By Andrew Atkinson racing correspondent fromthehorsesmouth.tips
NIGEL Twiston-Davies says Bristol De Mai (3.00) favourite to win the £200,000 Betfair Chase at Haydock Park on Saturday, Betfair Chase Day, should win the race.
Speaking at Grange Hill Farm yard in Gloucestershire, Twiston-Davies told fromthehorsesmouth.tips: “Bristol De Mai is as well as he has always been.
“There have been no issues or setbacks ahead of the Betfair Chase. I think he proved at Cheltenham that he is the third best horse in England and Ireland.
“The two Irish horses that finished in front of him are not coming over on Saturday, so he should win it.
“I don’t think it is especially anything to do with Haydock that he has won the Betfair Chase twice before.
“His run at Cheltenham shows he is a good horse, wherever he runs. It was good ground when he won last year and I don’t think ground conditions are a problem for him.”
The 8-year-old grey, who races in the green colours of owners Simon Munir and Isaac Souede, won the three-mile contest by 57 lengths in 2017.
In 2018 he gained a four lengths win, ahead of 2018 Magners Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Native River.
Following his success in the 2018 running, Bristol De Mai fell in the Ladbrokes King George VI Chase at Kempton Park on Boxing Day.
He finished third in the Magners Cheltenham Gold Cup, behind Al Boum Photo and Anibale Fly.
His final start of the 2018/19 campaign saw him take fourth in the G1 Betway Bowl at Aintree’s Randox Health Grand National Festival in April.
On being favourite to win, Twiston-Davies said: “There is obviously more pressure, when you think you have the best horse in the race, rather than being the underdog.”
Colin Tizzard-trained Lostintranslation (15/8), who recorded the biggest victory of his career so far in the G1 Betway Mildmay Novices’ Chase at Aintree in April, is a threat.
He returned to action with a smooth success in the Listed Colin Parker Memorial Intermediate Chase at Carlisle on November 3.
Twiston-Davies said: “Lostintranslation won over two and a half miles around Carlisle.
“We had the second that day, Count Meribel, who was beaten two and a quarter lengths.
“We are certainly hoping that ‘Bristol’ is better than him – and Lostintranslation has to prove himself on Saturday.”
The Betfair Chase is the first G1 of the British Jump season and is also the initial contest in The Jockey Club Chase Triple Crown, which has £1m bonus for any horse who can follow up victory in the Betfair Chase, by winning the G1 Ladbrokes King George VI Chase at Kempton on Boxing Day, and the G1 Magners Cheltenham Gold Cup on March 13.
In addition to the insured £1-million bonus, connections of any horse that can win The Jockey Club Chase Triple Crown will receive The Kauto Star Trophy, commissioned in 2017 and thought to be the only piece of silverware in sport never to have been won. Kauto Star won all three contests in the 2006/07 campaign and collected a £1-million bonus offered at the time by Betfair.
Twiston-Davies added: “Assuming all goes well on Saturday, the plan is to go down the same route at last year- by heading on to Kempton and Cheltenham.
“We have to think about the million quid – if he wins nicely on Saturday!”
Twiston-Davies also saddles Ballyoptic in the 2019 Betfair Chase, having won both his starts this season, winning the G2 Charlie Hall Chase at Wetherby on November 2.
“Ballyoptic will cope with soft ground. So, if there are not many runners, why not go for some place money?
“Of course, anything can happen, but I can’t see how he would beat Bristol.
“He is at the top of the handicap, so there is not much for him to go for. He could go for a Becher Chase or Welsh National but they will be hard slogs,” said Twiston-Davies.
“A route could be to run on Saturday and then go for the Cotswold Chase at Cheltenham in January.
“His main target is the Grand National. He was going well – when he fell in the race last season,” said Twiston-Davies.
*Altior, trained by Nicky Henderson (7/1), who has won 19 consecutive races, the highest-rated Jump horse in training, expected to head to Ascot, instead of Haydock on Saturday.
Frodon, trained Paul Nicholls (6/1) won four of his five starts under Bryony Frost last season, culminating in the G1 Ryanair Chase at Cheltenham.
Frodon was third on his seasonal reappearance, in the G2 Virgin Bet Monet’s Garden Old Roan Limited Handicap Chase at Aintree on October 27.
Nicholls is the most successful trainer in the history of the Betfair Chase, with six victories, courtesy of Kauto Star (2006, 2007, 2009, 2011) and Silvianaco Conti (2012, 2014).
Elegant Escape, trained by Colin Tizzard (14/1), the 2018 Welsh Grand National hero, second to Ballyoptic at Wetherby last time out also lines up at Haydock.
Betfair Chase, Betfair betting: Evens Bristol De Mai; 15/8 Lostintranslation; 6/1 Frodon; 7/1 Altior; 12/1 Ballyoptic; 14/1 Elegant Escape.
Haydock Park’s 7 race meeting, sponsored by Betfair, includes the £100,000 Betfair Best Odds On ITV Races Stayers’ Handicap Hurdle (2.25pm) over three miles.
Paisley Park won in 2018 and went on to finish his season by taking the G1 Sun Racing Stayers’ Hurdle at Cheltenham.
Lightly-raced Umbrigado, trained by David Pipe, heads the market at 5/1 with Betfair and races in the famous John White colours, successful in in 2011 with the Pipe-trained Dynaste.
Nigel Twiston-Davies could be represented by Echiquier (16/1). The five-year-old won on his British debut at Hexham in October, before coming home fifth to the highly-regarded Thyme Hill in the G2 Persian War Novices’ Hurdle.
Twiston-Davies said: “At Haydock on Saturday, we also probably have Echiquier in the Betfair Best Odds On ITV Races Stayers’ Handicap Hurdle.
“He has had a rest since his last run and will like soft ground. He could be exciting.”
Betfair Best Odds On ITV Races Stayers’ Handicap Hurdle, Betfair betting: 5/1 Umbrigado; 8/1 Ask Ben, Lisnagar Oscar; 10/1 Highland Hunter; 12/1 Eight And Bob.
14/1 Stoney Mountain, Tedham; 16/1 Acey Milan, Breaking Waves, Diomede Des Mottes, Echiquier, Flash The Steel, Kilbricken Storm, Lil Rockerfeller, Liosduin Bhearna; 20/1 Dolphin Square, Mega Yeats, One For The Team, Sirobbie; 25/1 Potters Corner, Sykes; 50/1 Man Of Plenty.
The going at Haydock Park: Hurdle Course: Good to Soft, Soft in Places. Chase Course: Soft. Weather: Saturday is predicted to be dry.
Haydock Park selections. 12.05: Thebannerkingrebel. 12.40: Burton’s Well. 1.15: Midnight Shadow. 1.50: Whoshotthesheriff. 2.25: Sykes ew. Lisnagar Oscar ew. 3.00: Bristol De Mai. 3.40: Know The Score.
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