A top-notch jumping card from Haydock lights up the racing action in late November, with the feature event seeing a field of the best 3m chasers in the business locking horns in the Betfair Chase.
Acting as leg one of what has come to be known as chasing’s Triple Crown, the Betfair Chase has been won by some of the very best in the business over the years, including three-time champ, Cue Card. Any horse who follows up a win here with victory in both the King George and Cheltenham Gold Cup will be in line for a whopping £1million bonus, making this an understandably highly-prized contest.
We are likely to be hearing plenty more from a good few of these in the top staying chases as the season goes on in a race that rarely disappoints.
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: 21st November 2020
- Winner: Bristol De Mai
- SP: 9/4
- Trainer: Nigel Twiston-Davies
- Jockey: Daryl Jacob
3m1½f is the trip for what is one of the first major Grade 1 staying chases of the British season. The contest offers £160,000 in total prize money, with the ground at the track currently described as soft. However, with a decent chance of plenty of rain on Friday and Saturday that could well get even stickier so the weather is certainly something to keep an eye on.
|Going||Distance||Grade||Prize Money||Runners||EW Terms|
|Soft||3m1½f||Grade 1||£160,000||5 Runners||1/4 1-2|
Betfair Chase Betting Tips
Note: The following tips are from 2020. Tips for the next renewal will be added once the final declarations have been made.
Established in 2005, this contest has been almost utterly dominated by just three trainers. Nigel Twiston-Davies boasts three wins and Colin Tizzard four, but it is Paul Nicholls who leads the way with an impressive six triumphs. Four of those came courtesy of the magnificent Kauto Star and whilst we don’t have anything of quite Kauto’s standard this year we do have a typically classy lineup. Nicholls sends dual King George hero Clan Des Obeaux into battle this time around and that horse is considered to be one of three in with a real chance here.
Kauto Star is far from the only horse to register multiple wins in this race. Silviniaco Conti also won it twice for Nicholls, whilst the hugely popular Cue Card landed the prize three times for Colin Tizzard. We have two previous winners in this year’s field in the shape of Bristol De Mai, who bids for a third triumph, and defending champion Lostintranslation who goes for a second.
This has only really been a fair race for those at the head of the market. The past 10 years have returned four winning favourites or joint favourites – a respectable strike rate, but still resulting in a £1 level stakes loss of £1.99. That said, the three winning favourites (5/4, 11/10 and 15/8) in the last four years have more handsomely rewarded those backing the jolly.
Given we have only a very small field this year, with just five declared, we do not really need to analyse trends too much in order to whittle things down. None the less, there are a few things worth noting. Aside from the aforementioned trainer stats, it is worth noting that three jockeys have returned a level stakes profit (win singles) from this race.
Paddy Brennan leads the way with his three wins from five runs but doesn’t feature this year. Next up though are two men that do, Daryl Jacob (+£5.60 and rides Bristol De Mai) and Robbie Power (+£1.25, Lostintranslation). The likely third favourite and the only other contender to fit other price-based trends, is ridden by Sam Twiston-Davies. Clan Des Obeaux’s jockey has ridden in this race three times before and is yet to finish in the places.
|Lostintranslation||11/8||171||Colin Tizzard||Robbie Power|
|Bristol De Mai||5/2||169||Nigel Twiston-Davies||Daryl Jacob|
Lostintranslation – 11/8
The obvious place to start here is with 2019 winner, Lostintranslation who looks to boast solid claims of joining that illustrious list of previous multiple winners in this race. Only once finishing outside of the first three in 10 career starts over fences, his form figures in soft ground chases read 211P – with that “P” coming when a breathing problem was discovered following last season’s King George VI Chase at Kempton. And of course, his big career highlight came when landing this prize 12 months ago.
It takes a good horse to master an on on-song Bristol De Mai around here, but that is exactly what this son of Flemensfirth managed last season, and he did it in pretty good style too. Absolutely lobbing along behind Nigel Twiston-Davies’ pace-making grey two from home, it looked at that stage as though he may pull comfortably clear.
Ultimately, he did need to knuckle down after the last, but showed excellent determination to repel the gallant runner-up by 1½l. The world appeared to be his oyster on the back of that effort – and then came the no show in the King George. A subsequent wind-op seems to have fixed his breathing issues though, and the gelding rounded off the campaign when running a stormer to be beaten only 1½l into third behind Al Boum Photo in the Cheltenham Gold Cup. A cracking effort on the face of it, and all the more so considering the Tizzard yard was really struggling for results at the time. Likely coming into his prime at eight years of age, he looks a worthy favourite and should prove very hard to stop.
Bristol De Mai – 5/2
Dual King George champ Clan Des Obeaux certainly can’t be forgotten about in what is a real battle of the heavyweights, particularly as his trainer Paul Nicholls seems pretty bullish about his chances in the lead up to the race. Overall though it’s tough to ignore the record of Bristol De Mai at Haydock, and he may prove the biggest threat to the jolly.
With career form figures at the track of 11112, it’s fair to say that this admirable grey seems to like it around here! A real stalwart of the NH scene, he does seem to have been around forever now, but is still actually only nine years of age and by no means over the hill.
He is however now without a win in six starts – the longest such losing streak of his career. That said, his overall level of form in three outings last season was still of a very high standard – following up his second place in this race with a runners up finish to subsequent Gold Cup second, Santini in the Cotswold Chase at Cheltenham.
His 18½l ninth in the Gold Cup itself on his final start of the season was admittedly disappointing, but he has bounced back from a slightly subpar effort in that race in the past, and may do so once again here. The mount of Daryl Jacob does have a little bit to find with Lostintranslation, but supporters will be optimistic that the current soft ground may well help him bridge the gap. It was good to soft here 12 months ago, but six of Bristol De Mai’s nine career victories have come on soft or worse going. If the forecast rain materialises that might just make the difference, although Lostintranslation should also handle that well enough too in fairness.
Betfair Chase Winners
|2020||Bristol De Mai||9/4||Nigel Twiston-Davies||Daryl Jacob|
|2019||Lostintranslation||5/4||Colin Tizzard||Robbie Power|
|2018||Bristol De Mai||13/2||Nigel Twiston-Davies||Daryl Jacob|
|2017||Bristol De Mai||11/10||Nigel Twiston-Davies||Daryl Jacob|
|2016||Cue Card||15/8||Colin Tizzard||Paddy Brennan|
|2015||Cue Card||7/4||Colin Tizzard||Paddy Brennan|
|2014||Silviniaco Conti||10/3||Paul Nicholls||Noel Fehily|
|2013||Cue Card||9/1||Colin Tizzard||Joe Tizzard|
|2012||Silviniaco Conti||7/4||Paul Nicholls||Ruby Walsh|
|2011||Kauto Star||6/1||Paul Nicholls||Rubt Walsh|
About the Betfair Chase
Although registered as the Lancashire Chase, you are far more likely to know this race by its sponsored title, the Betfair Chase. It initially served as the first leg of a lucrative bonus scheme called the Betfair Million which Cheltenham hero Kauto Star was the first horse to claim. The online betting company withdrew the jackpot five years later but this race nevertheless remains a huge contest in its own right. It also has the honour of being the opening Grade 1 event of the National Hunt season, making it a big day on the calendar of many racing fans who love their racing action over obstacles.
It’s an extra special race for Haydock Park too as this three mile, one and a half furlong contest is the sole Grade 1 event to feature on the calendar of the Merseyside course. It’s not always been run over this distance but in 2017 organisers increased the trip to allow a longer run before the first bend. The extra furlong and a half means an extra fence needs to be jumped too, putting the new total at 19 and making this a really gruelling contest.
The Stayers Triple Crown & The Betfair Million
The Betfair Million initially worked by giving £1m to the connections of any horse that won this race as well as the King George VI and Cheltenham Gold Cup. The Lexus Chase was later added as an alternative second leg but shortly after the scheme changed again. The new set-up saw the £1m offered to any top three Betfair Chase finishers who also managed a top two result at the Cheltenham Festival and a Grand National win. Having perhaps set the bar too high, Betfair pulled the huge bonus but the Jockey Club resurrected it in 2015.
Today the bonus is awarded to any horse that can claim the Chase Triple Crown, formed of the three races that initially served as part of the Betfair Million. Only Kauto Star in 2006/07 has won the three races in the same season but Cue Card came close during the 2015-16 season. After winning this race and the King George, Colin Tizzard’s horse found himself as the Gold Cup second favourite but fell three fences out.
Stayers Chase Triple Crown Attempts: 2005/06 – 2020/21
|Year||Betfair Chase Winner||King George Finish||Gold Cup Finish|
|2020/21||Bristol De Mai||Runs 26th Dec 2020||Runs 19th Mar 2021|
|2018/19||Bristol De Mai||Fell||3rd|
|2017/18||Bristol De Mai||6th||Didn’t run|
|2013/14||Cue Card||2nd||Didn’t run|
|2012/13||Silviniaco Conti||Didn’t run||Fell|
|2011/12||Kauto Star||1st||Pulled Up|
|2010/11||Imperial Commander||Didn’t run||Pulled Up|
|2008/09||Snoopy Loopy||7th||Pulled Up|
Are we likely to see another horse come even closer soon? Results over recent years suggest it could be a while and it is clearly a huge ask to win three such high class events. One thing that makes the hat-trick achievable is the spacing of the events. With this race scheduled to take place in November, the King George of course in its Boxing Day slot and the Gold Cup in mid-March, there is at least sufficient rest for the horses. Of course, looking at the other side of the coin, it also means that any horse landing the huge bonus will have to be in top form for virtually the entire season.
For more on the Stayers Chase Triple Crown, check out our dedicated article here.
WINNERS COME BACK FOR MORE
One slightly unusual feature of the Betfair Chase is its lack of unique winners. The race began in 2005 but only eight different names feature among the list of winners.
Four horses have won the race more than once, nobody on more occasions than Kauto Star, a repeat winner of many of chasing’s biggest prizes. His debut victory was an absolute demolition job too as he raced 17 lengths clear of second place Beef Or Salmon. Four out of five times Paul Nicholls’ horse won here in total, the only blot on the record coming in 2008 when he made a bad mistake at the last to unseat jockey Sam Thomas.
It was the only time in Kauto Star’s career that he unseated the rider and gasps echoed around Haydock Park as it happened. The mistake paved the way for Snoopy Loopy to claim a dramatic (and at 33/1 very much against the odds) victory as you can see for yourself here:
FENCES COME UNDER SCRUTINY
Since the inception of this race, there have been a few unseated jockeys but not a single faller. Haydock was once known for having some of the toughest obstacles around but this changed following the introduction of portable fences in 2007. From this point, the Merseyside course offered little in the way of a jumping challenge but 11 years later they reclaimed their former reputation. The 2018 Betfair Chase was steeped in controversy as a result with Nico De Boinville, who rode Might Bite, branding the obstacles unfair and “too stiff”.
It later came to the attention of the public that prior to the race, BHA course inspector Chris Dennis, asked Haydock to reduce the height and stiffness of the fences. Work had been carried out to address his concerns but Dennis believed that the fences were “still quite high and on the stiff side.” Not willing to bow too much to mounting pressure, Haydock course clerk Kirkland Tellwright said that they would make the fences “a shade lower and not as deep”. With no drastic changes planned, future renewals of the Betfair Chase are likely to provide a real test of jumping ability, particularly given this high class affair is usually contested at a fair old pace.