With six of the nine Betfair Chase runners contesting the Charlie Hall Chase at Wetherby three weeks ago, this race will establish the pecking order of the top staying chasers (3.00pm, Haydock, Saturday).
Menorah (9/1) was driven out to beat Taquin De Seuil, Double Ross, Medermit, Silviniaco Conti and The Giant Bolster by 4 lengths and upwards at Wetherby and, if that form is taken at face value, looks very generously priced.
However, before you go diving in, bear in mind that Philip Hobbs’ nine-year-old has won just one Grade 1 steeplechase and, on his last two attempts at the highest level, finished fifth of six, beaten 14 lengths, behind Silviniaco Conti at Aintree last April and tenth of eleven, beaten 71 lengths, behind Dynaste at the Cheltenham Festival last March. He has clearly returned to action at the top of his game, but whether he can confirm the Wetherby form and beat the likes of Cue Card and Dynaste remains to be seen.
Last year’s King George VI Chase winner, Silviniaco Conti (10/3), was bitterly disappointing in the Charlie Hall Chase, weakening in the closing stages to eventually finish fifth, 8 lengths behind Menorah. Quite a few of Paul Nicholls’ runners have been needing their first run of the season but, while Silviniaco Conti should strip fitter this time, the fact that his trainer reaches for cheekpieces to aid his concentration sounds alarm bells. He is officially the best horse in the race, but may be best watched until he proves that he is still the force of old.
Taquin Du Seuil (11/2) also wears cheekpieces for the first time but, even so, it’s hard to see him reversing the Wetherby form with Menorah, especially on 5lb worse terms. As the lowest rated horse in the race, according to the BHA, he has 8lb find with Dynaste, 13lb to find with Cue Card and 15lb to find with Silviniaco Conti so, barring calamities, he’s hard to fancy for win purposes.
Cue Card (10/3) dodged the Charlie Hall Chase and reappeared instead in the Haldon Gold Cup, over 2 miles 1½ furlongs, at Exeter 18 days ago. Now the mount of jockey Daryl Jacob (pictured), he could only stay on at one pace to finish fourth, beaten 15½ lengths, behind God’s Own on that occasion. Trainer Colin Tizzard reported that the run (his first since last year’s King George VI Chase at Kempton) has ‘improved him mentally and physically’ and insisted that ‘he is the one to beat’.
The King’s Theatre gelding has 3½ lengths to find with Silviniaco Conti on their running in the King George Chase but, with slight doubts about Paul Nicholls’ charge at present, Cue Card could be the one to take advantage this time.
Indeed, Cue Card beat Silviniaco Conti and Dynaste by 4½ lengths and 1¼ lengths in this race last year, on soft going, and it could easily be a similar story this time around. Our Betfair Chase betting tips advice is to bet on Cue Card to win the Betfair Chase at best odds of 100/30 with Coral, Ladbrokes or William Hill.