Saturday’s Betfair Chase preview, tips, odds and runner-by-runner guide
Five runners have been declared for Saturday’s Betfair Chase at Haydock, with 2019 champion Lostintranslation a short-price favourite to win back-to-back renewals of the Grade 1 contest.
Colin Tizzard’s inmate beat dual-winner Bristol De Mai by just over a length 12 months ago, but will it be a straight-up battle between the pair this weekend, or can Clan Des Obeaux spoil the party for Paul Nicholls?
We’ve previewed one of the feature races in the National Hunt calendar with our runner-by-runner guide.
/11P3- | Colin Tizzard | 11-7 | OR 171 | Betfair Chase Best: Winner (2019)
Big things are expected of Lostintranslation this term. Last season’s Gold Cup-third is 14/1 to win Cheltenham’s blue-riband event in 2021, while he’s the 7/1 third-favourite to win the Ladbrokes King George at Kempton on Boxing Day.
Those prices could shorten or lengthen depending on his performance this weekend, when he bids to become the fourth back-to-back winner of the Betfair Chase after Kauto Star, Cue Card and Bristol De Mai. That’s distinguished company, and there’s every reason to think he’ll be joining them.
The Tizzards have been reporting that he’s working well at home, while in-form jockey Robbie Power, who’s fresh from riding four winners at the November Meeting, “couldn’t stop smiling” after schooling him last week.
You can choose to believe or ignore trainer quotes, but one thing is for certain, he’s going to be difficult to oppose if he reproduces the same sort of run which took him to victory here 12 months ago. Lostintranslation is still a horse on the up, and we know he does some of his best work in small-runner races such as this.
Conditions look set to be ideal for the eight-year-old, who can take a first step to making amends for last season’s King George blow-out at Haydock this weekend.
4/229- | Nigel Twiston-Davies | 11-7 | 169 | Betfair Chase Best: Winner (2017, 2018)
Horses for courses, that’s the old saying, and boy does Bristol De Mai love it around Haydock. The nine-year-old boasts form figures of 11112 around here, including that Betfair Chase double in 2017 and 2018.
He was beaten by the better horse 12 months ago, and while there’s no shame in that, it does leave his chances open to question as the pair lock horns once again this weekend. Both horses are a year older, but that should be more to the benefit of Lostintranslation, who’ll be expected to show further improvement as an eight-year-old.
Bristol De Mai will run his race as he always does around here, but he’s consistently found out against the real top-tier horses. From what we’ve seen of the favourite for this season’s Betfair Chase, he certainly deserves his place at that elite level.
2/218- | Paul Nicholls | 11-7 | 171 | Betfair Chase Best: 4th (2018)
Paul Nicholls reckons Clan Des Obeaux has a “big chance” of giving him a record-extending seventh win in the Betfair Chase. The Ditcheat-handler won four of the first seven renewals of the race with the immortal Kauto Star before tasting success twice more with Silviniaco Conti in 2012 and 2014.
He hasn’t won the 3m 1½f contest since that victory six years ago, but that could change on Saturday. Clan Des Obeaux is no mug and probably deserves to be a tad shorter than the 3/1 on offer about him at the moment.
Critics will point to the fact the eight-year-old doesn’t enjoy going left-handed, but that fails to consider that he’s won at both Newbury and Haydock, although his last victory at the Lancashire track was back in 2017. Nevertheless, he’s a two-time Ladbrokes King George winner who perhaps deserves more respect than he’s being shown.
The King George will be his aim once again this term, but a trainer like Nicholls won’t be going to Haydock just to make up the numbers, so you can be sure he’ll be ready and raring to go this weekend.
Keeper Hill | Betfair Chase Odds: 33/1
1P23-4 | Warren Greatrex | 11-7 | OR 150 | Betfair Chase Best: N/A
Keeper Hill is well out of his depth in this sort of company. Warren Greatrex’s inmate is being pitched in here in the hope of taking home some valuable prize money, and who can blame connections at a time when prize money is the hot topic in British Racing?
The nine-year-old has been soundly beaten in even the most lukewarm of Graded contests and has only won twice in handicap company since winning a weak Grade 2 at Doncaster in December 2017.
He has won at Haydock before and he does have the benefit of a prep-run under his belt in the Charlie Hall at Wetherby, but it’d be a major shock if Keeper Hill could upset the big three in the market.
Bellshill | Betfair Chase Odds: 33/1
/4762- | Sandy Thomson | 11-7 | OR 156 | Betfair Chase Best: N/A
Bellshill has a better pedigree than Keeper Hill, but like his long-odds counterpart, the ten-year-old’s form in the biggest races does leave a lot to be desired. He was beaten by a grand total of 100l in the three races he contested last term, and even avid Bellshill fans like us may have to concede that his best days are in the past.
A change of trainer from Willie Mullins to Sandy Thomson is unlikely to unlock any further improvement, and in a race with three clear favourites, it’s highly likely the King’s Theatre gelding will be left to fight it out with Keeper Hill for fourth.
If some of that sporadic top level ability does remain, then connections will be praying for a rain dance, as Bellshill’s best form has come when the ground is bottomless. Even taking into account that eventuality his jumping will have to show considerable improvement from some of his more recent efforts.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing