The pick of the Saturday cards in mid February comes at Ascot with their Betfair Chase Raceday. Just about topping the bill is this Grade 1 chase contest which gives it’s name to the meeting. The Betfair Ascot Chase can often draw a field small in numbers but high in quality.
Inaugurated in 1995, this has quickly become a key target for middle distance chasers with names such as Kauto Star, Monet’s Garden and Cue Card gracing the impressive list of past winners.
Next Race: TBD
The next renewal of this race has not been scheduled yet. We will update this once the schedule has been released for next season. The race info, trends and tips shown below will be updated for the next renewal once the final declarations have been made.
Last Run: 20th February 2021
- Winner: Dashel Drasher
- SP: 4/1
- Trainer: Jeremy Scott
- Jockey: Matt Griffiths
It is the staying chasers who take centre stage this coming Saturday, with this 2m5f Grade 1 event being the headline act on an excellent Ascot card. Offering £100,000 in total prize money, the contest has attracted a small but select field in 2021. The ground at the track is currently described as soft and with only smatterings of rain in the area isn’t expected to change too much come the day of the race.
|Going||Distance||Grade||Prize Money||Runners||EW Terms|
|Soft||2m5f||Grade 1||£100,000||5 Runners||1/4 1-2|
Betfair Ascot Chase Betting Tips
Note: The following tips are from 2021. Tips for the next renewal will be added once the final declarations have been made.
We have a two-way tie for the all-time lead amongst trainers in this event, with both legendary handler Martin Pipe, and current champ Paul Nicholls sitting on four wins apiece. Martin Pipe is of course now long since retired, but Nicholls certainly isn’t and has the top two in the market for this year’s edition in the shape of Cyrname and Master Tommytucker.
First run in 1995, the race has already featured four dual winners in its relatively brief history, and we may well have another one this year as both 2019 winner Cyrname and 2020 champ Riders On the Storm are set to go to post.
The market has generally proven to be an excellent guide in this race, with each of the past 10 winners having been priced at 4/1 or shorter. That sequence includes seven winning favourites, handing jolly backers a profit of £6.77 to £1 level stakes over this period.
Cyrname – 8/11
The obvious place to start when seeking this year’s winner is with Paul Nicholls 2019 champ, Cyrname. The mount of Harry Cobden is after all fully 13 pounds clear of his nearest rival on official ratings, and on that basis, it’s pretty hard to argue with his status as the odds-on favourite for the race.
Three times a winner at Ascot, with all three of those successes coming over this distance, including a soft ground beating of no less a horse than Altior, there will be plenty who argue that he should really be even shorter than the 8/11 generally available. And if we could guarantee he would arrive here in peak form there is indeed every chance he could make that price look pretty big.
However, on recent evidence, there must be some doubt as to just how close to his best he will be on the day. Since that 2019 win in this race, Cyrname has been beaten by 21 lengths in the King George, fallen when well beaten in this race 12 months ago, and been pulled up when barely raising a gallop last time out in this season's King George. Hardly inspiring stuff, but mixed in with those runs, the nine year old did produce a pretty polished display to win Wetherby’s Charlie Hall Chase in something of a canter, suggesting the talent does still remain.
A switch to hold up tactics has been blamed for that King George flop last time out, and the fact that the horse did seem to take the huff very early in proceedings, does suggest that there may well be some truth to that. We fully expect this talented performer to revert back to frontrunning here and going in the first time cheekpieces he may prove tough to reel in – if he is on song.
Dashel Drasher – 11/2
If Paul Nicholls doesn’t win the race with Cyrname, he may well do so with the late-developing 10 year old, Master Tommytucker. However, that horse is not only a poor fit on the age trend, but is also the only one of this quintet without a previous win at the track to his name. At a bigger price, one who does look to have the credentials to go very well is the Jeremy Scott runner, Dashel Drasher.
Track form figures don’t come much better than the 111 boasted by this tough and tenacious eight year old, and with those wins having come on ground ranging from good to soft to heavy, we can be pretty certain he will at least go well in these conditions. The question is will he be up to this class, with each of his eight career wins to date having come at Class 2 level or below.
To be fair to the horse though, he has only had two previous attempts in graded company – the first of which came in the Champion Bumper on just his second career start, with the second then seeing him unseat at the very first fence in a Grade 2 at Newbury. On the form of his three and a half-length second place to Champ last season – when losing both front shoes – and his battling victories over the talented duo of Itchy Feet and Benny’s King from the current campaign, he certainly doesn’t look out of place in this field and likely won't go down without a fight.
Betfair Ascot Chase Winners
|2021||Dashel Drasher||4/1||Jeremy Scott||Matt Griffiths|
|2020||Riders Onthe Storm||7/2||Nigel Twiston-Davies||Sam Twiston-Davies|
|2019||Cyrname||3/1||Paul Nicholls||Harry Cobden|
|2018||Waiting Patiently||2/1||Ruth Jefferson||Brian Hughes|
|2017||Cue Card||4/9||Colin Tizzard||Paddy Brennan|
|2016||Silviniaco Conti||2/1||Paul Nicholls||Noel Fehily|
|2015||Balder Succes||4/1||Alan King||Wayne Hutchinson|
|2014||Captain Chris||8/11||Philip Hobbs||Richard Johnson|
|2013||Cue Card||15/8||Colin Tizzard||Joe Tizzard|
|2012||Riverside Theatre||13/8||Nicky Henderson||Barry Geraghty|
About the Ascot Chase: A Platform For The Greats
The high-class National Hunt action comes thick and fast between the New Year and the Cheltenham Festival in March, and the beautiful Berkshire venue of Ascot does its bit to keep the momentum going with this excellent event held in February each year.
Inaugurally run in 1995 as the Comet Chase, the race has undergone a number of sponsorship changes over the years, with betting giant Betfair taking over the reins in 2009. The race has taken place at Ascot every year since, barring a two-year soiree to Lingfield Park as Ascot underwent extensive renovations in 2005 and 2006. Initially a midweek affair, having taken place on a Wednesday until 1997, the race has been a big Saturday contest every year since.
Initially run over a distance of 2m3½f, the distance was increased to 2m5f in 2008 and now sees 17 fences standing between the competitors and glory. A top-tier Grade 1 event, the contest is open to all runners aged five and older.
Legends Leading the Way
This race may not have been with us for all that long, but it has already compiled quite a roll of honour. A quick glance at the table below gives some idea as to the quality of performer it often takes to prevail in this race.
Notable Ascot Chase Winners
|Kauto Star||Ascot Chase||2008|
|Cheltenham Gold Cup||2007, 2009|
|Betfair Chase||2006, 2007, 2009, 2011|
|King George VI Chase||2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2011|
|Cue Card||Ascot Chase||2013, 2017|
|Betfair Chase||2013, 2015, 2016|
|King George VI Chase||2015|
|One Man||Ascot Chase||1998|
|Queen Mother Champion Chase||1998|
|Hennessy Gold Cup||1994|
|King George VI Chase||1995, 1996|
|Silviniaco Conti||Ascot Chase||2016|
|Aintree Bowl||2014, 2015|
|King George VI Chase||2013, 2014|
Big Names Out In Front
A big race, won by a selection of the biggest names in the equine world, it isn’t too surprising that it is those to have regularly finished atop the training tree who have led the way here over the years. 15-time Champion Trainer winner Martin Pipe heads the standings alongside 11-time champ Paul Nicholls, swiftly followed by Nicky Henderson who has five trainers titles to his name.
Barry Geraghty has been the man to follow in the saddle with three wins as of 2020. Still going strong in the colours of JP McManus, he may well add to this total further before he hangs up the silks.
Eight Is Great
It can often be tough for the younger chasers to make their presence felt against their more experienced opposition, particularly in top level events such as this. Strong Promise defied that trend here when coming home in front as a six year old in the 1997 edition. The Geoff Hubbard runner didn’t quite go on to achieve what might have been expected though, winning just one more race in his career, although he did narrowly miss out on winning this race again when second to One Man in 1998.
At the other end of the scale we have the grand old grey Monet’s Garden. A 10-time winner in Graded company, he landed this prize for the second time at the grand old age of 12 in 2010.
It is the eight year old runners who have fared best here overall though with ten wins in the first 26 editions of the race for an impressive 38% strike rate.