Betting for Ascot's Christy 1965 Chase this Saturday is dominated by Grade 1 winners Politologue and Min, setting up a potential rematch between the Melling Chase one-two.
The £70,000 1965 Chase takes centre stage at Ascot, despite only being rated as a Grade 2. Run over 2m5f since 2015, it's now one of few opportunities for Ryanair and Melling Chase hopefuls to test their mettle over the right distance, hence, its honour roll includes 2016 Ryanair winner Vautour.
Who are the 1965 Chase favourites?
The favourites for the 1965 Chase are the same two horses that fought out the finish of the Grade 1 Melling Chase at Aintree when last seen. Politologue just got the better of Min at Liverpool, in what was a superb climax to the race.
Having the upper hand, Politologue is no bigger than 13/8 favourite (BetStars) to beat his old rival again, Min priced at 100/30 (Black Type) to turn the tide. The pair had met a month earlier at Cheltenham, Min finishing 16 lengths ahead of Politologue when second in the Champion Chase.
On that form, Politologue is superior over longer distances, while Min is his better over 2m. However, Min is a shorter price for this season's Champion and Ryanair Chases, perhaps showing a class advantage.
1965 Chase Trends to Follow
Eight of the last 12 winners had a previous Grade 1 success, and the last 12 have been Graded winners before. It’s also been good to favourite backers, with seven of the last 12 winners having been favourites/joint favourites. Eight of 12 were in the top three of the betting too.
Course form is also a good marker, with eight of the winners having had previous course experience although with two dual winners that stat is a tad skewered.
If you want to back a horse that fits that criteria perfectly, Politologue is it, though Grade 2 winner Benatar (8/1 Ladbrokes) comes close. He was set to be winning jockey Jamie Moore’s ride in the BetVictor Gold Cup last Saturday until missing the race.
It's only a few months ago that he beat Finian’s Oscar at Ascot in a Grade 2 novices’ chase, having been third in the JLT Novices' Chase at the Cheltenham Festival. He still retains plenty of promise and, the better the ground, the better his chances.
Who else should we be looking out for?
It is interesting to see Punchestown Gold Cup winner Bellshill (15/2 Betfair) entered - the Grade 1-winning stayer would be a fascinating contender on his return, although it would be a marked drop back in trip for a horse that was a brilliant fifth in the Irish Grand National under top weight too.
Even more interesting is Charbel (6/1 Coral), who has had jumping problems but has alreayd won a Chepstow handicap chase this season with an extremely eye-catching performance ahead of last Saturday's BetVictor Gold Cup winner Baron Alco.
To give him 12lbs was a fine showing and one that gives Charbel a realistic chance here. Also, with two runs under his belt, he is sure to have a fitness advantage over more illustrious contenders.
What's the best bet in the 1965 Chase?
Politologue (13/8 BetStars) won the Haldon Gold Cup on his return to action last season and with trainer Paul Nicholls in strong form, might be fit enough to get the better of Min again - although not a lot will separate the two. Charbel is a worthy third favourite, but an interesting outsider could be Benatar, who is 8/1 with Ladbrokes.