and on the run to the 3rd last, Bobs Worth was being niggled along, and 6l behind the two leaders. His chances seemed to take another hit soon after when Silviniaco Conti fell, and hampered him slightly. In truth it probably only cost him about 1l, but he still looked to have his work cut out. The race changed soon after though, as Sir Des Champs and Long Run had taken each other on a long way out, and it took its toll. Bobs Worth did what he does best, stayed on very strongly for a 7l victory. I think the race fell in his lap a bit, and if say Long Run hadn’t run, Sir Des Champs may have even beaten Bob’s Worth, and would certainly have gone much closer. It was still a very good performance, and he must have a great chance tomorrow. Despite the race being a furlong further this year, its still unlikely to prove as much of a test as the Gold Cup did, and this is a negative. Bob’s Worth won’t want a crawl if he’s to prevail.
Silviniaco Conti won the Betfair Chase last year when he beat Long Run into second. In truth though it was more a case of Ruby Walsh riding Sam Waley Cohen to sleep. All Long Run does is stay, and he let Ruby set a steady pace and turn it into a sprint up the straight. There was only ever going to be one winner in such a scenario. As such when Silviniaco Conti turned up for the Gold Cup he still had to prove himself at the top level, and while he was going well when he fell 3 out, it was too far out to know how he’d have done. He was ahead of Bob’s Worth at the time, but the 2 leaders were further ahead and they didn’t beat him. He could have finished anywhere from 1st to 4th if he’d stood up, and somewhere in between is most likely. With that in mind he looks plenty short at 5/2 tomorrow. The pace will be a big thing, if they go a good gallop I’d expect Bob’s Worth to take his measure, so his best chance is probably a less than true pace.
Dynaste won 4 of his 5 runs in Novice Chases last season including a win in the grade 1 Fletham at Kempton, and a grade 2 at Aintree. The trips for those races was 3 miles and 3 miles 1 furlong, while when he got beaten at Cheltenham in between the distance was just 2 1/2 miles. Despite his two best runs form wise being at the longer trip I’m far from convinced he wants as far as 3 mile 1 furlongs on soft ground. In both of his wins he beat horses a long way short of the standard of animal he meets tomorrow, and it was the cruising speed he showed that was the most impressive aspect of those wins. Also his Cheltenham defeat definitely wasn’t because he hadn’t got the required speed for 2 and a 1/2 miles, more so it was because he showed too much speed in the wrong part of the race, and then didn’t have enough stamina for the end if it. His bare form is nowhere near good enough for this, he does have loads of scope to improve and develop into a top class chaser, but if this race turns into a test I think he’ll be found wanting late on.
Cue Card had a good season last year but his best form was over 2 mile 5 furlongs at Cheltenham, and 2 miles 4 at Aintree. He did win over 2 miles 6 at Ascot but had been quite free and was being challenged at the 2nd last only for his danger almost coming down. When he ran in the King George he made a few mistakes early which probably didn’t help but still travelled well till the home bend. he finsihed very weakly and it looked a simple case of blatant non stayer. He’d have a chance at his best, but I haven’t seen anything in any of his races to suggest he will be better, or even as good over tomorrow’s trip, then he is over shorter, so I’m not interested in him at 7/1.
Tidal Bay has proved remarkably consistent, and also seemed an improved horse since moving to the Paul Nicholls yard. He came 2nd to Bobs Worth in last years Hennessy, giving him 6lb, before winning the Lexus at Leopardstown. He was injured after so missed the rest of the season. His comeback resulted in a victory at Wetherby over hurdles. While he looks very likely to run his race, he is 12 now, and even his very best form is unlikely to be good enough to win this.
It seems like Long Run has been around for longer than Ryan Giggs but yet he’s still only 8 years of age. I never thought he was as good as the 182 rating the handicapper gave him after winning the 2011 Gold Cup, but he is a very good, consistent horse. He came 3rd in last years Gold Cup, paying for a very aggresive ride late on, and then ran Sir Des Champs close at Punchestown. While he got caught out in this race last year, letting Ruby dictate a slow gallop, I’d expect Long Run to lead this time and set a pace to suit himself, without having to worry about anything forcing him to go to fast. As such he must have a chance, and while he ran no race on his first run back this year, he scooped badly afterwards, and given his previous record, there must be as much chance of him running his race tomorrow as anything else in the race.
Roi De Mee has looked like a good grade 2 horse, while being short of the quality required to win a good grade 1. The fact he won a grade 1 by 13l last time doesn’t really change that view much for me. The 2nd was Sizing Europe who is surely past his best, and doesn’t stay 3 miles in any case, and the rest didn’t seem to run their race at all. Roi De Mee probably improved a bit, but he will need a whole lot more to win this and makes no appeal at 20/1
The outsider is The Giant Bolster, and with good reason. If anyone one of about 6 others run to thier best he won’t be winning. His career best was probably when 2nd to Synchronised in the Gold Cup, and even a repeat of that would be unlikely to see him place here. He is pretty consistent though, and if a few others run under par he might sneak a place. Envisaging him winning is very difficult however.
The pace this is run at will play a big part, as if it was steady enough Bob’s Worth could get outpaced at a crucial stage and then run out of real estate to get back into it. He is still easily the most likely winner in my opinion, but I’d rather wait and back him at some stage in running. Long Run went off 7/2 for a very good Gold Cup and ran very well in it, he was then 11/4 to beat Sir Des Champs when he just got touched off. To have him at 12/1 for this seems too much of an overreaction, to what was most likely a blip last time, and while he’ll probably need to be at his very best to win, he might be able to dictate at a pace to suit himself tomorrow and 12/1 each way looks a good bet to me. Have the bet with