Reigning Champ Right On Cue To Retain Title
Saturday’s Grade 1 Betfair Chase may have only been around for nine years, but it has already thrown up some juicy winners at 33/1, 9/1, 8/1 and 6/1
…enough evidence to suggest punters should keep all options open before making a final selection.
Of the last 9 Betfair Chase winners (first run in 2005)…
8 were officially rated 162 or higher – others were 1-29
8 won 41% or more of their chase career runs – others were 1-29
6 arrived via Aintree or Wetherby
P Nicholls won it five times
The above stats suggest that there hasn’t really been a “typical” winner of this race during its brief nine years, though it’s worth noting that all bar one was officially rated 162 or higher, boding well for the in-form Philip Hobbs’, Menorah (7/1).
This 9yo lines-up in top form having won a Grade 2 at Wetherby on his return last month (3m1f, good), a performance that showed he stays 3m. The only concern is that the ground could get testing at the weekend, placing even more emphasis on Menorah’s stamina.
One who won’t be in fear of a stamina test in the mud is Paul Nicholls’, Silviniaco Conti (3/1), winner of this race in 2012, before a 6l third behind Cue Card 12 months ago. This 8yo gained compensation for not defending his crown in this last year by scooping the King George at Kempton (3m, soft), and blew the rustiness away when 8l behind Menorah last month. Let’s also not forget that he is trained by Nicholls, who has won this race five times since 2005.
Also in the same Wetherby race was Taquin Du Seuil (6/1), who was 4l behind Menorah in second, and a short head in front of Double Ross (20/1). Taquin Du Seuil was trying 3m for the first time that day, and the manner in which this mud-lover stayed on suggests he could be a big threat on Saturday.
But, what of last year’s winner, Cue Card?
Well, he had a similar prep to 12 months when finishing out of the places at Exeter three weeks ago (2m1f, good to soft) – a run that should once again put him spot-on for this.
Soft ground will be fine, but if it gets heavy then Cue Card could be vulnerable – he was well beaten on his only try on heavy.
Beaten just over 4l by Cue Card in last year’s Betfair Chase was David Pipe’s Dynaste (7/2), who is reliable in these top chases, having won the King George and last season’s Ryanair Chase. His final outing saw him just lose out to Silviniaco Conti in a Grade at Aintree last April, and there shouldn’t be much between the duo this time around.
There has been no age bias in this race since 2005, with those aged from 6 to 11 tasting success, which offers hope to Alan King’s Medermit (16/1), though at 14/1, Harry Topper has a bit to prove at this level having only won at Grade 2 class.
The ability to have been there and done it will prove vital over a likely slog, and one who will not shirk the issue is last year’s winner, Cue Card. He blew away the cobwebs three weeks ago, and hails from the Colin Tizzard yard which has been amongst the winners this week.