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Bristol De Mai has run in the Betfair Chase for the last three years and is the second favourite behind Lostintranslation for this year’s renewal of the Haydock feature on Saturday afternoon (3pm off-time)
The nine-year-old won the race in 2017 and 2018 and finished second behind Lostintranslation 12 months ago. Clan Des Obeaux is also a runner and there are five declarations in total in a weekend of small fields.
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So, who will win the Betfair Chase?
The Betfair Chase seems to be Bristol De Mai’s Gold Cup and the horse has been trained to peak on this Saturday in November over the last four years.
It’s the first leg of the Chase Triple Crown, completed by the King George VI Chase at Kempton Park on Boxing Day and the Cheltenham Gold Cup in March.
The Alan King-trained gelding Bristol De Mai is much more suited to Haydock Park than the other tracks and has beat the likes of Cue Card and Native River in previous Betfair Chase’s and they are chasers from the top drawer. However, Bristol De Mai comes up short in the King George and Gold Cup.
Lostintranslation has a slight edge on form but I think that the race conditions can see Bristol De Mai win the Betfair Chase for the third time. His odds are as low as 7/4 with bet365* but you can get a more attractive 5/2 with 888sport.
Imperial Aura Favourite for Grade 2 Chase At Ascot
Away from Haydock, Imperial Aura is the favourite at 15/8 with bet365* to win the Grade 2 Chanelle Pharma 1965 Chase at Ascot over two miles and five furlongs.
It is disappointing and surprising that a first prize of over £25,000 has not attracted more than four runners. However, Cyrname only beat two horses when winning the race this time last year.
There seems to be a limited stock of chasers who are good enough to contest graded races out of handicap and novice company. Ascot’s Class 1 chase for horses aged four and older is potentially a good trial for the Ryanair Chase at the 2021 Cheltenham Festival but no horses prominent in the ante post betting are running on Saturday. Imperial Aura is as big as 16/1 for that race.
Real Steel is the better horse on Official Ratings but carries two pounds more than the favourite. Itchy Feet was the beaten favourite last time out in a Grade 2 handicap chase at Aintree. Black Corton is running for the second time since wind surgery. Hence, Imperial Aura is the horse to beat.
Laurina faces just two rivals in the Grade 2 Coral Hurdle on the same Ascot card.
The mare was one of the most impressive winners at the Cheltenham Festival in 2018. However, she faded out of contention in a winnable Champion Hurdle the following season and a chasing career has been put on hold. Laurina was pulled up in her two novice chases.
A return to hurdling at Punchestown back in February saw the horse finishing only third in a Grade 3 race. The owners then moved Laurina from Willie Mullins’ stable and she is now trained by Paul Nicholls.
Laurina runs for Nicholls for the first time at Ascot on Saturday afternoon and she can get her career back on track with a win.
The owners of Tiger Roll have pointed out that we are dealing with a spring horse and a disappointing recent run at Cheltenham was just a blip.
He was pulled up in the Cross Country Handicap Chase at the home of the jumps. However, the handicapper sees no reason to reduce the horse’s Official Rating (OR) which will be key to the weight allocation for the Grand National in April.
There should be a compromise so Tiger Roll can try to win a historic third National.
? Return of crowds at racecourses for Christmas?
Racecourse Association chief executive David Armstrong says there's "a slim chance" of it happening