James Boyle’s Ante-Post Value – The Betfair Chase
Nine runners are set to go to post for Saturday’s Grade 1 Betfair Chase over 3m 1f at Haydock and Cue Card, last year’s winner, tops the market at around 3/1. On his best form, he’s a worthy contender in this field and could well be the one to beat, but I was a bit underwhelmed with his return in the Haldon Gold Cup at Exeter three weeks ago and it’s tough to gauge his well-being.
Despite going off as a well-backed 13/8 favourite, Colin Tizzard’s stable star could only manage a 15-length fourth of seven and although the extended 2m 1f trip would have been on the short side for him these days, the way he weakened in the home straight wasn’t exactly encouraging. Seeing Oscar Hill, racing from 10lbs out of the handicap, passing him for third doesn’t bode well either!
Of course, it was the 8-year-old’s first outing for ten months and he should improve from a fitness point of view, so that’s a positive. Coming back to Haydock will do him no harm as the track is ideal for his front-running style of racing and he moves well through testing ground, I just remain a little bit skeptical as to whether he’s the same horse that he was before last season’s pelvic injury.
Silviniaco Conti is another that you can easily have doubts over given his return to action in the Charlie Hall at Wetherby three weeks ago. Last year’s King George winner finished fifth there, 8-lengths behind Menorah having been sent off as the even money favourite, and the hope with him is that he’s going to improve plenty for the outing. It wouldn’t be one bit surprising were he left short on what was his seasonal debut, so it’s definitely a possible that we’ll see a different beast this time around, but another tilt at Kempton’s big Grade 1 is likely to be on the agenda and Silviniaco might tighten up even more for this outing if Wetherby is anything to go by. Maybe he’ll be spot-on now, but 10/3 is short enough for me.
In this race last year, I was keen on the chances of Dynaste and he was a really good second to Cue Card, form that entitles him to a lot of respect. Afterwards, he flopped in the King George on Boxing day but got his act together in time for Cheltenham and ran out an impressive winner of the Ryanair. Sadly, therein lies the problem as that contest is over 2m 5f and that sort of trip is probably close to his optimum. On Saturday, he’s back up a half-mile and will have to tackle softer ground again, the combination of which may make life difficult. I think he stays 3-miles, I’m just not sure whether he wants it on the likely going and up against some who are more gifted in the stamina department. As such, I’ll leave 7/2.
One of those that I’m expecting more of is TAQUIN DU SEUIL and at quotes of 11/2, he looks like a fair bet. As with the others, there are worries in place as his jumping is sketchy and he’s not completely proven as a stayer, but there’s almost certainly more to emerge from the locker and as we all know, Jonjo O’Neill knows how to bring it about over time. The 7-year-old flopped on his seasonal return when well behind Wonderful Charm at Newton Abbot, but stepped up on that a lot in the Charlie Hall to finish second behind Menorah on his first try over 3-miles+. Getting back onto a softer surface will help (if he is a proper, true stayer) and Barry Geraghty taking over from McCoy is a plus in my book. Good chance.
Selection for the Betfair Chase (Saturday, 22nd November; 3:00 Haydock):
Taquin Du Seuil – 2pts win @ 11/2, available generally.
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