The 2018 renewal of the Grade 1 Betfair Chase at Haydock will be run on Saturday 24th November as a talented field target the title won by Bristol De Mai last year and, of course, the £112,00 cheque that comes with it.
3m 1f lies ahead of the pack and bookmakers have thrown their support behind two-in-a-row, pricing Nigel Twiston-Davies’ seven-year-old grey as the favourite to defend his honour at the Merseyside track.
Punters looking to beat the rush and get in early to secure their share of the betting value will notice traders at Paddy Power have priced Bristol De Mai as 5/2 jolly, which appears to be a popular quote in the market.
The experienced gelding made headlines 12 months ago when hammering a chasing pack led by Cue Card, making all from the start before drawing clear and opening up enough of an advantage Daryl Jacob could afford to ease across the line, delighting backers who had the 11/10 SP fav picked.
It’s difficult to oppose a runner following a performance of that nature but it’s worth noting he has failed to win any of his three starts since including a sixth-place finish in the King George VI Chase over 3m at Kempton on Boxing Day.
Bristol De Mai was seen making mistakes in two of those three runs and it was alarming to note he had nothing more to give when finishing second behind Might Bite in the Bowl Chase at Aintree in April, Nicky Henderson’s winner enjoying a seven-length cushion.
That form, not to mention the current quote, is sure to put a few off taking the shortest price runner in the field and there are many outsiders good enough to cause an upset. Encouragement can also be taken from the trends and followers of the stats will know Paul Nicholls has trained two of the last three winners of the Betfair Chase and no less than six of the 13 overall, making him the leading trainer.
That stat is heavily influenced by the success of Kauto Star who won 2006, 2007, 2009 and 2011 but there’s sure to be of interest in the Somerset native’s chances this year, led by Politologue.
The seven-year-old grey travels on the back of an eye-catching win in the Melling Chase at Aintree back in April when going to post an 11/1 supposed also-ran. Involved in a fascinating tussle with the well-supported Min – 11/10 SP – the victor held on gamely to land the prize, taking his tally to eight wins and three seconds from 16 goes.
Impressive, but odds compilers don’t seem to agree and there’s plenty of 14/1 doing the rounds. Enough to catch the attention of each-way backers at 1/5 the odds 1-2-3? Perhaps, given he’s finished no higher than fourth in any of the last 11 races he’s finished, a run stretching back to March 2016.