First run in 2005 the Betfair Chase has produced in its short nine year history three winners who have won the Cheltenham Gold Cup. The great Kauto Star,who won the Gold cup in 2007, and 2009, and Imperial Commander who collected Cheltenham’s blue riband in 2010.
Kauto Star in fact won the Betfair chase three times and his superb trainer Paul Nicholls has been successful on two other occasions, most recently with one of Saturday’s contenders Silviniaco Conti in 2012. Silviniaco Conti was beaten into third place in last years renewal where he finished 4 1/2L and 1 1/4L behind Cue Card and Dynaste. He made his reappearance this time in the Charlie Hall chase at Wetherby three weeks ago,where despite going off the 11/10 fav he was dissappointing finishing fifth, eight lengths behind the winner Menorah.
However Nicholls was quite positive, feeling that the race was needed. He also expressed some concern about the distance of the Charlie Hall,expressing the view that the race was run over rather less than the advertised 3ml 1f. It may well be the case that Silviniaco Conti does need a race to put him straight so fully expect last years King George V1 hero to be bang in contention on Saturday.
Colin Tizzard is quite bullish about his Cue Cards chances. Last years winner made his reappearance in the Haldon Gold Cup over, in the view of this observer, an inadequate 2ml 1f. Despite going off the 13/8 fav he finished fourth, 15L behind the winner, Gods Own, to whom he was Conceeding 17lbs. Considering that it was his first run for nearly eleven months it was a satisfactory comeback and Tizzard feels that the horse will benefit hugely from it. If he turns up on Saturday in the same form as last year he must have every chance of retaining his crown.
David Pipe’s Dynaste ran a very solid race in this last year. Making his seasonal debut he finished 4 1/2L behind Cue Card, but then disappointed in the King Georg V1 chase at Kempton. He got his season back on track when winning the Ryan Air Chase 2ml 5f at the Cheltenham Festival, and again performed well at the Aintree Festival when running Silviniaco Conti to 1 1/2L, over 3ml 1f. He does seem to run his best races when fresh and has performed really well on both visits to Haydock, so definitley one for the short list.
If the heavens open Kim Bailey’s mud lover Harry Topper is worth a second look. Successful in five of his ten chases, he made a winning reappearance last year in the Charlie Hall chase on what was for him unsuitable ground. He ran well on very bad ground at Cheltenham in January when 7l and a hd behind The Giant Bolster and Rocky Creek, but was a revelation a fortnight later at Newbury where he beat Al Ferof and Katenko by 25L and 24L on heavy ground. He likes a flat course, and goes well fresh, so given heavy ground on Saturday his chance is obvious.
Jonjo O’Neill’s Taquin du Seuil is another who handles testing conditions. He trotted up in a novice chase at Haydock 2ml 5f hvy in January and went on to win over 2 1/2ml at the festival. He is undoubtedly a class act, but does he really stay? He did seem to answer the question last time at Wetherby where he stayed on to take second behind Menorah ( who was Conceeding 5lbs ). However as mentioned above there is some doubt as to the distance travelled at Wetherby so for the moment the jury is out on his stamina credentials.
Menorah was something of a surprise package in the Charlie Hall but there is no denying that this previously classy hurdler is well suited by the 3ml chasing game. All ground comes alike to him so with his stable hitting stratospheric heights he is another to consider.
Double Ross ran well in the Charlie Hall but he is unlikely to have conditions to suit on Saturday.
Selection. Cue Card.