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Betfair Chase preview

I remember the fun times of working at Betfair and taking the promo trailer to Haydock for the first Grade 1 chase of the season. Always bloody freezing and forever plagued with connectivity problems. Glad those days are over! Anyway, there are far better judges of National Hunt racing than myself, so regular contributor Jon da Silva, @creamontop, returns with a profound look at the Betfair Chase.

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The Long Run is a misleading guide to current affairs. In the Long Run we are all dead.
John Maynard Keynes


The Betfair is the UK National Hunt season's first Grade 1 chase and the first unveiling of the Gold Cup contenders, We're set the usual conundrum of will the returning [near] champ be as good? Will the best-freshes still be or will their ailments over take them like Diamond Harry the other week. Will the Novices step up and challenge what looks a weak bunch?

Cannington Brook Some cognoscenti have been putting this one up. Albeit when three places were available they're not anymore. Now with six runners he needs 4 to under perform, three of them seriously, two of them massively, to place.

Wayward Prince Beaten 11 by Silvaniaco Conti and frankly makes me suspicious of that form! Even very slow ground would not seem especially beneficial.

Weird Al Smartish fresh and was only a couple behind Long Run as Kauto Star laid the smackdown in this last year. Breaks blood vessels and clearly must have annoyed connections to be run in demanding races like the Gold Cup and National putting a PF in his form even fresh. He's won 6 of 12 up to grade 2. Main worry is that a bleeder finds the ground too soft.

The Giant Bolster hacked up in a Cheltenham handicap over 21 furlongs which had me wondering if was a bit quicker than credited. Then well beaten by Long Run/Burton Port at Newbury - which he overturned in the Gold Cup. Best guess at this level is he's a slow'un. Indeed bar a couple of unseateds his form is much better at Cheltenham than anywhere else. Last year he raced 3 times at Newbury including left behind in a poor Hennessy off 10 stone 4lb. The ground may help bring him into this. If this was at Cheltenham I'd borrow money to back him. It's not.

Silviniaco Conti Nick Mordin opined this horse does not like cold weather more likely he just needs a stamina test. Well beaten at Ascot in a race where the Sun Alliance winner was also beaten (Bob's Worth in the Hennessy I suspect will get well behind) after promising behind Grand Crus and ahead of Bob's. Hacked up from some unlikely sorts last time. He could take a further step up the ladder here.

Long Run Form of his Gold Cup win raises questions about the highfalutin ratings given to him for beating or being beaten by fading stars. Yet take Kauto out and he has the verdict on good horses. His 'disappointing' Newbury prep he gave 10 lbs and beatings to the Gold Cup 2nd (reopposes) and 3rd. People say he's a stamina horse but is one from 4 at Cheltenham - winning when the ground was lightning fast. On flat tracks in England only Kauto Star has beaten him. Can be argued a bit below form last two pipe openers but the one to beat. Can jump sketchily and connections worried about the ground which he has not raced on in England.

At 23/11/12 12:32 odds were Long Run (2.62), Silviniaco Conti (3.25), The Giant Bolster (7), Weird Al (7), Cannington Brook (26), Wayward Prince (34)

On soft ground seems more open and with further rain confidence in Long Run's jumping and Al's bleeding diminishes in downward curvilinear fashion. Nonetheless a win only bet on Weird Al at 7s is where I'll be looking. It would have been a confident bet EW with faster ground given I view Silvaniaco and Bolster as slower types at present.

With forecast for no more rain (not that much was forecast on Tuesday)

Weird Al 7s win only

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