The 2021 Betfair Chase takes places this afternoon at Haydock – one of the top early-season jumps races which has been won over the years by a who’s who of national hunt legends. Eight runners will head to post on Saturday afternoon and we’ve taken a closer look at each runner in our 2021 Betfair Chase preview.
2021 Betfair Chase preview
A Plus Tard
A Plus Tard announced his arrival on the chasing scene with victory in the Close Brothers Handicap Chase at the Cheltenham Festival in 2019 and has since placed in the Ryanair in 2020 and was 2nd in this year’s Cheltenham Gold Cup.
On the back of that effort in March, he’s the top-rated horse at the 2021 Betfair Chase and is a worthy favourite for trainer Henry de Bromhead and jockey Rachael Blackmore. He goes well fresh but has failed to win on seasonal debut the past three years.
Bristol De Mai
The grey Bristol De Mai loves it over this course and distance and is chasing a fourth victory in the race that would see him tie with the legendary Kauto Star.
Connections would probably have preferred more rain this week but he did win this on Good ground in 2018. He hasn’t been seen since running in the Grand National but the stable are in good form and he’s a worthy rival to A Plus Tard.
Chatham Street Lad
Chatham Street Lad is another Irish raider who started last season with three victories from five runs, including in the Caspian Caviar Gold Cup at Cheltenham. He wasn’t disgraced when running 4th in the Marsh Novices’ Chase at the Festival and ended last season with success in a Grade 3 contest at Limerick.
October saw him return in the Munster National where he failed to strike a blow, and although he’ll be fitter for the 2021 Betfair Chase, it’s a big ask to see him troubling the likes of A Plus Tard and Bristol De Mai.
Clondaw Castle has progressed over the last 18 months but was never a factor when behind Clan Des Obeaux in the Betway Bowl in April at the Grand National meeting.
He also struggled in last month’s Charlie Hall Chase at Wetherby and he looks up against it here with the yard struggling to hit top-gear and against some top-class rivals.
Imperial Aura arrives at the 2021 Betfair Chase with questions to answer but if he’s back to his best, he could run a massive race on a track and trip that will play to his strengths.
He started last season with Listed and Grade 2 success before losing jockey David Bass in the early stages of the Silviniaco Conti Chase at Kempton in January. Next up was the Cheltenham Festival, where he was pulled up in the Ryanair Chase when sent off at 8/1
Connections report he’s in top shape coming into this following a breathing op and it would be no shock to see him in the mix as they head for home.
Next Destination is a talented but fragile horse and despite being nine-year-old, he’s only raced 12 times under rules. However, last season, he looked in great shape, winning two strong novice events before chasing home Galvin in the National Hunt Chase at the Cheltenham Festival.
This race could well have been the target for the last year and coming from the Paul Nicholls yard, he will be trained to perfection for Saturday.
Royale Pagaille is another fragile individual with few miles on the clock and was last seen when 6th in the Cheltenham Gold Cup in March.
He has won over this course and distance before though and this looks more his level than the Gold Cup. The big stumbling block could be the ground – all three of his chase wins have come on bottomless ground.
Connections have been patiently waiting for Waiting Patiently to make a return to the winners’ enclosure with his last success back in 2018. He’s a classy but quirky horse and the 2021 Betfair Chase will be his first start for new trainer Christian Williams.
He could pull off a big shock if he’s on a going day but will punters be brave enough to back him on Saturday?
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