Betfair Chase Trends and Runner-by-Runner Guide

Welcome to Gavin Beech's weekly racing column for Bookmakers.co.uk. A veteran racing journalist, Gavin provides his opinion on the latest talking points across flat and jump racing.

Betfair Chase Trends and Runner-by-Runner Guide
Betfair Chase Trends and Runner-by-Runner Guide

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The Betfair Chase is the first Grade 1 contest of the English National Hunt horse racing season and always attracts some of the sport’s biggest names.

Unlike many of the big jumping prizes this side of the Irish Sea, the £200,000 showpiece has stayed at home since its inception in 2005.

Will that remain the case in 2021? Perhaps not, because Henry De Bromhead sends over Gold Cup runner-up A Plus Tard who holds a sizeable advantage on official figures.

So, is the Betfair Chase an open and shut case? We’ve dissected Saturday’s big race and come up with an 8/1 alternative to the 11/8 ante-post betting favourite in Betfair Chase betting lists.

2021 Betfair Chase Details

  • Date: Saturday, November 20.
  • Course: Haydock
  • Status: Grade 1
  • Distance: 3m 1,1/2f
  • Age: 5yo+
  • Weights: 9st 0lbs (3lb allowance for fillies)
  • Prize fund: £200,000 (£112,540 to the winner)
  • Live on: ITV and Racing TV


2021 Betfair Chase Key Trends

  • 10/10 were trained in England (Irish raiders 0-7)
  • 10/10 winners had already won a Grade 1-3 race
  • 10/10 had an official rating of 157+
  • 9/10 winners had already won at Grade 1 level over fences
  • 9/10 winners had run over 3m+
  • 9/10 won at least one of last five starts
  • 9/10 winners ridden by the same jockey as last time out
  • 9/10 winners were beaten no more than 8 lengths last time
  • 8/10 winners were aged 6-9
  • 7/10 winners were sent off no bigger than 100/30 on the day
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Key Trials for the Betfair Chase

The Betfair Chase attracts the classiest staying chasers in training, many of which contest races like the Gold Cup at Cheltenham or the King George VI Chase at Kempton on Boxing Day.

The race is regarded as a stiffer stamina test than the King George, especially if conditions come up testing, as they often can at Haydock in November although, after an unseasonably dry spell, conditions are shaping up to be nearer good than soft this weekend.

The race tends to suit some horses down to a tee, in which case they will often come back again and again. In the past decade alone, Cue Card and Bristol De Mai have both won the race three times, while Silviniaco Conti won it twice.

Because the race falls quite early in the season, most contenders are targeted at it from a long way out and head to Haydock having their first run of the season. However, if connections want to get a run into their charge, Wetherby’s Charlie Hall Chase, which was used as a stepping stone by Cue Card, is ideally positioned in the calendar three weeks prior to the Betfair Chase.



Trainer Trends

Paul Nicholls has won this race six times, more than any other trainer, although that is with just two horses - Kauto Star (4) and Silviniaco Conti (2). Since Nicholls’ last success in 2014, the race has been won three times each by Colin Tizzard and Nigel Twiston Davies, whose Bristol De Mai has almost made this race his own since 2017. The bold-jumping grey will try and equal Kauto Star’s record by winning it for a fourth time in 2021.

Jockey Trends

Daryl Jacob has been on board Bristol De Mai for his three wins and he’s on board once again in 2021.

Paddy Brennan is the only other jockey still riding to have won the race three times.

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2021 Betfair Chase Contenders

A Plus Tard - Holds an edge over all of his rivals on official figures and his Gold Cup form marks him down as the one to beat, especially as he could have more to offer this year. However, there are some negatives; his record first time up isn’t great, his best form is all on softer ground than he’s likely to encounter and he’s never run at Haydock.

Bristol De Mai - Five wins and a second from six runs at this track and last three wins have been in this race. Pulled up under a big weight in Grand National but this is his Gold Cup, he’s fine on drying ground and although he’s a 10-year-old, a bold bid looks on the cards once again.

Chatham Street Lad - Two-time Grade 3 winner over fences but big task on at the weights and best form, which isn’t good enough anyway, is all on testing ground. Hard to fancy.

Clondaw Castle - Will need to leave Charlie Hall run a long way behind if he is to have any chance opening his Grade 1 account here. Most of his best form is on right-handed tracks and he’s not a guaranteed stayer but has won a handicap chase at Newbury on good ground so drying conditions might help.

Imperial Aura - Looked a chaser going places before the wheels came off in second half of last season. Possibilities if he’s been revitalised over the summer but work to do on ratings and this trip looks right at top of stamina range.

Native River - Showed that he’s no spent force by slamming Bristol De Mai in a Sandown Grade 2 in February but beaten a long way in Gold Cup and Betway Bowl subsequently. Would become only the second 11-year-old to win this (other being Kauto Star) if he were to bag an unlikely 15th career success.

Next Destination - Grade 1 novice hurdler for Willie Mullins and staying his strong suit over fences, as he showed when staying on to finish just behind Galvin (Grade 1 runner-up last month) in last season’s National Hunt Chase. Only had three starts over fences so could still have more to offer even at the age of nine, but his 153 official rating leaves him with a fair bit to find with the best of these.

Royale Pagaille - Two of his three British wins have been at this track and looked a top-class stayer in the making when bolting up in last season’s Peter Marsh Chase. However, his best form is all on testing ground and he couldn’t land a blow in the Gold Cup on ground described as good to soft. Conditions could be turning against him once again.

Waiting Patiently - Top-class chaser when on song and well suited by flat tracks although ended last term on a low note when pulled up in Betway Bowl at Aintree. Hasn’t won since 2018 and best form has been over shorter but his staying-on effort from off the pace in last year’s King George brings with it hope that he’ll see this out, particularly if settling early. Has a decent record fresh and could be the type to benefit from the switch in stables. Comes with risks but shouldn’t be underestimated.


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2021 Betfair Chase Betting

11-8 A Plus Tard, 7-2 Bristol De Mai, 11-2 Next Destination, 6 Royale Pagaille, 8 Imperial Aura, Waiting Patiently, 14 Native River, 33 Clondaw Castle, 40 Chatham Street Lad. (odds correct at time of writing)

2021 Betfair Chase Verdict

Henry De Bromhead and Rachael Blackmore plundered a stack of big prizes at the Cheltenham Festival in March but this is a different kettle of fish entirely given neither the horse or jockey have been around Haydock before. He’s the best horse in the race on the numbers but looks worth taking on given he hasn’t yet been at his best first-time out.

Bristol De Mai is the obvious alternative, even at the age of 10 but it might be worth chancing Waiting Patiently whose best form is right up there with any of these. He still has to prove he truly stays this sort of trip but his keeping-on second in last year’s King George is encouraging on that front and he beat Politologue in a Grade 2 novice chase at this track earlier in his career. If Brian Hughes can get him settled and into a nice rhythm early on, his superior flat speed might just see him pick these up in the home straight.

Recent Betfair Chase Winners

  • 2020 Bristol De Mai (9/4)
  • 2019 Lostintranslation (5/4J)
  • 2018 Bristol De Mai (13/2)
  • 2017 Bristol De Mai (11/10F)
  • 2016 Cue Card (15/8F)
  • 2015 Cue Card (7/4)
  • 2014 Silviniaco Conti (100/30)
  • 2013 Cue Card (9/1)
  • 2012 Silviniaco Conti (7/4)
  • 2011 Kauto Star (6/1)