Staged at Haydock Park racecourse the Betfair Chase Registered as the Lancashire Chase) is a Grade One race and is run over a slightly longer trip (3m1f). The contest is a fairly new one, being first run in 2005 and takes place in November each season.
Trainer Paul Nicholls has made the race his own, winning the decent prize 6 times in the last 13 years, including four times with Kauto Star, while the popular grey Bristol De Mai has landed the pot three times in the last four years and giving his trainer – Nigel Twiston-Davies – his fourth success in the contest. The Tizzard yard is another to have on your radar - they’ve won four of the last 8.
We are still waiting, however, for the first Irish-trained winner of the race.
Here at TQ we are on hand with all the key stats ahead of the 2021 renewal – this year run on Saturday November 20th 2021.
Recent Betfair Chase Winners
2020 - BRISTOL DE MAI (9/4)
2019 - LOSTINTRANSLATION (5/4 fav)
2018 – BRISTOL DE MAI (13/2)
2017 – BRISTOL DE MAI (11/10 fav)
2016 – CUE CARD (15/8 fav)
2015 – CUE CARD (7/4)
2014 - SILVINIACO CONTI (10/3)
2013 – CUE CARD (9/1)
2012 – SILVINIACO CONTI (7/4)
2011 – KAUTO STAR (6/1)
2010 – IMPERIAL COMMANDER (10/11 fav)
2009 – KAUTO STAR (4/6 fav)
2008 – SNOOPY LOOPY (33/1)
2007 – KAUTO STAR (4/5 fav)
2006 – KAUTO STAR (11/10 fav)
2005 – KINGSCLIFF (8/1)
Key Betfair Chase Betting Trends
16 Previous runnings
14/16 - Won over at least 3m (fences) previously
13/16 – Won by and Irish (4) or French (9) bred horse
13/16 - Won a Grade One chase previously
12/16 - Raced within the last 4 weeks
12/16 - Placed in the top three in their last race
12/16 - Raced at Haydock previously
11/16 - Officially rating of 168 or higher
10/16 – Favourites placed
9/16 – Aged 8 or older
9/16 - Winning distance - 2 ½ lengths or less
8/16 – Won by a previous winner of the race
7/16 – Winning favourites
7/16 - Raced at Wetherby in the Charlie Hall last time out
6/16 – Won their latest race
4/16 - Raced at Aintree last time out
The average winning price in the last 16 runnings is 5/1
No Irish-trained winner yet
8 of the last 9 winners aged 9 or younger
The Paul Nicholls yard has won the prize in 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2012 & 2014
The Nigel Twiston-Davies yard has won the prize in 2010, 2017, 2018 and 2020
The Colin Tizzard yard has won the race in 2013, 2015, 2016 and 2019
Another of the big jumping highlights this month is the Grade One Betfair Chase, staged at Haydock Park on Saturday 20th November.
Run over 3m 1 1/2f, this race is a fairly new one with only sixteen previous renewals, but it’s been well-supported by the sponsors and in turn has attracted some of the best staying chasers in training.
Over the years, leading names like Kauto Star, who won this race four times during his career, plus former King George VI Chase winners, Cue Card and Silviniaco Conti, are other stars you’ll see on the hall of fame.
However, in more recent times it’s a race the popular grey - Bristol De Mai - has made his own - having won three of the last four runnings, including last year.
In short, this race has been a great contest for past winners coming back for more and in total since the race was first run in 2005, we’ve had no fewer than eight past winners of the race.
Let’s take a look at the main trends.
Trip - Being run over 3m 1 1/2f, then it will come as no surprise to see that 14 of the last 16 winners had previously won a race over fences over at least 3m. Yes, most will tick the box here, but you can sometimes get an up-and-coming chaser stepping up in trip for the first time.
Breeding - 13 of the last 16 winners were either Irish or French bred - again, most will get a thumbs-up on this trend, but it’s still worth a second glance.
Grade One Form - Having winning form at the top level over fences is another key trend to have onside. 81% of the last 16 winners had previous won a Grade One chase before taking this.
Recent Run/Form - With 12 of the last 16 winners having raced in the last four weeks, then heading here race fit has been an advantage too. That said, last year’s winner - Bristol De Mai - has won this three times before and two of those came on his seasonal reappearance.
Age - There isn’t really a standout age trend. From the 16 past runnings we’ve had winners aged from 6 up to 11 - but the mighty Kauto Star is responsible for this trend having won the race as a 6 year-old in 2006 and then remarkably as an 11 year-old in 2011! However, in more recent times it could pay to note that 8 of the last 9 winners were aged 9 or younger.
Track Form - I’ve already mentioned that past winners have a good record, so it’s no shock to see that 12 of the last 16 winners had raced before at Haydock.
Favourites - We’ve seen 10 of the last 16 market leaders placed in the race, while seven of the last 16 favourites (44%) have won, which is not a bad strike-rate if you like backing those at the head of the betting.
Top Trainers - As mentioned, this has been a good race for past winners, but it’s also been a top race for three trainers - Paul Nicholls, Colin Tizzard and Nigel Twiston-Davies. Nicholls has won the prize six times, with the last of those being in 2014 and those successes came with just two horses - Silviniaco Conti and Kauto Star. Tizzard has four wins to his name (3 being with Cue Card), while the Twiston-Davies camp have fired in four winners - three with Bristol De Mai.
Overall, we can expect another stellar cast to be heading to Haydock. The three-time winner and popular grey - Bristol De Mai - will be hard to keep out of calculations at this favoured track - especially if the ground is soft/heavy. His form at the course reads - 1-1-1-1-2-1! Last year’s runner-up Clan Des Obeaux could be back for more too, while despite the race yet to produce an Irish winner, there is a chance Henry De Bromhead’s Cheltenham Gold Cup runner-up, A Plus Tard, might make the trip over.
But, in a race that Bristol De Mai has farmed in recent times, I’ll take him to continue his fantastic run at the track and make it another ‘grey day’ for the bookmakers.
TQ VERDICT: The big question here is - will the ground be softer enough for the three-time winner of the race - BRISTOL DE MAI? As we know, this popular grey has landed this race three times in the last four years - including 12 months ago - and at the age of 10 he’s back for more as he tries to equal Kauto Star’s four wins in the race. His record at Haydock is impressive to stay the least - 1-1-1-1-2-1 - and despite not been out since being pulled up in the Aintree Grand National, is a horse that goes well fresh. He’s no spring chicken at 10 (going on 11), but year-after year some have written him off in this race and he’s proved those doubters wrong. Yes, the softer the ground the better for him, but he won this in 2018 on good ground! This does, however, look a strong renewal with the 172-rated Irish raider - A Plus Tard - coming over. This Henry De Bromhead runner is rated 6lbs higher than Bristol De Mai and at 7 year-olds has then much younger legs. Those against him will note last season’s Gold Cup runner-up has never raced at Haydock, plus he’s also yet to win beyond 3m. That said, he’s yet to finish out of the first three, from 11 runs over fences, and with Rachael Blackmore coming over for the ride he’s sure to get plenty of interest. Waiting Patiently is classy on his day and is now with trainer Christian Williams after being switched from the Ruth Jefferson yard. This 10 year-old has only had 13 runs over fences (6 wins), but the last of those successes came back in 2018 and as we know he’s a fragile horse. Nicholls has a top record in the race (6 wins) and pins his hopes on Next Destination here. He was last seen running second in the NH Chase at the Festival in March and we know he’ll stay further than this 3m1f trip. His negative, for me, would be that he’s only raced three times over fences. You’d feel that although useful handicappers - Clondaw Castle and Chatham Street Lad - have a bit to find off level weights, so the others of interest would be Imperial Aura and ROYALE PAGAILLE (e/w). The former has won 50% of his 8 chase races, but the concern would be that he was pulled up in the Ryanair Chase last time out and bled from the nose that day too. At 8, he’s got time on his side and was certainly going the right way during the early part of last season, but is also an unknown over this longer trip with all recent runs coming between 2m4f and 2m5f. So, the other call is the Venetia Williams runner Royale Pagaille. This 7 year-old is another with decent course form here (2-from-2) and was very impressive in landing the Peter Marsh Chase here last January. He finished lame in the Gold Cup since then, so had an excuse, but has had 8 months off since then and at just 7 years-old has plenty of time on his side. He can go well too at a track we know suits.