Betfair Chase Preview 2018

2E633F58-E7BD-4B7F-A105-2341F575CDC0.jpegBy Samantha

One million pounds. That is what one lucky set of connections have the chance of winning if their horse can get their head in front at the line this race. It is the first leg of the ‘Jump Racing Triple Crown’. The ‘triple’ part is comprised of this race, the King George, on Boxing Day, and the Cheltenham Gold Cup, in March. In the line up this year, we have the last two winners of the King George, this year’s Gold Cup winner and the 2017 winner of this race.

Bristol De Mai (Saddler Maker x Le Bole Night) was one of the best winners of any race I’ve ever seen when landing this contest last year. He won by a whopping fifty seven lengths beating multiple winner of this race Cue Card, Grade One winners Outlander and Tea For Two and graded winner Traffic Fluide. That was his second run of the season as he had won the Charlie Hall before that. After his Haydock run, he disappointed in the King George VI behind Might Bite and was then third in the Cotswold Chase. He bypassed the Gold Cup and was beaten seven lengths in the Betway Bowl, once again by Might Bite. He is the likely pace maker. It is arguable that he would prefer softer going as the ground was bottomless this time last year but he has won on good to soft twice before so he can’t be underestimated. The yard is in good form too.

All bar one of the five runners’ trainers have won this race before and that is Nicky Henderson. He runs 2017 King George VI winner Might Bite (Scorpion x Knotted Midge). Nico De Boinville made a winning return to race riding on an exciting novice chaser called Wenyerreadyfreddie on Friday after an injury and I would guess that he would be excited to ride this horse. He was unbeaten over fences for five runs, four in Class One company including a Cheltenham Festival victory, before being beaten by Native River in the Gold Cup. Previous to this, he won the King George with Thistlecrack and Bristol De Mai behind him. He subsequently won the Betway Bowl beating the latter again on his most recent start, beating Clan Des Obeaux.


Trainer Paul Nicholls has one horse in the line up this year and he is the outsider. Clan Des Obeaux (Kapgarde x Nausicaa Des Obeaux) is the lowest rated and he has a bit to find with these. He was third in the Betway Bowl, ten lengths behind Might Bite and three and three quarter lengths behind Bristol De Mai. He won a Grade Two Novice Chase but this is likely to be stretching his stamina as the longest race he has won is two miles and five furlongs. His jockey, Harry Cobden, is in flying form of late.


Thistlecrack (Kayf Tara x Ardstown) went unbeaten for over a year over the course of nine runs. Three of which were in Grade One company. He won the King George as a novice after landing the Long Walk and World Hurdle as a hurdler the year before. He finished second to the ill-fated Many Clouds in the Cotswold Chase in 2017 and he missed the rest of the season. He finished fifth on his reappearance in the 2017 Long Distance Hurdle before trying to regain his crown in the King George. Colin Tizzard’s gelding could only manage fourth beaten five and three quarter lengths by Might Bite. We haven’t seen him since but if he can return to his King George form, he’ll be bang there.


NATIVE RIVER (Indian River x Native Mo) is the aforementioned horse’s stable mate and, based on the form, he is,in my opinion, the obvious pick for the winner. This horse was only seen twice last season when winning the Denman Chase at Newbury and going on to land the coveted Cheltenham Gold Cup. He beat Might Bite four and a half lengths that day and, considering that horse has beaten the rest of the field multiple times, the son of Native Mo looks the one to beat. He is rated 176- 4lbs higher than Might Bite. I don’t think he will have an issue with ground conditions and can make a winning seasonal debut.


I believe this race is one to watch, treasure and enjoy because it isn’t often you get to see such true champions facing off this early in the season. It’s as if Christmas is coming early!!!

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