2019 Betfair Chase tips – Side with Tizzard’s rising star to strengthen Gold Cup claims in Haydock feature
Brian Healy takes a runner by runner look at the field for Saturday's Betfair Chase and gives his big race tip for the feature Grade One contest at Haydock.
The first leg of the jumping Triple Crown goes to post later this month at Haydock as the latest renewal of the Grade One Betfair Chase takes centre stage on 23 November, and the early list of possible runners paints an mouth-watering picture packed with potential Cheltenham Gold Cup candidates.
Boasting a first prize north of £110,000, the extended 3m 1f contest could see six top-class performers head to post, including hat-trick seeking Bristol De Mai who has won the last two renewals of this formidable contest which represents the first Grade One contest of the new UK Jumps season.
Other notable past winners include four-time winner Kauto Star, and triple-winner Cue Card as well as dual-champion Silviniaco Conti and former Gold Cup winner Imperial Commander so the race boasts a very rich pedigree and may well feature the next Gold Cup winner.
Brian Healy looks at the field of entrants for the fantastic Grade One contest and gives his runner-by-runner thoughts and big race tip for the first stage of the jumping Triple Crown which carries a £1million bonus should any horse win this race and add the King George VI Chase and Cheltenham Gold Cup to their CV this season.
2019 BETFAIR CHASE SELECTION – LOSTINTRANSLATION (7/4, Ladbrokes)
BRISTOL DE MAI
Defending champion Bristol De Mai (5/4, Coral) will be of interest to many having won this race not only last year, but also the preceding year and Nigel Twiston-Davies’ charge has a real affinity with the Merseyside track where he is unbeaten in four outings at this venue.
The bold-jumping grey saw his Triple Crown challenge evaporate in Kempton’s King George VI Chase when falling, but he bounced back with a very creditable third behind Al Boum Photo in the Gold Cup, and the race possibly just came too soon at Aintree in the Betway Bowl where he finished fourth of six runners and beaten around ten lengths behind Kemboy.
With a good record fresh and proven versatility on a range of underfoot conditions, his record at Haydock makes him of real interest and he looks sure to make a bold bid in defence of his crown.
Ballyoptic (12/1, Paddy Power) saw off Elegant Escape to win the recent Charlie Hall Chase, and the Old Vic gelding has really got his act together over fences and gives Nigel Twiston-Davies a powerful second string in addition to defending champion Bristol De Mai.
The nine-year old hasn’t always convinced with his chasing technique, but he has taken some notable scalps when his jumping has held up including Elegant Escape and Vintage Clouds, and he was unlucky not to win the 2018 Scottish Grand National when denied by a nose by Joe Farrell where he was giving the winner a stone in weight.
Things didn’t go to plan last term, and he completed the course just one from four runs last term, when finishing sixth in the Welsh Grand National; but he is 2-2 this campaign, beating Lil Rockerfeller at Chepstow, and then taking Grade Two honours at Wetherby latest where he beat Elegant Escape into second.
Versatile with regards to ground, it remains to be seen whether he’s quite good enough to mix it at Grade One level, and it could prove a tall order mixing with a couple of these from level weights.
But, he is guaranteed to stay the trip, and his chances would be enhanced by any further softening of the ground. If the conditions were to turn up testing then he has to be respected despite probably having to find more on balance to get competitive.
Frodon (13/2, Paddy Power) went from strength to strength last term, racking up four wins from five starts which included a breakthrough Grade One success when winning the Ryanair Chase, and Paul Nicholls’ charge will strip fitter for his reappearance in the recent Old Roan Chase.
The Nickname gelding also proved stamina for three miles when holding on dourly to land last season’s Cotswold Chase, and he may appreciate a return to this longer trip in the wake of his reappearance over shorter.
Tough and consistent, and one who wears his heart on his sleeve, he has been a revelation since switching to more forceful front-running tactics although he’s not certain to get his own way up front this time around.
Given that the Old Roan Chase didn’t play to his strengths with the last half-mile being run as a flat race, he’s not one to discount on the back of that reappearance and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him in there pitching once again.
Colin Tizzard saddles two in the contest, with LOST IN TRANSLATION (7/4, Ladbrokes) joined by Elegant Escape, and the former could continue his rise up the ladder having looked a hugely progressive sort last term.
The Flemensfirth gelding took a little time to get to grips with the larger obstacles last term, twice beaten behind La Bague Au Roi, although the latter occasion at Newbury might have been an altogether different result had he not taken the third-last fence by the roots.
He beat Defi De Seuil next time though in the Dipper Novices’ Chase, after which he found the same rival too good in starts at Sandown and Cheltenham respectively, the latter coming in the JLT Novices’ Chase.
The step up to three miles for the Mildmay Novices’ Chase produced another jolt of improvement to beat RSA Chase winner Topofthegame, and he made an impressive return to action to beat Count Meribel at Carlisle in the Listed Colin Parker Memorial Chase, where aside from a late mistake he jumped for fun at the head of affairs, and he remains a hugely exciting chase prospect who could have even more to offer this campaign.
Stepping into an open Grade One will demand more from him, but he is capable of making his mark this term as a bona-fide Gold Cup contender.
Hat-trick seeking defending champion Bristol De Mail boasts an unbeaten record here and has to be respected, while recent Charlie Hall Chase winner Ballyoptic won’t mind a slog if the conditions deteriorate and spearhead a strong challenge for Nigel Twiston-Davies,and both could run well; while Frodon can’t be easily dismissed either back over a longer trip and with a run under his belt.
LOSTINTRANSLATION (7/4, Ladbrokes) looked one with a big future over fences last term when faced with a longer trip, and having acquitted himself well over shorter trips last term, he produced a much improved performance to score at Aintree to end his season on a winning note when stepped up to three miles.
Colin Tizzard’s charge made an equally impressive return when facing a relatively straightforward task at Carlisle last time out, jumping well on the sharp end over shorter and readily coming clear of his rivals to post a facile win; and there’s likely plenty of further improvement to come from the Flemensfirth gelding who can enhance his growing reputation as a Gold Cup candidate with success in this race if taking his chance.
2019 BETFAIR CHASE SELECTION – LOSTINTRANSLATION (7/4, Ladbrokes)