The Betfair Chase has now become one of the biggest National Hunt races of the entire season and on Saturday afternoon thousands of fans will be descending upon Haydock Park.
Established in 2005, the Betfair Chase has continually attracted some of the best chasers in the land and this year is no exception, even if it is a small but select field.
The Betfair Chase forms the first leg of the £1m Jockey Club sponsored Triple Crown, which is awarded to any horse that can win the Betfair Chase at Haydock Park, the King George VI Chase at Kempton Park on Boxing Day and the Cheltenham Gold Cup at The Festival next March.
Now in its 15th year, the Betfair Chase has produced a highly esteemed roll of honour.
The people’s favourite Kauto Star won the race four times (2006, 2007, 2009, and 2011) with his last win lifting the roof off the Haydock stands. A statue was even erected in his honour at the track.
As well as saddling Kauto Star to win this race on more than one occasion, Paul Nicholls also trained Silviniaco Conti to win the highly coveted Lancashire Chase (registered name) twice.
The Colin Tizzard-trained Cue Card almost pulled off the hat-trick of wins required to land the Triple Crown bonus but he fell when holding every chance in the Gold Cup. He managed to win the Betfair Chase a total of three times in his glittering career.
This Saturday the Nigel Twiston-Davies-trained grey, Bristol De Mai, will attempt to continue his love affair with the Merseyside track by capturing a third-consecutive Betfair Chase.
Betfair Chase: Trends & Statistics
- Age – 8 of the last 10 winners were aged between 6 and 9.
- Price – Surprisingly only 4 of the last 10 winners were won by the favourite, 9/10 winners came from the top 3 in the horse racing betting.
- Last Run – 4/10 winners won on their last run before the Betfair Chase, 8/10 winners had their last run within the last 27 days. 6/10 winners ran in the Charlie Hall Chase at Wetherby.
- Rating – 6/10 winners had a rating of 170 or higher.
- Grade 1 Wins – 10/10 winners had at least one win in a Grade 1 race.
- Season Form – 8/10 winners had at least one run that season, 4/10 winners had at least one win that season.
Here is your comprehensive guide to the four runner field on Saturday:
Bristol De Mai
The defending champion Bristol De Mai is the star attraction in the £200,000 Betfair Chase (3.00pm) in the first Grade One race of the Jump season at Haydock Park this Saturday.
Bristol De Mai (Nigel Twiston-Davies/Daryl Jacob) is chasing a third consecutive victory in three mile, one and a half-furlong feature, following a 57-length demolition job in 2017 and another dominant victory in 2018.
Twiston-Davies showed his intention of making it another Merseyside payday by swerving the Charlie Hall Chase and pencilling in this opening engagement as an absolute cert for his flamboyant grey.
The eight-year-old also made his seasonal debut in the Betfair Chase last November when he got the better of the former Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Native River by four lengths.
Bristol de Mai has not been seen since finishing fourth behind Kemboy in the Bowl Chase at Aintree in April, but his supporters are well aware that he runs his best races when fresh and will also be buoyed by the fact that he has a perfect four from four record at the track.
After his emphatic win in the Betfair Chase of 2017, some people were of the view that that Bristol de Mai was simply a one-trick-pony that only scored in bottomless ground, however when he won again last year in much drier autumnal conditions, it put many of those naysayers to bed.
Away from Haydock last year he went on to be the best placed British-trained runner in the Cheltenham Gold Cup when finishing a commendable third.
Lostintranslation's successful reappearance in the Colin Parker Memorial at Carlisle had social media ablaze with memes and screenshots abound after an almost faultless display of fluent jumping put him firmly on the radar for greater things to come this season.
He jumped superbly in front and quickened away easily after the last to win by two and a quarter lengths.
As a novice Lostintranslation won two of his six starts, including the Mildmay Novices' Chase at Aintree on his final outing.
Defi du Seuil, the horse he chased home twice last year, gave a massive boost to that form last weekend by scoring nicely in the Shloer Chase at Cheltenham.
Colin Tizzard, who trained Cue Card to win this race in 2013, 2015 and 2016, will be hoping that he has another horse of that calibre on his hands on Saturday.
Paul Nicholls too has provided multiple winners of this race in the shape of Kauto Star and Silviniaco Conti and he will be represented this year by the fan’s favourite Frodon.
Frodon had a fruitful 2018/19 winning the Old Roan Chase at Aintree on his first start of the season before going on to record three major wins at Cheltenham, which included to the Caspian Caviar Gold Cup, the Cotswold Chase and the Ryanair Chase.
Many blamed the reduced jumping test for his underperformance in the Old Roan Chase last month, but he frankly did not look entirely match fit as many of the Nicholls stable didn’t either in that particular early segment of the season.
The seven-year-old is sure to come on for the run and will be a popular winner should he score under his regular pilot, the newly Jockey Club sponsored Bryony Frost.
Bristol de Mai’s stablemate Ballyoptic made a winning reappearance in handicap company at Chepstow in October before following that up with an authoritative win in the Charlie Hall Chase at Wetherby.
The deteriorating conditions that afternoon really placed the emphasis on his stamina and the former Scottish National runner-up capitalised on the shortcomings of his rivals.
The nine-year-old would probably come into his own if this race develops into a slog, but there is no such weather forecast in place for Saturday and he will probably need a few snookers to fall into place if he is to trouble the judge in this one.
Betfair Chase: Prediction
I think this is the ideal race and venue for Lostintranslation to show off his slick jumping and I think he will overhaul Bristol De Mai over the final few fences with a superior turn of foot.
888sport suggests: Lostintranslation (win).