Stellar Line Up for Betfair Chase on Saturday
It will probably pay to sit quiet and not get too excited about the Betfair Chase at Haydock on Saturday until they’ve been sent off by the starter. We have seen plenty of big races decimated so far this national hunt season due to the ground, but if the runners all stand their ground for Saturday’s Betfair Chase, there is no doubt this race will go down as the best early season chase of the season without a doubt.
We have four days to wait and as we all know, a lot can happen in racing in four days, but plenty of racing fans are licking their lips at the mouth-watering clash that could happen up in the North West. The field is headed by the one-two from last season’s Cheltenham Gold Cup, Native River and Might Bite. Those two are joined so far by Thistlecrack, Clan Des Obeaux, last year’s winner Bristol De Mai and a handful more. All we need know is for their to be significant enough rainfall between now and Saturday for them all to run.
The last three mentioned, along with other horses, were pulled from the Charlie Hall Chase at Wetherby at the start of this month due to insignificant rain at the track, something we don’t want to happen again.
Assuming the field turns up as planned, Bristol De Mai is sure to have his work cut out against this far better field, and one ground that could be a little too quick for him. He loves nothing more than an early season slog in the mud, which was exactly what he got last season. He may not run here, but if he does, it is unlikely he will be able to defend his crown.
Despite losing to Native River in the Cheltenham Gold Cup last season, it is expected that Might Bite will be favourite for this race, with the flatter track and slighlty less emphasis on stamina playing into his hands. There is little to choose between them though, and it is sure to be a race that both want to win, with this being the first leg of the £1 million Betfair bonus. Joining them is Thistlecrack, a horse we haven’t seen the best of recently, but one that is reportedly in good health at home, and raring to go. The initial plan with him was to get as much racing into him as possible this season, and he intended to come here with a run under his belt already, which may have given him a fitness edge but the dry weather prevented that from happening.
With all the talk surrounding the top three in the betting, it seems a few people have forgotten about Clan De Obeaux from the Paul Nicholls yard. Paul is especially good as getting horses ready first time, and has started the new season very well. He has lacked a genuine top class staying chaser for a few years now, but this could be the horse to give him something to shout about in the Gold Cup next March.
All eyes on the weather, let’s hope it doesn’t spoil what could be a fantastic race on Saturday at Haydock.