The first leg of the National Hunt Triple Crown is set once again to be an absolute treat for jump racing fans as three of the sport’s top rated superstars will line up in Saturday’s Grade One Betfair Chase over 3 miles and 1 furlong at Haydock.
Sadly, Nicky Henderson’s Gold Cup runner-up Santini recently pulled out although a pulsating field of five nevertheless still remain.
Last year’s winner Lostintranslation is back to defend his crown whilst former dual winner Bristol De Mai will be hoping to rekindle his love of this Lancashire course.
However, Paul Nicholls is finding a rich vein of form currently and will be confident that his King George hero Clan Des Obeaux can finally prove his doubters wrong by staying more than 3 miles away from his beloved Kempton.
The Colin Tizzard trained horse has firmly established himself as one of the leading staying chasers in the UK and Ireland. Having put up a very classy performance to outstay quality rivals Bristol De Mai and Frodon in last year’s renewal, there was a startling reality check at Kempton as he flopped in The King George.
It wasn’t a major surprise to me, Kempton is rarely a good hunting ground for the big tough stayers, versatility is the key there. Subsequently he was back to his best for his Gold Cup run where his qualities shone through in the way he travelled and jumped all the way to the line.
He is a lot of people’s idea for a Gold Cup winner next March and of course Tizzard’s stayers do have a habit of coming back with stronger performances if Native River’s antics are anything to go by.
Tizzard’s horses are also starting to find a bit of form now after a slow start.
Lostintranslation is mighty hard to oppose in this year’s Betfair Chase and should oblige barring errors.
5/4 with bet365, Betfair, Bet Victor, Paddy Power, Unibet,
BRISTOL DE MAI
Bristol De Mai has been a great servant to the Twiston-Davies team having netted a fair number of Grade 1 and Grade 2 chases down the years, most notably, two stunning victories in this race in the last three years. Disappointed in the Gold Cup in March, but still a fearsome opponent for Lostintranslation.
Tactics may alter this time with the grey given a much freer rein in order to give Lostintranslation a much bigger job to do at the business end.
However, I feel Lostintranslation is too good for him and if Clan Des Obeaux has improved over the longer distances, then Bristol may have a lot work to do.
15/8 with Betfred.
CLAN DES OBEAUX
The dual King George winner will no longer be seen at Cheltenham after another disappointing run in the Gold Cup.
The nagging doubts about the Paul Nicholls eight year old is really down to stamina and consistency.
He is one of the best jumpers in the business and always travels well but he is a hot and cold quirky individual. I sometimes doubt he has the stomach for a proper fight to the line in these more attritional chases and far better suited to the trappy speed tests of Ascot and Kempton.
Best watched today to see if Mr Nicholls has worked any of his magic and definitely on the betting slip for his Boxing Day outing.
With only five going to post, there is no each way shocker option here. Former Willie Mullins recruit Bellshill (33/1 William Hill, Unibet), now with Sandy Thomson, has bits and piece of form going back to 2017, including a third in the 2017 RSA Chase but is really playing for easy and lucrative place money.
Keeper’s Hill (33/1 bet365), despite having the slight advantage of a run under his belt this season, is also out of his league in this renewal.
A fascinating three way dual between these staying chasers beckons as all three can lay claims on a variety of factors. In a way, only Clan Des Obeaux has something to prove as the jury is still very much out on the status of his staying credentials.
With that element of risk apparent, the common sense approach of Lostintranslation to prove victorious once again prevails in this scenario. Bristol De Mai to make up the forecast for betting value.
Please note all odds are correct at the time of publishing (5pm 17th November 2020) and are subject to change.