Author: Darren Moore
Published: 08:18 13/02/2016
DODGING BULLETS is the odds on favourite for Saturday’s Game Spirit Chase at the time of writing but Betfair are offering an amazing 8/1 enhanced odds offer and with the unfortunate news this week that Traffic Fluide is injured and out for the season, this race looks an open door for the reigning Champion Chaser, who has been off the track since winning the Queen Mother Chase at the Cheltenham Festival last March.
Dodging Bullets is a horse who goes well fresh and with Paul Nicholls sounding some bullish noises in anticipation of his star’s return, he is a horse punters will be steaming into on Saturday.
All of the others have staked their claim to his crown. Un De Sceaux heads that list at the top of betting market and is evidently the one they all have to beat. Sprinter Sacre has made a wonderful return to winning ways this season, while Sire De Grugy has won the Tingle Creek Chase and has done nothing wrong either. The Queen Mother Champion Chase picture is hotting up, but Dodging Bullets is the only giant left to play his hand.
Whatever he does in the Betfair Exchange (Game Spirit) Chase at 3.00pm on Saturday at Newbury, Paul Nicholls expects his horse to improve a lot from it. He has to give 5lb to Top Gamble - his main market rival - a horse that finished a strong third to Village Vic at Cheltenham last time. Top Gamble is a horse that wears his heart on his sleeve and goes all out from the front, so he could set the race up for Dodging Bullets and the others. However, if there are any chinks in the champion or the rest of the field, Top Gamble could equally get the run of the race and that is why he is trading as second favourite for this. Captain Conan is also entered and ran well for a time behind The New One over hurdles last month, but it is a stretch to expect him to step up to this level on his second start back after a two year injury break.
Dodging Bullets has a significant test in this race, but there is little doubt he is the best horse in the race. He needs to make a statement and show the rest of the Champion Chase candidates that his crown won’t be taken away without a fight. He can get on the road to make that point on Saturday by putting up a winning show.
3pm Newbury (Sat) - Dodging Bullets, 4pts win at 8/1 with Betfair
CLICK HERE to claim